The Pinball Arcade – Review

The Pinball Arcade – Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Dim the lights, put your quarters away, and plunge into the Pinball Arcade. With this totally authentic pinball simulator, you can enjoy some of the most famous and best pinball tables from classic makers like Williams, Gottlieb, and Bally. This free-to-play version of pinball is the best version you’re likely to play without stepping inside a smoke-filled bar.

Pinball Arcade: Madness on Multiple Tables

Pinball Arcade

It’s easy to see why Pinball Arcade included one free table, Tales of the Arabian Nights, to demonstrate what this game can do. Aside from being an exciting table with flashy effects and deep gameplay, it’s also one of the most beautiful pinball tables in Pinball Arcade. With a 1080p screen, its richly-hued, intricate artwork really pops. Regardless of whether you get any other tables, Tales of the Arabian Nights alone is worth the download.

However, if you opt to spend some money on extra tables, which you can purchase a la carte or in series collections, the selection includes some of my favorites. For example, Funhouse—the one with the ventriloquist dummy head—has never looked or played better. There’s still something thrilling about making Rudy the dummy snore with his mouth wide open and then gagging him with a ball after lining up the perfect skill shot.

The selection of memorable tables includes licensed tie-ins like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Twilight Zone, and Elvira and the Party Monsters, as well as milestones for the genre like Black Hole, which was the first pinball game to charge 50 cents and have an extra inverted playing field. I still believe Medieval Madness is the most spectacular. You should do what I do and turn the in-game room light to low so you can fully experience its amazing light effects.

Public demand drives the addition of new tables all the time. In contrast, the selection leans towards newer boards with lots of bells and whistles and neglects vintage classics from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Pinball Arcade: Skill Shots

Pinball Arcade looks great on the PC, but the PS4 version is downright stunning with nearly photo-realistic detail and a flawless frame rate. The ball physics, flipper strength, and even plunger mechanics are the same as in arcades. As a result, there is a “Call Attendant” option in case your ball ever gets stuck. This is a lot more pristine than what you’d find in a real arcade.

Nevertheless, there is one flaw that is present in almost any pinball simulator, and that is the fact that there is no perfect viewing angle. A part of the board is obscured, or you’re too close, too far, or too far away. The table becomes smaller when a vertical board is rendered on a widescreen. However, it’s a reminder that a sim cannot duplicate everything, so it’s not a reason to skip Pinball Arcade.

Pros Cons
It’s free for the first table. Perspectives are limited.
Astonishing graphics A few vintage tables
Original Tables