23 December, 2014

Follow-up on ProPinball excellence

I wrote a post last week concerning my correspondence with Adrian Barritt of the ProPinball team and the ball visibility, in particular when playing on the iPhone. The answer at that time was that they were going to take care of this. One week later this is already taken care of.

The Barnstorm team are prepping Timeshock for public release on iDevices. Given that the iTunes store is closed during the Christmas vacations this will have to wait till January. In the meantime some minor bugs are getting fixed and some features are being implemented. Among the ones that are already there is the ball visibility.

In the screenshot one can read "bright highlight added to ball in order to make it easier to see". When Timeshock comes out we'll see if this is suffices (and you know that I am a heckler when it comes to ball visibility) but the important thing is that they reacted immediately to this users' suggestion.

By the way, I find the move of the Barnstorm people to release TImeshock for iOS immediately and then continue work on more platforms quite clever. Selling Timeshock on the iTunes store will ensure some fresh funds making the development of the remaining versions more serene.

21 December, 2014

Farsight’s Christmas present

By now everybody knows that I am a sucker when it comes to Pat Lawlor pinballs. This time Farsight decided to offer us a Christmas present with one of the very first Lawlor pinballs, Earthshaker.

While it is just the second pinball designed by the grand master it is a great table with all the features that make the Lawlor pinballs unique. The graphics are superb and the gameplay really interesting. I was hooked to the game from the very first moment. 

My only deception is that the sinking building feature does not seem to be implemented in the digital version. (But then I just played a few games and I may be wrong).

At this point I will repeat myself: the game is made harder to play by the “invisible” ball. In fact I was not able to find a ball with a suitable colour. The table is multicoloured and thus whatever I tried was not really satisfactory. Perhaps a green ball is slightly better than the white one but still (very) far from perfect. It is not clear whether Farsight will one day correct this (despite their answer to my friend Marco’s mail that they will be looking into this).

17 December, 2014

Why ProPinballs are the best

A new beta of Timeshock for the iDevices just came out with bug fixes and some additions. However what attracted my attention was the list of things to be implemented and which are in progress. Here is a screen capture from the ProPinball forum.

Notice the “Ball can be hard to see”. In fact when the first beta came out I wrote to Adrian Barritt pointing him to my blog entry where I was commenting on the ball’s visibility (in particular when playing in a small screen like the iPhone’s). He answered saying that they were going to look into this. I was not the only one unhappy with this feature. Other people in the forum had had the same impression. And now the problem is in the list of features/bugs to be taken care of.

How many times have myself (and other people as well) contacted Farsight complaining about the ball without effect? The fast reaction of the Barnstorm team is another proof (as if we were needing one) of their excellence. Their devotion to quality is what made (and is making) the ProPinball line the best pinball simulation ever.

11 December, 2014

The new Zen table: Venom

As you know I do not care much about Zen pinballs (well, with some exceptions). The most recent table, Venom, is of part of the ones I do not like at all. I watched the trailer and that sufficed to convince me to forget about this game. Why on earth should a pinball comprise gesticulating “super heroes”? They are spoiling the game! 

On the other hand there are people, probably even among the readers of this blog, who do like such pinballs. (Otherwise Zen Studios would stop producing them). For them my advice is to track down the trailer and decide for themselves if they like the game to the point of buying it. I, for one, will not.

05 December, 2014

Pinball and iPad Plus rumours

My recent post on Timeshock playability on the iPhone got me thinking about my preferred screen size and in particular when it comes to playing pinball. When the iPad mini made its appearance I abandoned my iPad 2 and started using the mini almost exclusively. However after having experienced this, admittedly very nice, machine I did not hesitate to ditch it in favour of the iPad Air. Playing on the latter’s screen is much more comfortable than trying to follow the ball on a 7 inch screen.

Recently we have been hearing rumours of a 12 inch iPad Air Plus and I, for one, am looking forward to this jumbo-size iPad. It will definitely be my favourite machine, when it comes to playing pinball (and other games as well). After a few years' experience on screens of various sizes my preferences are now well established. When I play pinball on the iPad I tend to favour simple tables like Tristan or Big Shot. I only try other tables for the blog’s sake. I enjoy playing more elaborate tables only on my iMac’s big screen. Although Timeshock is perfectly playable on the iPad I am still looking forward to the beta version for the Mac. I almost never play pinball on the iPhone. Perhaps if I had a iPhone 6 Plus I could let myself be tempted but since I hate phablets this is never going to happen.

01 December, 2014

Zaccaria’s Strike

OK, I admit it. I am a little bit old-school when it comes to my pinball preferences. I like simple pinballs with a pared-down table layout and without elaborate rules. Of course the most important thing is gameplay: it has to be somewhat challenging and always fun.

Most pinballs of the Zaccaria line do not live up to my expectations. However the most recent addition, Strike,

is an exception. The game cannot get simpler than this. Still (and in particular since those outlanes are there just for the ball to drain) the gameplay is not trivial. For once, I did not get annoyed by the sluggishness which is characteristic of all ASK Homework pinballs. Perhaps the game got more fluid after the most recent massive update of the Zaccaria pinball line or the sluggishness is there but somehow blends with the oldie (but goodie) theme of the table.