Thursday, February 22

Review: Pinball FX3 [Jurassic Park Table Pack] [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s no question that Jurassic Park is a monumental classic piece of cinema and that its reboot with Jurassic World helped fully rejuvenate thoughts of a world with dinosaurs. While there have been a few attempts to bring the movie to life via physical pinball tables I’ll say that honestly I’m not much of a fan of either the classic Data East or the more recent Sega tables. Entering the fray is now the folks from Zen Studios, looking to do the franchise justice with their new Jurassic Park Pack for Pinball FX3!

Beginning with the most straight-up traditional table in the pack there’s Jurassic Park. Its layout is extremely ramp-heavy and has a third flipper on the right for making a specific ramp shot. The skill shot is particularly tricky, trying to drop the ball like an egg into a moving nest, but with some practice it can be pulled off for a nice bonus. Of course there are modes based on the movie and it features a lot of great sound and voice as well (though not the iconic music). Overall it feels like a throwback table in the spirit of a table that may well have been created at the time. About my only quibble would be with the left trapdoor that I fruitlessly hit often except when Video Mode would enable but then almost immediately disappear. A few things like this and the Locks tended to have an expectation of you immediately making the shot rather than standing, but I suppose that’s a design decision.

The second table, Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem, is far less traditional with a large set piece of a TRex fighting a Stegosaurus to the upper left. Them being there creates a very non-symmetrical design which you may or may not enjoy depending on your tastes. I found that the center shot targets weren’t as useful or interesting as I would have liked but generally the action feels good. Of more interest is how heavily action-oriented the table is, clearly featuring many things that could never be done with a traditional table. These include day and night cycles with some weather effects, the dinos on the field that are consistently moving, and a rescue helicopter that will fly in and then be attacked by the TRex among other things. Probably my favorite table for making the most of the Pinball FX3 engine, it is one of their more unique tables I’ve played.

The last table, based off the most entry in the franchise, Jurassic World, may have the most theming and things going on but it’s also probably my least favorite in the pack. It’s layout is pretty classic with a few ramps, one slightly off-center and one to the right, but then some more unusual features like a loop around the center ramp you can sometimes find yourself in a streak with. Though the table art and the ball save graphic feature Chris Pratt unfortunately the most commonly-heard voice is of the kids at the beginning of each ball, particularly a whiny “I don’t wanna wait anymore”. Once you get some of the modes going things get a bit more interesting, and things like the raptors look quite impressive, but for me there was generally a bit too much dead time with the table without enough happening when compared to the others.

All in all if you’re a big dinosaur fan who loves Jurassic Park and pinball this pack delivers great varied examples of what the Pinball FX3 engine has to offer. The table layouts should probably guarantee that there’s at least one table that tickles your fancy and, in general the theming looks and sounds terrific. While I’d say it can’t quite match the outstanding Universal Pack (though, truthfully, it’s not much can) it is still well worth checking out.

Score: 8

  • Three completely different tables that feature varied flow and play
  • All 3 tables look great and make full use of what the FX3 engine can do
  • Great dino sounds and many often-relevant voice samples

  • While licensing costs no doubt played a role tough not to hear the iconic Jurassic Park score while playing
  • Some quibbles with specific elements on various tables
  • The kids whiny voice on the Jurassic World table… *shiver*

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