Review: Crazy Pinball (DSiWare)

The only thing crazy is that nothing about this game is crazy

There aren't many pinball games on DSiWare. We have no clue why: they're pretty much perfectly suited to digital distribution. dtp Entertainment has given us Crazy Pinball, the second pinball title available, and its name seems to imply that it is quite crazy indeed.

Upon first booting it up you're presented with a nice-looking main menu with a pinball rolling around for each menu selection you make and featuring catchy Commodore 64-esque music. There are five tables in the game, but in what seems to be becoming a trend now, all but one of them have to be unlocked by getting a certain score on the table before.

Three of the tables are themed after animals in certain parts of the world: you've got a safari-themed table with an antelope, a lion, a jaguar and others; an underwater table with dolphins, and more. Two other tables are themed on humans, with one of them being about space exploration. Sadly these are not much more than still background images that look pretty plain, with the only thing special about them is that the eyes of the animals and humans occasionally flash as if they contained LEDs.

In typical pinball fashion your goal is not much more than to rack up as high a score as possible, by shooting the ball up ramps, into holes, against bumpers and basically all around the table. You can occasionally get bonus points by taking a ramp a certain amount of times with one ball, or by going to a designated area within a certain time limit. The ball controls fairly well and you generally won't have one fly into the gutter unless you make a clear mistake, but it does seem a bit fast; so fast, in fact, that it's not at all unusual to momentarily lose sight of where the ball is.

Unlike older digital pinball games, such as Alien Crush and its sequel Devil's Crush on Virtual Console, there are no minigames to speak of, so all you can do to improve your score is keep your ball in play and hit stuff.

Although there's nothing really wrong with the gameplay, it can start to get dull quite quickly. The tables aren't really that big, so you'll usually just keep trying to do the same trick over and over to get points. Another thing that will put off some people is that the tables all lack fast-paced, fitting music, instead all opting for environmental sounds befitting the areas of the world they're representing. On the underwater stage, for example, all you'll hear is bubbles and other underwater noises. If they could make a genuinely catchy tune for the main menu, why not for all tables?

The one song that's there is good, but the fact you'll only hear it on the part of the game you're likely to spend least time in is pretty bad. The graphics are also pretty disappointing, with all the animal-based tables featuring photos of real animals as background images. The human-based tables are slightly more exciting but still really nothing special. We'd expect a bit more from "Crazy" Pinball!


Overall, Crazy Pinball isn't really a bad game and its gameplay mechanics are just fine. The tables, however, might be a bit too dull and uninteresting for your liking, and having to unlock all the tables might be a bit too much work for some people.

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