Flipnic: Ultimate Pinball
Reviewed by Dan Clarke on
Capcom's Flipnic Ultimate Pinball tries to go 'outside the box' for pinball games. It is a very unusual pinball game that attempts something different, but unfortunately, it just doesn't work out.
Video pinball has been around for a long time. Back in the Atari 2600 era, there was a game called - wait for it - Video Pinball. Although it was pretty simplistic it was a lot of fun. Since then, there have been many pinball games for the PC and consoles; there's even been a NASCAR pinball game.
The gold standard of pinball games has been Empire Interactive's series for the PC - Pro Pinball The Web for example: it recreated an arcade pinball machine. Capcom's Flipnic Ultimate Pinball tries to go 'outside the box' for pinball games. It is a very unusual pinball game that attempts something different, but unfortunately, it just doesn't work out.
The game is divided into a four different tables: biology, metallurgy, optics and geometry. Each table has multiple zones. For example, the biology table has five different zones. The zones have mini missions, which usually means 'get all the targets' or 'hit the big tree. Sometimes there are serious consequences for not finishing the mini mission - especially the UFO. If you don't get the UFO, it captures the ball and you lose your turn.
The default controls are the circle button for the right flipper and the left arrow on the d-pad for the left flipper. You can use the L1 and R1 buttons to nudge the table. Unlike traditional pinball, you will have use the nudge buttons in order to 'jump' the ball up to get coins. Yes, it's part Mario. Get enough coins and you'll see 'special' UFOs that can give you an extra ball or an extra credit.
Don't worry, it's not all pinball - there are also puzzle like challenges. For example, at the beginning of the first level, you'll have to hit all the bumpers labeled with an arrow. The catch is there are no flippers to get the ball up - instead your flipper buttons control raising and lowering the bumpers. By raising and lowering them, you'll be able to move the ball around. Sounds like an interesting idea, but it's implemented in such a way that it's not very fun at all.
The 'safety' bumpers - ones that stop a ball from going down the center of the table or side ramps ending your turn - also are controlled by the flippers. One wrong button press and the safety bumper disappears, so be very careful about your flipping.
Every 'zone' has a path that leads to another zone. The 3D effects of the ball rolling around are impressive and the mini games in the zones are interesting. For example, you can freeze out an area, then break the ice to open another zone. There are slot machines that are stopped by hitting the bumpers. Your 'jackpot' is unlocking another zone.
A real pinball game is usually a frenetic, reflex game that requires some strategy. It also requires a lot of concentration. The problem with Flipnic is that every time you enter a new zone for finish a mission, there's a cut scene. To paraphrase Tom Hanks, "There's no cut scenes in pinball!"
For example, when you start multiball, a regular pinball game may give you 2 or 3 seconds to get ready for the balls shooting out from all directions. In Flipnic, you'll see balls drop from a tree and a woman telling you to enjoy your multiball and have a great time. Sorry, but this isn't a ride.
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!