Pinball Challenge Deluxe

Quick Take - comprising Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies, this is a feast for nostalgics

The Two Amigos

Pinball games, on the whole, don't do a great deal for me. However, if I were to delve back into the fancies of my youth, I might be able to claw a couple of popular titles to mind. Pinball games which I actually bothered to play - a measure of quality unsurpassed in the field of pinball-reviewage, I assure you. Those two games would be Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies. Somebody out there, and I don't know exactly who, is well aware of my enduring obsession with these two icons of popular pinball pursuit, and I believe that somebody works for Ubi Soft, because Pinball Challenge Deluxe encompasses both and offers much in the way of entertainment as a result.

Originally released on the Amiga, I met both games on the Super Nintendo, and they wowed me with their cleverly designed tables and realistic table physic. Pinball Challenge Deluxe goes one better, overwhelming the player with the sheer wealth of things to do. With a combined tally of eight tables, you won't be totting up impressive scores on all of them for quite a while, especially as they all tread the fine line between playability and dastardliness with some class. Of course graphically it's nothing too special by the GBA's increasingly impressive standards, but the cartoony tables are cleanly presented and the balls easy to see, and in a game about hitting a ball with flippers and trying to get it to roll in the right direction, just how much detail do you need?

For those of you, like me, intrigued at the quality of the conversion, the game accurately recreates more than 300 pieces of music, 50 sound effects, 450 lights and 200 "game modes". And a lot of the tables retain their multi-flipper approach, rather like eternal GBC favourite Kirby's Pinball. Oh look, I've got you casual 'ballers interested now. Tsk.

Conclusion

The game won't be to everyone's liking. It is, after all, a pretty simple game, and for all my posturing it's not as deep and meaningful as some of the better GBA games out there. Plus, at as much as 30 it's quite a hefty purchase, but flippant nostalgics like myself, and those of you who like pinball and fancy the idea of playing some of the best tables ever conceived on your handheld will almost certainly want to give it a go. Tune in next month for an embarrassingly knowledgeable appraisal of each table, pixel by pixel! [Yeah, I'm gonna can that idea actually -Ed]

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