Time for another guest game review from semi-regular reviewer, Dave Corn. He told me that he likes pinball games, so when Pinball Freedom came up for review, I just knew I had to get Dave to give it his honest opinion.
“Grab your walk-man, and take a trip to your favourite arcade with our classic retro Pinball machines.
Go Back to the Future with our Sci-fi table or indulge in a tale as old as time with our Fairytale themed machine. With our first-person, single-player simulation you’re encouraged to channel your 90s kid as you compete to make it to the top of the leaderboard. With five uniquely-themed distinct tables, get in on the action!”
This game is pretty bizarre. Developed by CGA Studio Games. Just from the title screen on Switch, the pink ‘n bubbly font makes it look like a child’s mobile game and it doesn’t do much to subdue that feeling, even after you hit start.
All of this studio’s games appear to be indie/mini or mobile games, so I kind of expected a certain level of ‘quality’ going into this (prejudging I know). The game loads and you are inside the entrance of a small pinball arcade with a very 80s feel, complete with litter and empty drink cups with straws poking out, left on the sides. There’s a big chalk scoreboard on the wall which never seemed to change whilst I was playing any of the games and a gumball machine which also seems to do nothing. In the pinball arcade, when you first walk in and look around, you see the five pinball tables but what draws your eye first is the air hockey table… and it works too. You can play air hockey against the CPU and it is actually really good fun. Simple and basic stuff sure, but it plays better than some of the pinball tables that are supposed to be the star attraction.
So anyway, there are five pinball tables, all original designs for this game and not very inspired at all. The first table I played was ‘BMX’. This one seemed to take the approach of ‘if this table doesn’t bore you to death, then the music will annoy you to the point where you give up’. I played for a while but really wanted to move on. Table number two was called ‘Skate’. This was more ‘entertaining’ at least. The music was a bit more funk and far less irritating than the last table. But as with nearly all the tables here, there aren’t really any bonus features to write about. From the instant that you pull that lever back and the ball is live, that’s really all you get.
It’s pretty much the same story with the third table, ‘Panda Ball’. Very chilled out music but no extra features to speak of. The last two tables seemed to have had a bit more thought put into them tough. The fourth table, Biohazard, has an objective for bonus points that you can activate by hitting certain points in order. I played it a few times and still couldn’t work out exactly what needed to be done though.
Then there was the last and fifth table, which was a ‘Fairy Tale/Beauty & The Beast’ styled thing. The music is definitely much more fitting for the theme and the table even had a second mini-table at the top. This feature alone made it my favourite of the five as it was the most interesting to play. The tables here really are bare-bones but it is a complete game, I guess. You get five tables and an air hockey game… that you’ll most probably enjoy more than the pinball itself.
For me, as a pinball fan, this feels very cheap, very rushed and there’s no real care or attention put into the tables. The good news is that there are no in-app purchases. There’s no sign of churning out a game in the hopes of a quick money grab via some DLC. But it all just feels a bit sloppy. To sum it all up, this game should be avoided. Pinball Freedom is boring, poorly made and rushed out tat. It’ll sit in your game library after you played it once and you’ll delete it when you have to free up some storage space on your hard drive. In fact, don’t waste your money on this, go and play some Marvel Pinball 3D instead.