Reviews

Slot Shots Pinball Ultimate Edition – Steam Review

FruitsNDoggie reviews Slot Shots Pinball: Ultimate Edition

First Impressions

Pinball was already waning in popularity before I was even around, so I didn’t really spend much time on those machines. The few times I gave them a try I never got that many points nor lasted that long. Conceptually, there’s something alluring about the simple gameplay of Pinball so I happily received a review key for Slot Shots Pinball Ultimate Edition.

Gameplay

There isn’t much to the idea of pinball. After launching a ball out on the angled board, you keep hitting it with stationary flippers, fighting against gravity by knocking it back up. As you do so, it’ll collide against targets and bumpers, each of which earns points. Certain areas on the board require more accuracy to reach with the ball, and can make it go into secluded parts that can’t be accessed any other way. Often, these areas are an opportunity to rack up points in larger increments, especially since they’re designed to kick your ball back out. You get three balls per attempt to get a high score, and once the last ball falls through the bottom, you’ve lost. Although there’s some interesting antics from the different machines, I wouldn’t have minded more over the top interactions as you hit different targets and rack up big points.

Controls

Even though the game was supposed to be compatible with a controller, I tried a few times, but wasn’t able to get this game to recognize my device. I checked the discussion boards, and an oddity about this release is that whatever input you use on the title screen, will carry over throughout that session. According to the developer, it’s not possible for the game to change, or recognize, another method of control, once you get past the title screen. Thankfully, it worked just fine with my keyboard, but I found this situation a bit odd.

Story

Some of the tables have small chunks of dialogue, such as the Dracula board, where he proclaims you’ll be his pawn. However, these are the closest thing to any kind of background or plot for these pinball tables. I wouldn’t expect an actual story though. Even the Sonic pinball title barely had a story, so this isn’t a problem.

Visuals

A large factor in the design of the pinball table is the theme it’s built around. Frequently, they’ll use a popular movie or TV series as the basis, as I’ve seen ones like the Addams Family, Terminator, and Star Trek. I wouldn’t expect a smaller developer to acquire licenses like that, but some of the designs aren’t nearly as strong as others. My least favorite would have to be the aliens table, as it’s not that exciting, and kind of ugly. The dream theme is also a bit off-putting to me. Alternatively, I quite enjoyed the casino and ocean tables. With different preferences in mind, I think the range of choices would cover most people’s taste, as you’re likely to find at least a couple you enjoy.

Sound Design

I wouldn’t want my ears blown off by blaring sirens, deafening ricochets, or numbers flipping over. Nonetheless, the sound design in the game could use more life. Certain actions do trigger sound effects and voice clips, but I think it could be better balanced. The main problem is that the most prominent noise is the sound of the flippers each time I flick them, as few sound effects compete with its volume. It just seems odd that the spectacle of racking up several points isn’t more attention-getting than paddles being flipped. Adding to this problem with the audio balancing, there’s unique background music for the different tables, but you can’t really hear it over the sounds of the machine.

Pros

🌟 If you’re quite fond of pinball, I think this does a good job offering you that experience. Ironically though, if you were a fan of specific real-life tables, this doesn’t have that content.
🌟 Some pinball machines have abused flashing lights, so I’m thankful that nothing irritates my eyes while I’m playing Slot Shots Pinball.

Cons

❌ Some interactions could be more energetic and engaging, to really hype you up for getting things in motion for big points. For instance, each time you bump up to the next point multiplier.
❌ It has odd issues working with controllers.

Tips

🔍 Unless the ball is coming straight down towards the hole, you can almost always hit it with the flippers. Always make an attempt to smack it, as the hit box is fairly generous.
🔍 You can employ different techniques, such as holding the paddle up, keeping the ball still, then letting it go so it slides down slowly, in order to aim your shot.
🔍 The ball can shoot downwards much faster than you might expect. If you can’t see it, be prepared for it to plummet out of nowhere.

Final Thoughts

After looking at the game more closely, I observed a simple issue or two. One is that the upper left screen indicates different events or triggers that take place, such as how you should start hitting targets now that they’ve been activated. That’s not a great location for information though, especially since it doesn’t last long, because you don’t want to take your eyes off the table, let alone to check a screen in case it has usual information. If I were to redo it, I’d put a checklist of targets or tasks to aim for, that would update based on different events the player set off. Then it’d always be available to check quickly. The section in the middle showing things you’ve accomplished works well in that sense.

My other issue is how the game could add more dynamic effects to make things much more exciting. When the player does an amazing move, thematically appropriate things could happen, that wouldn’t be possible in a real pinball table. Ghosts wailing as they fly around the screen, King Arthur toasting you while offering the hand of the princess, etc. Short cutscenes could liven up the action, in ways that’d really take advantage of this digital medium. Having said that, between all the tables, I found a few that entertained me decently. If I ever get an urge to play some pinball, I know this game would be available for that interest. The developer has released occasional updates, and shows ongoing interest in this title. I would certainly recommend this game, especially if you’re a pinball fan.

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