Developer(s) – Jupiter
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Going beyond a simple spin-off game, Pokémon Pinball captured the feeling of the popular RPG franchise, and gave players a lot more to do than in a conventional Pinball game, such as having to capture Pokémon using the different areas the ball can be launched into, and completing additional objective in the process. Though it would have been relatively easy to overlook this title, even during the time of its release, when Pokémon was one of the most popular brands around, I personally spent a lot of time playing this game as a child, and I think it still holds up to this day as one of the most memorable Game Boy experiences.
Graphics – 7/10
Having an unusual amount of visual diversity for a pinball game, the player is given a choice of either the red or blue board to go allude to the motif of the original two Pokémon games, there’s also the added feature of players having to select a location on the board before playing where different Pokémon can be captured in different locations; even giving the player the added facility to travel in between locations during rounds of pinball. It went beyond a simple spin-off pinball game in many different ways, but the fact that it has this much basis in visual design captured my imagination in a very positive way at the time.
Gameplay – 7/10
Aside from being unique in a multitude of ways, the game is also very enjoyable to play, and the extra incentive to be gained from doing so makes it my favourite form of pinball overall. It’s interesting, since I personally have a kind of love-hate relationship with Pinball. On one hand, I love how addictive and immersing it is, but on the other hand, I’ve never liked how much chance there is involved in the game, as opposed to it being a question of skill. But since there’s more to do in Pokémon Pinball than in a regular game, the issue of addiction and chance is fractionally evened out from my point of view; it’s more about addiction than random chance.
Controls – 10/10
The control scheme for the game is simple, easy to come to terms with and with no complications; the A button the controls the left flipper, right button on the d-pad for the right, and B to tilt.
Originality – 8/10
What makes this game sp unique is how well it differs from other Pinball games, in it’s additional objective, its RPG element, and it’s emphasis on visual concept, which is unusually impressive for a game of its kind. To a great extent than Pokémon Shuffle, it gives me hope that Nintendo will be able to enter the smart phone gaming market without putting too many restrictions on their games, and to let gamers play it for how long or often as they want.
Overall, Pokémon Pinball should not be as easy a game to overlook as it is. It’s an excellent edition to the Game Boy library, and a must-have for any fan of the franchise, as well as fans of Pinball.