Oh woe is me! The player is treated to yet another four tables of pinball fun from the company which has made its bread and butter by selling pinball games for many years. But look out 21st Century, because if you don't pull up your socks, somebody else is going to muscle in on your territory, and you'll have to resort to lard and a few stale crumbs.
As ever, the four tables each feature a theme and the graphics and features reflect the chosen topic. In Pinball Mania, you have to traverse the traps and flashing lights of the hair-raising Tarantula, go law-dodging in Jailbreak, leave the terraces in Kick Off (can anyone be sued over the use of this name?) and negotiate the confusingly named Jackpot, which draws upon casinos for its inspiration.
Jackpot is rather nice. I am well into casinos and poker and most of the essential elements are here, including the sampled "Madame et Monsieur" a croupier calls when spinning the ball in roulette and the four aces. Jailbreak also looks the part. It is well laid out and colourful, with plenty to tempt you for a while. However, closer examination finds it lacking in that essential depth which was so powerful in the company's earlier offering, Pinball Fantasies.
Tarantula and Kick Off are, frankly, appalling. They are less attractive, badly designed and extremely dull. While the first two hold their own, neither of these tables would interest anyone who plays pinball tables for real: there just isn't enough of a hook here to keep you pressing the start button.
The ball itself is disappointing. It's a lovely silver colour, granted, but this is flat and static, looking for all the world like it slides around the tables without rotating or rolling. Nothing reflects in its mock-shiny surface. Add to this a strange flipper action, which doesn't let you flip with any amount of decent power. Add in the odd occasion when the ball sticks to the flipper-tip and Pinball Mania looks like a flaw in the 21st Century pinball gem. Why has this 'flipper weakness' been introduced? To make the game harder? It certainly hasn't made it any harder to switch off.
The fourth in the series of pinball games from 21st Century. It's the first and only game that was not designed by Digital Illusions, but SpiderSoft. You got four tables to play: Jackpot, Jail Break, Tarantula, Kick Off.
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