Pinball FX2

I looked at this app during the beta testing of Windows 8 but it was not fully complete. It is complete now, although at this time I haven’t purchased any extra tables so just the view of the free table it comes with.

Pinball FX2 – choose table screen

The main screen provides a concise look at the apps features on one screen, no right-clicking or scrolling needed. I do find it odd that the buttons and account info are across the bottom since other games from Microsoft it is at the top. Any table you currently have will be in color and the rest available are showing in black & white. For the selected table you can see a description, local scores (only those on current pc), Pinball King (how you compare to friends), Challenge (to challenge friends) and various leaderboards, all local. It does use an Xbox Live account and has achievements, though you can use it without a Live account, you don’t need an Xbox 360 to have an account.

Pinball FX2 – controls

I like the high-quality look at controls for keyboard, Xbox 360 controller and touch. You can easily change keys for each control by clicking on it in the list. It will cycle through some pre-set choices. I do not have an adapter to use the controller as I would prefer using it. I hope to get an adapter soon for future reviews. It is perfectly usable with the keyboard as there are not a lot of controls (personally I struggle with too many keys for games). There is a How to Play section that illustrates the basics of the app and how it mimics real pinball. I didn’t like how that section was setup as I couldn’t figure out how to scroll, you had to use the arrow keys (not normal for a scrolling section).

Pinball FX2 – Mars Table with Shuttle

I have played my share of pinball machines in the arcade and I couldn’t classify myself as anywhere near an expert. You’ll find more razzle dazzle for sure here than in your average pinball machine. I am not used to a “story” and I certainly can’t follow the on-screen prompts. Maybe I’m too old. That isn’t to say it doesn’t do a good job replicating the pinball machines of my youth with added graphical touches, it does. It is quite realistic sounding and feels somewhat real. I do wish the scoring could have been implemented in a better way as it seems just tacked on to the side and rather small.

Pinball FX2 – alternate view

You can cycle through 7 different views of the game table. One view even follows the ball along in extreme close-up. I prefer something a little closer to the way you normally see a pinball table, but at least you get choices. The Camera icon in the upper right allows you to manually zoom in and move around the table to get a better view at each part of it and what it might want you to do. The double vertical bars icon is your typical pause button, which goes to another screen so you can’t study the table. It also provides access to the Table Guide which I didn’t find access to anywhere else. This guide gives specifics on how to “beat” the table, something I definitely can use.

Pinball FX2 – table purchasing

The game provides in-app purchasing of additional tables. I only wish the pricing was more evident. You can’t see the price of a table until you click on it, click Buy, login to your account and then it will show the price. Of course if not even setup with an Xbox Live account or have a payment type attached, you will have even more steps to go through. Each table is $2.99 that I checked (didn’t check them all). There are 18 extra tables for a total just under $54! It might seem like a lot, and it is, but it is very high quality and you’d pay that much for the full game new on an Xbox360. I wish it was a dollar cheaper per table, but if you really enjoy pinball this fits the bill like no other game.

As far as the Charms go, this app does allow sharing your most recent high score and there are a few settings for audio/video but most everything you need is inside the app. The live tile will show your most recent high score and some other scores.

Summary

If you like pinball, this game certainly provides plenty of thrills. I’m not sure I am really into the graphical touches as it makes it more “video-gamey” than resembling a machine, but I am more old school there. The controls work pretty well with the keyboard as I couldn’t try the other methods. I do wish it had a time-limited sample of some other boards or at least trailers, something to give you a clue what the table is like so you knew whether you really wanted to purchase it or not (check Youtube). I hear the Marvel boards are great.

Rating

      Category: Games > Arcade        Download size: 123 MB       Age: No restriction
     Publisher: Microsoft Studios           Price: free [1 table]($2.99 per extra table – 18 total)
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51-yr-old father of 3, work in telemarketing, like computers and technology

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Posted in Apps, Games, Windows 8, XBox Live

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