Saturday, March 23

Review: Pinball FX3 - Williams Pinball Pack 3 [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Great news silverball fans, the folks behind Pinball FX3 have lovingly converted another trio of classic Williams tables for you to enjoy. This time we have the high-scoring of Theater of Magic, the rigorous training and brawling of Championship Pub, and the very different Safe Cracker to check out. How does this collection stand up to the outstanding entries before it?


Starting from the top we have Theater of Magic, a table that shouldn’t need any introduction. This mode-heavy table is well-regarded for its fun, generally high-scoring, and accessible play for good reason. Getting your locks and triggering multiball continues to be fun in digital form and each of the modes demanding you nail specific shots helps to provide an element of challenge as well. While I initially liked the added enhancements it wasn’t until I turned them off for a round that I came to really appreciate how well everything flows and works when they’re on, sort of bringing the action together a little more fully. It’s absolutely a terrific conversion of a classic table that should be fun for everyone.


Moving over to a sweaty gym we have the boxing and brawling pin, Championship Pub. Here the central focus is alternatively a heavy bag and a boxer representing the opponents you will face as you try to climb the rankings. While the look of the enhanced boxer initially doesn’t seem to be so different than the well-made prop on the original table the added movements and personality that have been imbued in him really help the table come to life. A focused view on the jump rope and speed bag mini-games also greatly improve the experience while in enhanced mode, all making it easy to see as a preferred way to play. While not as flashy as Theater of Magic it is certainly fun.


The last piece of the puzzle for this edition is Safe Cracker, the table I’m least familiar with but thanks to the enhancements quickly won me over. The playfield is a bit smaller and less elaborate but it’s the board game-esque break in element that sets the game apart. As you try to carefully make your way into the bank you’ll try not to trip the alarms while staying ahead of the guard in pursuit. Even better, once you collect some tokens you’ll then be able to play the game in the multi-ball-only Assault on the Vault mode where you’ll work against the clock to score as many points as you can. Among the more unique offshoot style pinballs I’ve played, it’s really quite a lot of fun.


While none of the tables may quite be at the same hype level as the likes of the marquee tables from the previous packs I’d argue that the overall value proposition with its 3 strong offerings more than makes up for that. While I wouldn’t say any of the previous packs have had outright “bad” tables I don’t think to this point any pack has felt as balanced in overall quality, diversity of play, and fun as this one. Come for Theater of Magic, but stay for the other 2 lesser-known but still great tables.

Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • All 3 of the packs entries have distinct style and play
  • Across the board the enhancements for the tables provide more than just visual flourish, they improve the play experience
  • I love the unique Assault on the Vault mode in Safe Cracker

Cons:
  • While all of the tables are great Theater of Magic doesn’t have quite the star power of Attack on Mars or Medieval Madness
  • An occasional performance hitch when things get intense