It's great that pinball games have found a new fan base in the mobile gaming market. It's even better when some of those pinball games actually seek to recreate real life popular pinball machines, preserving them for generations to come. Such is the mission of Farsight Studios with their latest release, Pinball Arcade. These guys have got the physics nailed down, and the recreations themselves are extremely accurate. Unfortunately, other aspects of the app are really holding it back, namely the pricing of the tables.
The four tables initially available are Ripley's Believe It or Not, Black Hole, Theater of Magic, and Tales of the Arabian Nights. Each one is masterfully recreated, using the same sound effects and mechanics as the original machines. Each table is very different and very fun, although sometimes the graphics can be rather jagged or blocky, breaking the immersion a bit. The touch controls are easy to use, although there seems to be a very, very slight input lag on the flippers. It's not too bad, but it can be quite noticeable at times. Each table comes with detailed instructions regarding it's unique mechanics, and they each have special in-game goals to shoot for. They even bring along special extras, like table histories and pictures of the original fliers that advertised each table.
The one area where this app falls flat is in the pricing. Not only are the tables quite expensive, but the way this transaction is presented to you is just awful. The app is listed as completely free, and you can enjoy the each of the four tables upon booting it up. Once you've hit the score limit on a table, a message will pop up that forces you to either buy the table, or quit to the main menu. You can quit and then jump right back into play, but this is infuriating in the middle of a good game. Of course, each table costs four dollars individually, or ten dollars for the whole package. When you think about the vast amount of tables they plan to recreate for this app in future updates, that adds up to a ludicrous amount of money for a simple mobile game. What's more, you can't even buy the tables from the menu. You are forced to play a table to the score limit before you're even given the option, and if you pass it up, you've got to get there again. This app has massive potential and very few technical issues holding it back, but the presentation was handled horribly. Either way, it is free to download, so feel free to check it out for yourself.