08/06/2022

๐Ÿผ Pinball Freedom Switch Review 5/10 "Pinball freedom, but not a dream" ๐Ÿผ @CGAStudioGames #IndieGame #GameDev

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Currently priced at under a fiver on the UK Nintendo eShop, Pinball Freedom by developer CGA Studio Games offers five separate pinball tables as well as an air hockey table, but some foundational issues with the in-game ball physics and flat gameplay detract from the inherent draw of pinball.

Though a low budget title, I found that Pinball Freedom made an initially decent impression with how it approaches the in-game selections; plonking you in in the pinball room of an arcade and allowing you to walk around, approaching each table – or perhaps the high score board – that you wish to play.

It’s a simple but nice idea, enhanced by the distant sounds of the arcade behind you (which suddenly drop to a dead silence after a minute or two). However, the apparent lack of detail is quite immediate, as most games appear to have different on-screen names to the titles illustrated on each pinball backboard, and are:

  • Fairytales / Beauty and the Beast
  • Sci-Fi / Biohazard
  • Chill Panda / Panda Ball
  • Skate
  • BMX

You can select different views on each table, and the controls are as you’d expect – shoulder buttons control the flippers. The in-game sound effects are pretty generic and match whichever table you’ve chosen, for instance, the Beauty and the Beast table has gentle plucked harp tones, whilst the sportier tables feature rock music. The real issue though is with the design and

The ball rarely feels like it’s moving naturally, and especially on the tables with ramps, it moves incredibly quickly down them, giving you barely any time to respond to some flows of the ball. It’s too easy to get the ball in a repetitive scoring loop and, due to the unrealistic movement, ball losses can feel unfair and random.

There is also a problem with all tables feeling flat and samey. There are in-game missions, but they all boil down to effectively knocking down tiles to get a bonus, with most tables only having one plain of play, there’s no building excitement or sense of progress/achievement to be made.

Visually, the game is strongest as the presentation is fine, especially at the low price point - but it would really have benefitted from more flourishes in terms of lights and visual stimulation, as that could have covered up the - quite plodding – tables.


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