23 December, 2015

Judge Dredd from FarSight

This is probably the last table of the year 2015 and most probably my last post before 2016. This means that this year I managed to post, on average, one post per week. Still, the total number of posts is slightly below that of 2014. 

FarSight's new table is Judge Dredd based on the well-known fictional character.

It's a nice game with several features, like the Deadworld planet and the Space Station Robotic Arm, that I did like a lot. But the thing that beats everything and makes the game worth buying beyond any doubt is the Super Game mode. The screenshot above shows such a five-ball frenzy, which, alas, does not last long since it is quite difficult to manage all five balls for longer than a few seconds. Still, even a two-ball multiball is really fun. The one nice feature is that FarSight is not charging extra for activating the Super Game mode (something, I believe, Williams was doing).

The white ball is the only one I found to be playable, and only marginally so. The playfield is too high in colours and this makes practically all balls invisible. Why, oh why, isn't FarSight producing a well contrasted silver ball?

18 December, 2015

Timeshock is finally out for the Mac

After the recent beta the first official release of Timeshock for the Mac is now available. As I was guessing when the beta appeared, it did not take long for the people at Barnstorm games to fix the few remaining bugs and provide us with a great, playable version of Timeshock,

and in the same time prove how un-Farsight-y they are. In my previous post on the beta version I reported the complaints of a user concerning the fact that the table is too bright and the light controls did not exist anymore (as they did in the alpha version). Well, these controls did make it to the 1.0 release and as you can see in the screenshot above they allow you to bring down the table brightness to a very comfortable level (OK, it is perhaps too dark. I should readjust this next time I play). This is a proof (but did we need one?) that the Barnstorm people are listening (and acting). 

The current version of the game does not support changing the default key assignments using the GUI. The Barnstorm team promises that they will be added soon. In the meantime, you can change the controls but you have to use the command line. (If somebody is interested I could post detailed instructions on how to do this, but one has to be familiar with the Terminal).

I did play a few games and, curiously, I found the gameplay smoother than in the beta version. This may be just an unwarranted impression, or just due to the comfort the full-screen mod is providing. Well, who knows? This might reconcile me with Timeshock (while we wait for BRUSA).

16 December, 2015

Zen's Eldorado

Zen Studios released one more table of what, following my fiend's Nick suggestion, I call Zen Pinball 1 collection. The new table, Eldorado, 

is one I really did like a lot. Curiously I don't think there is any Zen Pinball 1 table that I do not like, while the same does not apply (and by far) to their remaining pinballs. Mind you, Eldorado is not an easy game. The table is too bright and it is difficult to discern the details. Fortunately the contrail (which I normally hate) does help to follow the ball. If you watch out for Zen typical moving parts and animations (I do) rest assured: there is none. The game is a classical pinball and thus one gets to enjoy an undisturbed gameplay. The fact that the ball does not drain too easily does also help.

Eldorado is a game I would recommend without hesitation.

05 December, 2015

No Fear is here

Farsight's fifth season is advancing with clockwork regularity, the latest addition being the table No Fear : Dangerous Sports. 

The table layout with the various branching lanes reminded me of the Balls of Glory collection of Zen Studios. Well, given that No Fear is a 20 years old game and BoG a most recent one it is clear that, if inspiration there is, it has followed a most specific direction. 

I have mixed feelings about this table. There are things I do like a lot: the variety of the goals, the relatively easy multiball, the prolonged autosave (autofire!) to name but a few. On the other hand there are things that I hated. The drain lane looks like a highway. I have trouble reacting in time for the upper right flipper: it could be just myself but I feel that the visual clues are insufficient. Speaking of visual matters, it goes without saying that the game is unplayable with the standard ball (and even with the green one the situation is often touch-and-go).

Finally there are things where Farsight has once more shown how little care goes into crafting their games. On my iPad Air the launch button is situated at the upper right corner which means that you have to launch and then move your hand down to a more natural grip. At times I wonder whether they have tried the game on real iPads or just on on-screen simulators. 

Another "interesting" feature is the high-score table. Whatever you do it remains a tabula rasa. Well, not exactly, since you have those zeroes but for me it is a proof of amateurism if we were in need of one.

01 December, 2015

Gameprom's new table

The new addition to the Pinball HD line is here and I must say that I am underwhelmed. Much as I like (as a general rule) their pinballs and I appreciate the fact that they are keeping the pinball activity on iOS alive, I must say that I could not get to like their most recent table. Street Racing 

is the 20th table of Gameprom and although it has sound physics and nice graphics it is a bit of a let down. Why on earth did they have to cramp the table to (practically) two-thirds of the available surface just on order to have the racing lanes on top? What is this adding to the game? Perhaps the developpers have been trying to imitate Zen pinballs and their moving parts (a very bad idea in my book).

Well, to be fair, the game is not really bad. The reduced playfield requires higher precision in handling the ball and the latter does seem to avoid draining on its own. You can try the game for free in order to shape your own opinion. For me it is a game I will not be coming back to. There are so many better tables by Gameprom to choose from.