Metroid Prime Pinball
It took some time to have it arrive at our European shores, the Americans have had it already for a year. But don’t be deceived by its simple pinball-appearance that seems to be painted with some Metroid Prime colors. No, because in truth is that the game is Metroid Prime disguised as a Pinball game. Bare with me for this one.
The one thing that will catch your attention when you first turn on this game is the high Metroid Prime atmosphere. The art style, the sounds and music, the pinball areas designed after Metroid Prime levels, the end bosses (in a pinball game, end bosses?). The makers wanted this to feel Metroid Prime-like and they did a very good job at that.
But these cosmetic properties could be too easily falsely acknowledged as the makers taking a pinball game and dipping it in some very thick Metroid sauce. No, there is logic in their madness (unlike mine).
In Metroid Prime Pinball you play as Samus Aran who’s stuck in her morphball-mode for 95% of the time, the other 5% represents her battlemode where you have to blast dozens of critters as a kind of mini-game. The game lets you choose between multi-missions and a single-mission mode. In multi-mission you have to collect a certain number of artifacts while traversing all the pinball areas for you to arrive at the final part where you fight your endboss. The pinball areas you cleared in the multi-missions will then be playable in the single mission mode. There the goal is to play through one area and gather as much points as possible or clear it as fast as possible (some areas are cleared by defeating an end boss).
Every pinball area has its distinct design, look and enemies. But all of them are littered with classical pinball mechanics like jackpots, bonus buttons and surprise modes to flipper trough. In this manner you can win yourself some extra balls, or a force field that stops you from falling into the gutter. The game combines these classic mechanics with some Metroid ones like the mentioned end bosses, popping up enemies, a battle mode, rockets and bombs. Samus Aran also doesn’t act as your typical pinball. She also has a life meter. If you get hit by enemy attacks a lot you will also lose a ball, but this rarely happens since defeated enemies release energy that you can pick up to regain health.
The pinballing itself works very well and accurate as do the flippers and Samus-ball’s movements. As added act of realism, the makers added some touch screen control where you shake the pinball-area with your finger. The game itself can become a bit hard and frustrating, especially when an enemy grabs and tosses you straight into the gutter without you being able to do something to prevent it. Not minding that, the game is perfect to kill boredom when on the bus or the toilet for those ten-fifteen minutes. Don’t go expecting an epic game where you can spend hours on a row with, you would be greatly disappointed.
Nintendo also added a free DS Rumble Pack with the game which you put in your GBA-slot of your DS. How does it work? Well, it doesn’t, at all. You hear something vibrating but you can’t feel anything. My advice, leave it out and save some battery power.
In Conclusion: if you’re looking for a fun pinball game to spend some boring ten minute timespans, Metroid Prime Pinball will fill that need perfectly. With its varied areas and added Metroid-inspired gameplay-mechanics to the classical pinball concept.