Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Pinball FX3 [Universal Classics Pack] [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Until the Marvel and Star Wars table packs hit the Nintendo Switch version of Pinball FX3 I’d say the most eye-catching pack in the bunch would be their new Universal tables. Based off of the massive blockbusters E.T., JAWS, and Back to the Future, these are very much licenses that people of all ages can likely appreciate. The great news is that, as a pack, they represent wildly different table play and are very well-utilized, possibly making this the table pack to beat among those currently available.


Starting with what I’d consider the middle of the road, though still quite exceptional, E.T. table. It’s a very combo-heavy table with a pretty open area in the middle but 4 flippers and a load of ramps they can hit at the top. With a number both on-table and mini table sequences based on scenes from the movie it does a fairly good job of repurposing its content in a way that makes sense. Overall it has pretty great flow and is fun if you like hitting the ramps to build up your score.


In the middle of things is the JAWS table and, among those in the pack, I’d say it is the weakest though fans of older and more traditional tables may disagree. The skill shot makes nice use of the shark fin coming up through the water and obviously Quint is very present, but overall I was a bit underwhelmed with the use of the movie’s main character as when it’s seen it’s somewhat in the back and not front and center. It’s modes are primarily traditional ones, though the table does go through some changes and the lighting is dropped for a flashlight mode that’s a nice touch. Not a bad table but against the other 2, aside from providing some variety, I’d say it is the least exciting.


Bringing up the rear is probably one of my favorite Pinball FX tables I’ve played, Back to the Future. Aside from it being a terrific license the bells and whistles they’ve put into this table really show off what the imaginative possibilities are for the engine and demonstrate the experiences made possible only through virtual tables. You’ll start by selecting which era you’d like to play in and though the general layout of the table will remain the same depending on which time you choose there are special objectives available for each and it’s great to try them all out. Truly, once you get going there are some crazy possibilities, like stacking up more than one multiball mode to really make the action on the table intense. Visuals like balls that leave flaming trails in some modes look incredible and make fabulous use of everything the movies have to offer.


As a whole I’m really impressed by this pack as it features 3 iconic movies, makes impressive use of the elements they offer, and every table has a very different style. This means that no matter what era or type of pinball you prefer there’s likely something here for you, and if you just love pinball in general there’s pretty well nothing but good news. Until the rest of Zen’s library shows up I’d say this is the pack to beat on the Switch currently.


Score: 9

Pros:
  • Makes excellent overall use of all 3 timeless movies
  • Features table designs and play styles that are distinct from one another
  • The Back to the Future table is among the best on the Pinball FX engine

Cons:
  • The JAWS table probably makes the weakest use of the license, with “Bruce” generally out of the way and not scary at all