Pinball Arcade Review

By , on February 21, 2012

Pinball Arcade Plus
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Almost a history lesson on pinball; some of the arcades' finest tables recreated digitally, with more released each month.
  • Great recreation of the tables with the ability to even tilt or call the arcade attendant.


  • The paid versions of each table are underneath a hefty pay-wall.
  • Small amount of lag on flipper controls with some tables.
  • No Retina-ready visual optimizations.


Despite some minor control annoyances and the pay-wall, this is a must have app for lovers of pinball, especially those that used to pump coins into the machines when arcades were in their heyday.

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Anyone who has frequented an arcade has most likely had an encounter with a pinball machine. Part videogame with its animated scoreboard and goals, part mechanical contraption with its flippers, bumpers, ramps, and mischievous metal ball flailing around the table. They're a unique annal in the history of the arcade that at least in western countries has become a relic of the past. Enter Farsight Studios with Pinball arcade, recreating some of the most famous and popular pinball tables in the genre digitally, with the promise of more to come month by month. Essentially it's a pinball history lesson in app form.

As of release, four tables are available. These are Arabian Nights, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Black Hole, and Theater of Magic. The paid app allows you unlimited access to Arabian Nights, but the other tables have score restrictions on them until you pay to unlock the table (and prices vary depending on the table you wish to unlock, if the price for all of them isn't too hefty for you). This starting package certainly is varied, with Theater of Magic offering ridiculous scores, Ripleys being designed for beginners and experts alike, and Black Hole having a reverse table underneath the main board.

So how do the tables play in their digital forms? Well the flippers are controlled by tapping on the right or left of the screen and for the most part they are responsive. On Arabian Nights, there was a noticeable second or so of lag between tap and execution which made play frustrating, but other tables this problem was not encountered. As long as the flippers move when you tap them, there's nothing to worry about other than the bad luck you may or may not have at the game of pinball (reviewer's experience speaking here).

The presentation of these tables is immaculate with one wishing for a bigger screen just to follow all the action going on (especially when multiball occurs). The sounds of the flippers, bumpers, and the table's sound effects give you a sense of being in the room with the table, but sadly the lack of tactile feedback is missing, which has always been a problem with videogame versions of pinball. Nonetheless, if pinball interests you at all, and the prices don't scare you away, Pinball Arcade looks to be the definitive table collection on the App Store. Time will tell if they deliver on their promises.


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