Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pinball Fantasies Review - PSP - 8

Game Platform
Pinball Fantasies PSP Mini's

The Good
  • Small File Size
  • Play PSP Vertical/Horizontal
The Bad
  • Vertical Gameplay Not Fully Optimised
  • High Scores Only Available in Main Menu in Vertical Mode
The Average
  • Graphics
  • Music
Pinball Fantasises offers good pinball tables and gameplay for a cheap price and a small file size. It doesn't look like a great modern game, but the old graphics and music still hold hope and don't look out of place on the PSP. The option of playing the game in horizontal or vertical is welcomed, and both play very well. There are some concerns playing vertically, but not enough for it to detract from the gameplay. The loading times are very quick, and the main menu is very simple, however trying to read hi scores does require changing to vertical mode. I don't know how this game holds up In comparison to the other versions of the game, but as a standalone game, it is good and the 4 tables it comes with are different enough from each other not to feel the same.

Full Review.

I have not played the original version of Pinball Fantasies, I have only played it on the PSP. This game was played on the PSP 2000. this game was originally released back in 1992 on the Amiga, whilst this version came to the PSN Mini's on October 1st 2009. this has one of the smallest file sizes out of the Mini's, coming in at around 5.2 MB. Basically this is a pinball game, it comes with four tables which can be played either horizontally on the PSP or Vertically.

The four tables included in this game are Party Land, Speed Devils, Billion Dollar Gameshow, and Stones 'N Bones. The tables are very different from each other, in terms of gamplay, artwork, and the way you score points. In the main menu, each of these tables is represented by a old floppy disk, but to find out the top scores for each table you have to switch the game to vertical mode and wait a little bit for the scores to load. This main menu is simple and straight to the point. Credits to run across a ticker near the top, but they are not intrusive, and the help button is clearly marked.

Whilst the main menu and tables can be changed to vertical, the help menu cannot, and even in landscape it looks very cluttered and the words are fairly small. Breaking it up into two pages, in game controls and menu controls may have helped this, but the controls are fairly obvious. The only strange control, which if you do not read the instructions, is how you quit a table. You have to hit right twice, in landscape, or up (which turns into right) with the PSP vertical.

A great addition to the game is being able to play a table with the PSP vertical. When its set to horizontal, you get black bars either side of the table and it only takes up around ¾ of the screen. When its vertical, the whole screen is used to show the table. In this mode you do not see the whole table, so the camera follows the ball smartly to show the rest of the table. There is one issue with this mode though. When you play horizontally, the score at the top is clearly seen and easily read. But when its vertical, the camera following the ball means you can't see the whole score, or any information that goes across the score board. This can be an issue on all the tables as you might miss some important information, but its most likely going to be irritating.

I don't know how the graphics hold up or look, in comparison to the previous versions of the title, but on the PSP they are colourful and clear. There does not appear to have been much work done on the graphics for the PSP version. There is not much difference between the graphics when the game is in either horizontal or vertical mode, and the music feels appropriate for each table. However the music does feel dated, in comparison to what music the PSP can do, and like the graphics it hasn't been enhanced much for the PSP.

The loading times for each table are pretty instant. The only main loading time in the game is when you click the Pinball Fantasies icon on the XMB. The game appears to auto save when you quit a table and is not obtrusive. There are no options, no ability to turn off auto save or tilt, but to be honest it is not missed. The file size and quick loading all help make the game be a good pick up and play game, and whilst it has a couple of little issues, as a whole they don't really detract from the game itself, nor the tables. The addition of the vertical horizontal playing options are very welcomed and both have simple/obvious playing controls. At 5.2 MB, people may argue that £3.99 is expensive, but for 4 very different tables, i'd argue that

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