22 January, 2017

They are on a spree

Another one of those non-pinball pinballs has made its appearance. To tell the truth it was announced long ago and I kept an eye open for it. Super Hyper Ball 2 is an evolution of (you guessed it!) Super Hyper Ball where the main innovation is the addition of flippers.

The game is announced as a pinball-breakout hybrid and while I can understand the "breakout" part I don't see how it could qualify as a pinball. Also the finger position for the flipper control is totally un-natural for a pinball player. Of course it could not be otherwise since one has to control also the bottom reflection bar but I noticed that while playing I had the tendency to forget the flippers and take care only of the bar.

Is SHB2 a bad game? Not at all, especially if you like breakout games. (I do). My only critique is that at times the ball stays too long in the upper part getting reflected around and one's attention may drift. But, hey, this is also part of the gameplay. To put it in a nutshell. You could give SHB2 a try. You may like it provided you do not expect a pinball.

16 January, 2017

Why, oh, why are people insisting on these "pinball" games?

I have often written about games which are supposedly pinballs and which are nothing but games where you kick a ball around with flippers. For me all these games are abusing the "pinball" moniker. This does not mean that they cannot be fun. It's rare but sometimes it happen. I have recently written a post on Pinout a game with nice graphics and which is really interesting. However the last supposedly pinball game, Ascending Pinball

is something we can immediately forget about. It is so stuffed with advertising that you have to spend more time watching videos than actually playing. But this is not so bad as one could surmise: the videos are much more interesting than the game itself.

I am often complaining at the crapware that passes for pinball now-a-days. But games like this one necessitate the creation of a new class: non-pinballs. And unfortunately we are getting more and more of them recently.

12 January, 2017

Eight Ball Deluxe redemption

It was a game that I was crazy about when it first appeared on the Mac produced by Amtex/Littlewing. After the game was resurrected for the Pinball Arcade I wrote two different posts on the frustrations caused by the Eight Ball Pinball. My friend Marco chimed in pointing out that a) 8-ball is a tough game and b) the pro version did allow one to play with 4 or 5 balls. I did give the pro version a try playing with 4 balls but I decided that it was too much hassle and went back to the basic one. And then I noticed something. The pinball is a faithful reproduction of the original and in low left corner one could see the card with the minimum scores for a replay. 

There was the answer! Eight Ball Deluxe was indeed a tough game and when playing on the real pinball one could get a  free play for just 600 thousand points (and a second free play for 1.1 million). Now, while 600 k does ask for some careful play it is something that one can reach rather easily (and 1.1 M is also a realistic target). So, I forgot about multi-million scores and I started playing 8-ball again with more modest objectives. And I keep improving. I have still to beat the highest high-score but I am getting closer and closer and in fact I have fun playing this great classical pinball game. The morale of this story is that playing pinball is also a question of attitude. You have to acknowledge the difficulty of a game and accept to spend the time necessary in order to master it. Also, do not aim for the top score from the outset, high scores will come after some time. 

05 January, 2017

Gameprom's new table: Vikings

I must admit that I was a little bit worried. The last table of Gameprom to be released was Mafia in July. Over the last 6 months we did not have any update from this mobile game developer, one of the few that produce quality pinballs for the Mac&iOS. Fortunately today's update of the Pinball HD app brought a new table, Vikings

I gave it a try and my feelings are mixed. While I usually love the Gameprom pinball graphics this time I found them not really to my liking. Too much red perhaps? And the concept is a little bit weird. Are we on a ship? If yes, what is the ship on the left doing on-board? I also found the foam effect rather poorly designed and the land (island) could have used a little bit more texturing, even if this is not essential for the game. I think that Gameprom reached a level of perfection with Red Planet and it is difficult to reproduce it since. 

The physics are always OK, but the gameplay is not particularly exciting. The playfield is uncluttered and some shots do ask for precision. The ball does not drain too easily allowing one to play for quite some time (and one has always the possibility to opt for an extra ball). I happened to play the game with sound on and I found that the accompanying music was of very good taste. If you like Gameprom's pinballs you could give Vikings a try.

02 January, 2017

Steam pinballs and the Mac

I should have titled this post "The sad state of Mac pinballs on Steam" but then I decided for a tamer title. Well, it remains that it's a sad state indeed. When you look for pinballs on Steam you leave really disappointed. Some of the classics are there: ProPinball (Timeshock), Pinball Arcade and Dream Pinball 3D. You have also some crappy pinballs like Momonga Adventures

(is it really a pinball? For me it is a game with flippers), Snowball (I have already written about) and Hyperspace Pinball (it exists also on iOS, I tried it and you can forget about it).

The Pinball HD and Zen Pinball and the Zaccaria collections exist only for Windows. For the first two Mac-specific apps do exist so the absence of Mac-Steam app is no big deal. For the Zaccaria collection it is really a pity but I am afraid that ASK Homework is a very small company and had to choose priorities. Perhaps, one day, if they survive, they will bring this nice pinball collection to the Mac.

And now for the real shock. Stern Pinball arcade does exist on Steam and it is Windows-only. After the disastrous iOS10-only choice FarSight is adding insult to injury as far as Apple users are concerned by limiting their Stern Steam app to Windows. Does this mean that they edging slowly out of the Mac? Time will tell. But for the time being I am really, really pissed-off by FarSight.