101 Pinball World (DSiWare)

Game Review

101 Pinball World Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Deaf, dumb and blind

101 Pinball World is, quite frankly, confounding on every level. Teyon's latest misguided attempt to cram large numbers of poorly-designed levels into half-baked games has resulted in a broken, hideous, aurally offensive, shambling monstrosity of a game. And that's being polite.

Releasing in North America alongside the excellent Zen Pinball 3D, it's impossible not to compare the two games. In fact, if you've played Zen Pinball, just think about everything you like about that game. Now pretend it either doesn't exist or doesn't work correctly, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what it's like playing 101 Pinball World.

The game itself — "game" being the politest possible way to refer to 101 Pinball World — is a collection of 136 different pinball tables. Don't ask us where the "101" comes from. We don't know, and we're sure the developer doesn't either. Those tables are spread equally across four different themes, and you can access any of them you like, without the need for progression or unlocking.

Sounds great, right? Especially when compared to Zen Pinball's small handful of tables. Here's where the differences between these two games really becomes apparent, though: Zen Pinball's few tables offer frantic, addictive fun. 101 Pinball World's tables are barren, lifeless planes devoid of personality or inspiration.

The tables in 101 Pinball World are so bare that it's not uncommon to launch your ball, and then watch it sail immediately and uselessly through your flippers or down the sides without hitting a single thing. Granted, different tables offer different layouts, but the developers were so stingy with bumpers and other scoring devices that, at times, the game hardly even feels interactive.

We tried them all (oh, the things we do for you) and not one of them felt like it had any significant investment in its design. Bumpers, chutes and lights are shuffled slightly away from where they were on the previous table, and that's that. The developers didn't seem to care much about what the tables looked like — or played like — and that lack of enthusiasm bleeds through, creating a dull and dour playing experience.

The four worlds each offer a different visual aesthetic, but they range from charmlessly innocuous to insultingly bad. In the former category, you have the "haunted" tables, which, predictably, are adorned with boilerplate spooky imagery. In the latter category you have the "pirate" tables, which replace the flippers with cannons, slap skulls everywhere and give you a red ball that often blends in with the background so that you can't see it. Needless to say, it's a blast.

With this complete lack of obstacles and scoring devices, you'd think that the game would at least play smoothly. After all, Zen Pinball offers an almost overwhelming amount of interactivity and that game flows smooth as honey. Well, prepare to be disappointed, because 101 Pinball World is a laggy mess.

We cannot figure out why, but 101 Pinball World finds it difficult to render the ridiculously simple movement of a single silver sphere, chugging and straining away like the DSi's about to explode from the strain. Even with next to nothing happening on any given table, the game can hardly cope. That's downright embarrassing, and it makes the otherwise responsive controls that much less of an achievement.

Soundwise, the game is revolting. You'd be hard pressed to find worse music tracks than these, particularly on the "wizard" tables, where you don't so much hear music as you hear the sound of 400 garbage trucks honking crazily as they tumble down the side of a mountain while you're being attacked by bees. The quality is abysmal, and we're fairly certain that a glitch is preventing proper playback of these songs, because no human being would deliberately release anything that sounds like this.

As mentioned above, the flipper controls work well enough, but the menu navigation revolves around tiny buttons on the touch screen, obviously built for the stylus as even a child's finger would end up selecting more than one. This in itself isn't a problem, but as the game is clearly built for button controls it's more than a little silly to have to pull the stylus out just to select another level.

The game remembers your high scores, ranks you from one to three stars on your performance, and even offers small challenges to achieve while you play through the levels. This would seem to offer replay value, but as the game doesn't offer any reason to play it in the first place, that point is rather moot.

It's cheaper than Zen Pinball, that much is true, but remember that you get what you pay for.

Actually, scratch that; with 101 Pinball World, you get much, much less.


Forget comparing it to Zen Pinball; there's nothing that 101 Pinball World does right. With its slapdash level design, dire soundtrack and sub-Flash game physics, not to mention preposterous amounts of slowdown and a complete dearth of aesthetic appeal, 101 Pinball World is sincerely one of the worst games we have ever played. Save your time, save your money, and save yourself the frustration — pretend 101 Pinball World doesn't exist. We intend to do the same.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (45)



Knux said:

Oh, am I glad that I bought Zen Pinball 3D instead! Awesome review, CB.



C-Olimar said:

Oh Dear... and in europe its the same price as zen pinball... i would take one zen pinball table for £10 than £1 for all thes. A shambles.
EDIT: Unless they change the price for Europe: it could cost differently to Zen Pinball



bboy2970 said:

Lol. That was a great review. a 1 is pretty bad but I figured as much when I first saw the trailer. The whole thing looks like a complete pile of un-inspired garbage. I can't believe you played every single table



Geonjaha said:

Yaaaay. The Question is - will there ever be any more DSiWare titles that get at least an 8/10?



warioswoods said:

Mr. Chicken, many thanks for taking the evident pain required for the review. They tell me the tagline is a nod to one of those things they used to call "concept albums."

But you've forgotten to do one thing. One very important thing. It must be rectified.

This game currently has 0 reviews on the eShop. No star rating shown at all. You are likely the only person to have suffered the atrocity long enough to unlock the rating option on the 'shop. The time is ripe; bring it down to one star, for justice.

But if you downloaded it only on your DSi, where ratings aren't possible... well, just get the Pikmin guys to transfer it over to the 3D thing so that you can take care of the one-starring. It's worth it, if only to prevent one or two poor fools from downloading yet another awful, awful game. Also, I never see anything sustain a low rating on ye olde shoppe, and I can't fathom why. We'll see if your one-star gets answered by a five-star from the developers themselves, which is generally my theory on how this goes.



Rogue0311 said:

It looked like typical Nintendo 3rd party crapware as soon as I saw it pop up next to Zen Pinball. The "101" gave it away. lol

That's the problem with Nintendon...The big N seems to have zero quality control when it comes to 3rd party shovelware. To add insult to injury they expect us to pay full price for a POS "game". Nintendo has huge problems with over-pricing their virtual store games. Really, why should we pay 3 times as much for a 99 cent iOS/Android store game? They need to seriously re-evaluate their pricing system otherwise Nintendo isn't going to last very long against the mobile phone/gaming market.



Spoony_Tech said:

This game makes me want to take the 101 out of my name!

Yeah the eshop trailer looked so bad I would never even touch this utter crap. The only reason I even looked in here is too see who had to suffer this horrible review and see the score! Chicken deserves a week off after that painful sacrifice!



Freelance said:

We all figured this would happen when it was first announced so this isn't at all surprising.

If you need your pinball fix, play Zen Pinball 3D, Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection 3D or Pinball Pulse instead. I haven't actually played the latter but I bet it's still better than this one. Don't forget that Pinball Arcade is coming soon as well!



Philip_J_Reed said:

Also, I never see anything sustain a low rating on ye olde shoppe, and I can't fathom why.

I wondered about that, too. I think it's because the ratings are skewed toward those who enjoy the game. After all, you can only rate it if you bought it, which works in favor of games like Urban Champion, for example...those who already dislike it won't buy it, and therefore can't rate it.

It also only lets you rate if you've played for an hour (I think), which also works in the game's favor, as someone who is truly regretting a purchase may well give up before they hit that time limit.

I'm not saying I disagree with these things (it saves developers from being trolled by non-customers, and also prevents knee-jerk rankings), but it does tend to result in more favorable reviews than otherwise.

That said, I'm going to go submit my "otherwise."



LztheQuack said:

@Chicken_Brutus: I, for one, happen to like the sounds of 400 garbage trucks honking crazily as they tumble down the side of a mountain while I'm being attacked by bees. Does that mean I'll like the music of this game?



naut said:

My brother and I have been laughing at this game since we saw the trailer. XD



BenAV said:

Not too surprised there.
Never even seen anything about the game before myself but any game with '101' in the name never usually turns out well.



Freelance said:

Would be nice if the reviewers would actually mention Williams Collection in pinball reviews. It's so unknown on the 3DS front that every little bit helps in promoting it, especially when Zen Pinball is mentioned a lot in the review. Everyone knows about that game but nobody knows of Williams so please, advertise this awesome game.

Also, I don't know why Pinball Arcade hasn't been featured here either since it looks to be getting a March release date.



sc100 said:

These people need to be sent to gaming purgatory as soon as possible. It'll take many years of suffering to make penance for this horrible mess.



TikiTong said:

How many ones have we recevied in the downloadable world of gaming this week???



accc said:

Holy @#$%, that tagline was AMAZING! Too bad most of the readers probably won't get the reference, lousy kids.



Dodger said:

I'm 15 and I got the reference in the tagline. Took me a couple seconds though.

I knew this was coming. The 101 series has stunk and trying to make a whole bunch of pinball tables means none of them will be interesting. I might try to pry back Pinball Pulse from my little sis since I couldn't transfer it right away and now she likes it but she'll probably be sad if I do so. At least I have the Mega Microgame$ pinball minigame until I can afford a 3DS card. Now that is what pinball should be like.

Pinball Wizard is way better then Pac-Man Fever. Pac-Man Fever is annoying.



SmaMan said:

Looks kind of like Super Pinball: Behind the Mask on SNES, only much worse.



Ren said:

Hmm, something tells me this game could have been saved by some kind of clothing removal in the background of each successive level picture. But I guess that's what internet flash games are for. Still, just saying it wouldn't hurt sales for this kind of stinker.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@19 I get it, because my dad loves that song.

There was also a Simpsons episode where Homer stole a Who concert from the rest of Springfield, and Moe remarked, "That fat, dumb, and bald guy sure plays a mean hardball!"



Freelance said:

The game should get a zero all things considering. Why didn't it get a zero? If movies can get 'bomb' or 'turkey' ratings, so could games.



SmaMan said:

I always considered the 1 being for effort. Now if your effort amounts to something good, the rest of the stars are yours!



rosemo said:

I'm seeing nothing but cheap garbage released on DSiWare anymore. I'm calling the platform dead.



Morpheel said:

Oh Teyon has made several enjoyable games. But I think they should change their recent 10(0)1 somethings trend... I do enjoy 1001 blockbusters and 101 dolphin pets though...



Victoria said:

Just looking at the screen shots you can tell it's bad. There's so little on the table. It does look like the ball could drop straight down without hitting a single thing.



Freelance said:

@James, fair enough but it would still have been nice to add a little disclaimer towards the end that reads something like, "So if you need a pinball fix, you should get Zen Pinball 3D or Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection instead" just to give the game some exposure. Like I said, barely anyone knows about the game, having had a very limited run in stores. I'd hate having to see such a good game getting overlooked.

I guess there's not much point now though with Pinball Arcade coming just around the corner so I can't complain.



gamecubefan said:

seems like a lot of pure crap games being thrown out onto dsi and wiiware. glad that 3ds/wiiu is a bit more selective (or at least i hope they will be). i hate that all these worthless games take up room in the virtual shops. clutter up menus



brandonbwii said:

To answer the question has Teyon ever made a good game, you might want to look at Robot Rescue and Arctic Escape. Those are both satisfying, especially Robot Rescue but other than that, yeah the games have been pretty bad.

A number of DSiware games have fallen off the radar. What's the status on amoebattle? What about Jelly Kingdoms (read about it in Nintendo Power)? Where's Spirit Hunters?

Yeah 3DS Downloads seems to adhere to some sort of quality standard (yes even that samurai game is not the WORST thing I've seen) moreso than other titles. The entire Q1 lineup has something for someone. I hope those sort of releases continue.



Philip_J_Reed said:

fair enough but it would still have been nice to add a little disclaimer towards the end that reads something like, "So if you need a pinball fix, you should get Zen Pinball 3D or Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection instead" just to give the game some exposure.

The comparisons to Zen Pinball were warranted by its same-day presence in the eshop. You'll have to forgive us for not shoehorning in a reference to other pinball games just for the sake of doing so.

As mentioned above The Williams Collection got a review here, which explains our views of it clearly enough on its own, and we're not particularly on a mission to "give it more exposure" by means of cramming references to it into reviews of other games.

I hope you understand.



mystman12 said:

I know I'm late, (really, really, really late) but that tag line is incredible! XD

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