24 July, 2016

Timeshock update

I don't know whether this is an update for Kickstarter backers only or if the game is available at large. So, taking the risk to frustrate the fans who cannot have access to this version, I am going to give a brief report on the Mac version 1.2.1  that made its appearance a few days ago.

When you launch the app you are asked to download the table corresponding to you screen resolution.

It takes quite some time and when it's finished you are sent to the welcome screen. 

If by any chance the default illumination is not to your taste (I prefer the more subdued one, myself) you are back to the downloading screen and in for another quarter of an hour of waiting.

There are several settings screens I will not bother you about. I prefer to show the one that is quite new and somewhat disappointing. It has to do with the golden ball. 

You can now choose a silver or a gold ball (provided you have already purchased it) through the appropriate settings screen.

However the gold ball is a let down. While it has a metal sheen its colour is a sickly yellow and given that the dominant colours of the Timeshock table are yellow-green the "gold" ball is a worse choice than the standard, silver, one. 

Another feature that I hadn't tired before was the glass-off mode.

It's funny for about 10 seconds and could be useful only if you wish to explore a game you play for the first time. In the case of Timeshock glass-off this is definitely of limited usefulness. 

22 July, 2016

Mafia by Gameprom

Without much fanfare, an update of the Pinball HD collection brought a new table, Mafia. I don't think that I have to explain what is the theme of this new pinball :-)

It's a nice table with the slightly blocky graphics that characterise the most recent Gameprom pinballs. The lower part of the table is a little bit too cluttered to my taste but this is not really annoying unless one uses the flying camera setting. For once I played the game with sound on and I found that music and sounds were of very good taste. 

The gameplay is interesting and at times challenging (in particular when it comes to shooting the moving thug at the upper part of the table). One can play the game as part of the Pinball HD collection. However if you wish to just try it I recommend the standalone version which one can play by accepting to view some ads. Do not hesitate to try Mafia: it's a nice pinball.

17 July, 2016

FarSight will always be FarSight

I have recently written about FarSight's new user interface which I find a definitive improvement compared to the previous one (where you had to scroll through a list of 60+ games in order to find the one you wished to play). Being an incorrigible optimist I was under the impression that the FarSight developers would have profited from this overhaul in order to correct bugs in their games. No, I wasn't hoping for an improvement of the ball visibility. I have given up on this point since quite some time now. I was just hoping to see some blatant bugs disappear. Apparently that was too optimistic. Here is a screen capture of the score screen for my preferred game, Big Shot

As you can see the 10k bug is still present. Manifestly, one can always count on FarSight to do things not in the right way.

09 July, 2016

FarSight Season Six is under way

Just after the update in the user interface, FarSight released the first table of season six. I do appreciate a lot the fact that they do not slow down and keep producing classic tables with exemplar regularity. This month's table is Indianapolis 500

It is (you guessed it) a car-racing themed game. Somehow car-racing tables are a favourite of pinball designers. Alas, not really a favourite of mine. Had I to choose a theme I would always opt for an amusement park one (and it is no secret that one of my preferred pinballs is Funhouse). Back to Indy. The table is uncluttered but the colours in the lower part make the choice of a proper ball really difficult. Add to that the shadow that some FarSight genius has added to the ball and you have a ruined gameplay. All the more so since the game is fast and one must have good reflexes in order not to let the ball drain.

I usually prefer unsophisticated games and Indy strikes me as such. Still I could not really relate to it. Of well. Win a few, lose a few, they say.

04 July, 2016

FarSight's new user interface

The last update of the FarSight Pinball Arcade, just before the Season Six launch, brought a new user interface. I had been unhappy about the previous one since a few seasons. Having to roll the table thumbnails in order to get to the one you were looking for was, to put it mildly, particularly awkward. In the newly minted user interface the tables are grouped in a contact-sheet thumbnail collection

which you can organise in various ways. It is certainly an improvement over the previous one. Is it good? Well, only time and use will tell. For the time being the one thing I would have liked is a pop-up with the name of the pinball when you touch one. In most cases the icon does allow to read (or guess) the name of the table but the pop-up would have been a nice feature.

Talking about features, rest assured: the standard ball is still of the invisible persuasion.