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May 24, 2008

Review: Dream Pinball 3D for the Nintendo DS

Dream Pinball 3D
South Peak Games, Zuxxez Entertainment AG, TopWare Interactive
Available for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii

South Peak games has brought the fun of the pinball machine to your Nintendo DS in their newest title, Dream Pinball 3D. Dream Pinball 3D offers a trip down memory lane (or a history lesson, depending on who’s playing) to the days before home consoles and giant, interactive arcade games, when pinball tables ruled the arcades and kids would pump quarters into them for endless hours at a time.

Players get to choose from 6 different themed tables: Monsters, Aquatic, Dino Wars, Knight Tournament, Amber Moon and Spinning Rotors; each has their own music, sounds effects and table layouts. Each table can be played through classic mode, which allows for just normal play, or mission mode, which allows you to pick certain challenges you must meet on the table like extra ball or super combo.

Head to Head is also available but you have to find another person that also owns the game, then you can connect via local wireless connection and choose the table, the difficulty and the mode.

During game play, you can view your pinball table on one screen, while your table back and score is visible on the other. While you can choose which screen each one shows on in the options menu, real pinball fans will probably go with the traditional method and have the table on the bottom DS screen.

Controls on the game are all button based and with only the top shoulder buttons and the A button to use, the game is pretty simple for any one to pick up immediately. I was pretty happy with the table physics, because the table flippers react in time with your button pushing and the ball movements are pretty spot on. Some pinball games tend to miss on these points and no one likes a pinball game that cheats you on a life-like experience.

Options in the game allow you to customise the pinball game somewhat to your liking by allowing you to change things like the difficulty and the camera angles. The camera angles on your table are limited to two different ones you get to pre-program into the options before you start playing a table and you can’t tell what the angles are at first until you set them and use them in game.

Each table is shown in 3D form and when shown up close during game play, the graphics look clean and pretty sharp, but pull the camera back and the graphics suddenly look blocky and messy. Players will be happy to see the table animations to respond in time with the sound effects and the ball movements though. Tilts flash when they should and bumpers bump when they’re bumped.

Sounds in the game are created to fit along side each themed table they appear on and while they all were clear and appropriate for their tables, it seems like some sounds were getting cut off by other sounds. You figure the developers would have set the sounds to overlap each other, rather than cut each other off. Each tables had voiceovers to fit along side the themes too and they were pretty cool. The voice over really added to the creepy Monsters table.

Dream Pinball 3D, while not a bad game to sit down a play on your lunch hour, it’s not really anything to write home about either. It does its job as a pinball game and that’s about it. No flash, no bonus, just pinball. So, if you want something to fill some time during your break and you like pinball games, then this might be the game for you.

Rating 6 out of 10
Rent it

[Note: This footage is from the Wii version of the game]

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