"You wanted the best, you got the best!" states the box cover of KISS Pinball, quoting a KISS trademark. But calling something the best doesn't make it so -- a budget game without accurate physics, KISS Pinball is at most an average game, one only a diehard KISS fan might really appreciate. Even a fan, though, is certain to be disappointed to learn that KISS music is absent from the game -- there's just a generic looping hard-rock style soundtrack.
Players familiar with modern computer pinball games won't find anything new here. Most of the normal features are evident, but there are no surprises and only the bare minimum in design has been accomplished. The physics are a bit shoddy, evidenced by ball movement that isn't quite as responsive as that in a real pinball machine or video pinball games of higher quality. The ball bounces off objects at a linear speed, rather than slowing down from friction and gravity and, at other times, doesn't bounce at all when it should, making it too easy to catch with a flipper. As a result, the game feels stiff and non-responsive.
Of the two views offered, the close-up view is basically unplayable. The ball travels so fast at times that the tracking camera pans up and down too quickly for the human eye to follow. Fortunately, the wide-angle, full table view is more playable but is too small and looks like a computer graphic rather than a pinball table. In this view, the entire table is shown on the left half of the screen while the dot-panel and a KISS graphic is shown on the right. An isometric viewpoint would have been a huge improvement.
If you're a KISS fanatic, buying the game is probably a must, simply to include it in your memorabilia collection, regardless of the mediocrity. Maybe it'll substitute for the original KISS Pinball coin-op machine that sells for thousands of dollars. But, if you don't have much interest in KISS merchandise and are looking for a good pinball game, many others are available with more gameplay and better physics, such as Empire Interactive's Pro Pinball series.
Graphics: The tables look good in the unplayable close-up view while the wide view is too cartoon-like and unrealistic, in addition to not being centered. There are some KISS-like graphics along with badly drawn pictures of the band members. No photos or authenticity is evident and the graphics are basically a knock-off of the real thing.
Sound: One would expect a KISS Pinball game to at least feature some music from the band -- this doesn't. A few samples from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons along with a female groupie play when you complete certain sequences but that's all. The pinball sounds themselves are rather bland with occasional guitar riffs for sound effects and some explosions.
Enjoyment: For a budget game, KISS Pinball isn't overly bad or good. Everything here has been done better elsewhere and even KISS fans will be disappointed by the lack of authenticity.
Replay Value: Unless you're really intent on completing all the sequences in the game to reach the end of each tables' mission, there's nothing to keep you occupied for very long. Maybe a few minutes gameplay at a time will prolong game life but there's no compelling reason to beat the game.
People who downloaded Kiss Pinball have also downloaded:
Microsoft Pinball Arcade, Sci-Fi Pinball, Addiction Pinball, Absolute Pinball, Pinball Fantasies, Extreme Pinball, Pure Pinball, Pinball 4000 (a.k.a. Expert Pinball 4000)
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