The Pinball Wizard (PC) Review
Michael P Cleworth
A fresh approach to gameplay
Fun and addictive
Value for money
Little replay value
The Pinball Wizard is a fun and addictive collision of the recently popular dungeon-crawler genre and the age-old classic pinball games. Developed by Frost Games, this pleasantly surprising hybrid was originally released as an iOS game but, due to popular demand, has now branched out to Steam and the Nintendo Switch.
The Pinball Wizard – Storyline
Not to be confused with the blind kid that ‘sure plays a mean pinball’, The Pinball Wizard puts you into the shoes of another champion – this one a would-be champion of a magical pinball world.
Crafted by wizards in times of yore, ‘The Eye’ has safely sat upon its tower for centuries; keeping the forces of chaos at bay and the citizens safe. However, the test of time proves too much for the ancient tower and the inevitable eventually transpires. When the tower crumbles, ‘The Eye’ topples off its plinth, casting the magical world into an order of chaos, and a nightmarish reign of terror is bestowed upon the innocent.
Though many have ventured out to traverse the tower and restore order, none have succeeded – or even returned from their heroic journeys. Enter, you, an apprentice wizard and hopeful champion. The fate of the world rests on your shoulders, as you gallantly venture out to reach the top of the tower and set ‘The Eye’ atop its – evidently structurally unsound – plinth and bring peace and harmony back to the fantastical lands.
The Pinball Wizard – Gameplay
As earlier mentioned, The Pinball Wizard is a clashing of two genres. With roguelike dungeon crawlers currently on the hot list, the game will hold appeal aplenty among the masses of fans of these fun and addictive games. Furthermore, The Pinball Wizard also treats us to a prevalent pinball element that will undoubtedly draw in those that love the timeless game.
Quite surprisingly, Frosty Games has managed to perfectly balance both sides of the game in a delicious genre soup, generously garnished with croutons of fun and addiction.
In The Pinball Wizard, you are the ball. Using your rounded head to mimic ball-like physics, you need to defeat enemies by propelling yourself into them using pinball-style flippers and bumpers. Colliding with enemies when they’re flashing orange will damage your health, so perfect timing is often called upon when attempting some of the more difficult levels. Health can be restored by defeating enemies, using bumpers emblazoned with hearts, or through the mini-game at the end of every level. The mini-game requires you to navigate the ball (yourself) through an open door.
At times, we really did feel the pressure as the timer ticked down, slowly diminishing the much-needed health rewarded on completion of the level. When the timer reaches zero, you are automatically sent to the next floor but missing out on these mini-games can seriously impede your progress.
Overall, there are a total of 23 floors. While these offer ample entertainment for around five hours or so (in our case), they seem to be a flash in the pan when you eventually reach your end goal. Luckily, The Pinball Wizard is host to two additional modes. One, in which you traverse one of two endless dungeons, and another that offers a randomly generated map every day. However, once the main story is completed, the game does start to lose its replay value.
The Pinball Wizard – Summary
With its minimalistic approach and cutesy cartoon graphics, The Pinball Wizard is very easy on the eye. Backed up with a decent story and fresh, innovative gameplay, the game is full of fun surprises that will keep you hooked during the short-lived base mode, but sadly, there was little replay value beyond the main campaign.
For a quick fix of fun and addiction (the good kind), however, The Pinball Wizard is more than worth the $7.99 price tag.