IGN Review of Dream Pinball
What would be your dream pinball game? If it's a handful of generic tables with average ball and flipper physics, SouthPeak games just made your dream come true. Dream Pinball 3D is a decent enough effort, helping to fill a genre gap on the Nintendo DS. It doesn't unseat Metroid Prime Pinball as the best flipper game on the platform, but it should satisfy the urges of aspiring Tommys out there. It's also a case of the portable version besting the console, as Dream Pinball plays better on the DS than it does on the Wii.
The table collection in Dream Pinball consists of a bunch of clichés and one ambiguous fantasy game. You've got your medieval table, your monster table, your dinosaur table… They're well thought out with the usual secrets, combos, and special modes, but they aren't inspired. The one machine that isn't easily described is Amber Moon, which appears to be a mishmash of sword and sorcery themes. A sexy witch/vampire lady adorns the table's artwork, but the standout sound effect is a bird call that doesn't sound mysterious or supernatural at all. Weird.
Overall, the sound in Dream Pinball is pretty well done. Each table has its own soundtrack, appropriate sound effects, and a voice over giving you commentary. Unfortunately, it seems the game can only play one sound effect at a time, so sounds are constantly being cut off. This is probably the one area where the DS version is inferior to the Wii.
The physics governing the flippers and balls are acceptable, but not great. They're certainly a lot better than on the Wii. Here, the flippers actually move rather than warp between upright and resting positions. But they'e kind of slow, making it so you don't feel like you're really hitting the ball and it can be hard to launch yourself to the top of the table. The pinballs behave pretty well. During a game you can change the material of your ball from steel to things like wood or marble. The manual insists these changes affect how the ball handles, but in practice it's hard to notice any difference.
Dream Pinball DS includes an extra mode not found in its console counterpart. Aside from playing regular games of pinball, players can enter Mission Mode where they are timed on their ability to complete certain objectives like getting a multiball or a super combo. This is a nice addition that extends the gameplay a bit. You can also play head to head against another pinball wizard, but this unfortunately requires two game cards.
There are seven available camera angles -- one fixed, and six dynamic. They all seem to work pretty well, and players will probably find one they like early on and stick with it. All the action takes place on the bottom screen while the top displays the table marquee. It seems like a waste of space on the DS. I would rather have the tables extend across both screens.
©2008-05-01, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved