There's a plenty of DOS and Windows based pinball games, so when it came time to review 3D Pinball I was a bit apprehensive. However, my worries were unfounded. 3D Pinball is a fresh bread in a bakery full of stale crescent rolls.
Game play occurs on three different tables. When you first begin you have the option of playing any one of the three or ALL of them. Yes, that's right, you can play on all of them. Not at the same time, mind you, but all three are tied together so that at different points you can warp between the different tables.
The view of the tables is approximately what it would be if you were playing an actual pinball game. It's not the standard overhead view presented by most pinball games but instead is from a tilted perspective. This is a welcome change of pace and sets 3D Pinball apart from its competitors.
Speaking of the views, they all are simply beautiful. Each is fully rendered and all playable at 640x480, 800x600, or 1024x768. From what I can tell, there must be a separate set of graphics for each screen resolution since the view fills the screen in all three.
Game play is both simple and ingenious. Each board has a set of bonuses that are activated by performing a specific task. Complete all bonuses on all boards and you will have the option to build the space port. Complete the space port and launch your ship to join the rank of pinball wizards, but be warned this is nearly an impossible task (I haven't completed it yet).
There is interactive help designed into the game too. When you begin each board you are instructed on how to activate the bonuses. Then, when you trigger a bonus, you are told what is needed to rack up the points.
You can also take the Grand Tour and learn about all the scoring options without having to figure them out on the fly. Personally, I jumped right in and played quite a few games before taking the Grand Tour.
There are also sub-boards accessed through certain bonuses. These are like separate mini pinball tables where you have a specific task to complete in a limited time. Complete the task and you are one step closer to launching your space ship.
To wrap things up, you couldn't want for a better pinball game. The only criticisms I have heard are that the game is too easy and the physics is not accurate. For pinball gods, this may be true, but it doesn't affect the enjoyment of 3D Pinball. Download 3D Pinball and prepare for hours of pinball action.
Some would call it Impossible Pinball. Not that it is difficult to play, rather that you could never build a pinball machine that could do the type of things that this game does. But it seems as though that's the point. As like any pinball game, there is an underlying plot in which you must achieve certain goals on each of the three pinball tables (you can warp between them). This takes you off into the fantasy pinball world, where anything can happen. Tanks can attack your ball, comets can fly in and create a crater in the middle of the board. Who knows what will happen next.
People who downloaded 3-D Ultra Pinball have also downloaded:
3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night, 3D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride, 3D Ultra Pinball 3: The Lost Continent, 3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball, Absolute Pinball, Addiction Pinball, Full Tilt! Pinball, Microsoft Pinball Arcade
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