3D Pinball Express is a simulation game of a standard pinball table that one would find in the classic arcades. It is by COSMI and it features several different tables in this single download. The user has a choice of themes ranging from the Big Top Circus and the Happy Kitchen to environments a little bit more radical, such as Incoming and Terrormeister. Each of these four basic themes contains three different table layouts.
As with any pinball simulation game, 3D Pinball Express hopes to accurately copy the elements of an actual gaming table. From the different table aspects, such as flags and ramps, to the metallic look and movement of the ball, most pinball games go out of their way to make the user feel like he is standing in front of behemoth machine and preparing to pull that plunger. 3D Pinball Express does a mixed job of this.
The gaming tables are good. Each table design is unique, colorful, and has many fun challenges the user must master to attain the ultimate high score. The game has different lighting bumpers, flags, ramps, chutes and the effervescent worm holes. There are tunnels, drop targets and jack pots to be won if the user can successfully complete the appropriate sequences of striking or navigating through all of the above. As the gamer jukes and jives, following the ball’s movement around the table, there are a variety of cool tunes playing in the background. As in most pinball games, arcade or computer, there is a scrolling marquee that serves to narrate the user’s accomplishments and provide hints as to what the user should be doing to gain more points.
Unfortunately, despite the potential with the gaming tables, the game play itself is not as nice. The ball movement is unrealistic and seems to bounce around wherever it pleases with no attention to physics at all. The angles of play are off and the flipper control is slow and also makes targeting difficult, if not impossible because of the lack of physics. It is possible to tilt the game, but this seems to be a random occurrence. Sometimes the gamer can slam the table into near oblivion without causing a tilt, while the next time a little over-excited nudge will cause a tilt.
Overall, 3D Pinball Express is the greatest pinball game available in the shareware market. The ball physics may drive you nuts, but if you are a real pinball enthusiast or a collector, you will probably still find plenty to love about 3D Pinball Express.
Written by: ~Shannon