Game Review: Pinball Fantasies (PSP Mini)

I won’t spend time giving you a history of this game or go into too much detail about it. suffice to say that Pinball Fantasties is a sequel to the Amiga classic Pinball Dreams that I’ve reviewed elsewhere on the site. Again, convered by Cowboy Rodeo as part of the Minis range to the PSP and released as a straight port from the Amiga original with no enhancements over the original Amiga game…

As with Pinball Fantasies, there are four tables once again – Partyland (set in a carnival), Speed Devils (a race car themed table), Billion Dollar Gameshow (think the name speaks for itself) and Stones & Bones (another horror table). Surprisingly, although an enhanced version exists that was released for the Amiga 1200 and Amiga CD32 (that used more detailed colourful graphics and CD audio in the case of the CD32 version), Cowboy Rodeo have converted the standard 32-colour version. While it doesn’t affect the game in any way at all, it’s a strange decision especially if they had access to all of the original source data at their disposal. As with Pinball Dreams, the controls are minimal and tables are selected from the same menu system, but more obvious disk based designs this time which I thought was a nice touch as they were a little subtle last time.

As before, this has retained everything from the Amiga version but this time there have been a lot of improvements over the first game in the series. All four tables are much better designed with far more to do on each of them in terms of ramps, bumpers and targets to hit without any of them appearing too cluttered, there are more objectives to try to reach and visually – despite being based on the same Amiga hardware – all look better. All four now feature a simulated dot matrix display for the scores at the top of the screen compared with the previous game which had a basic LED display, which now features various animations and effects for each of the tables.

Those aren’t the only improvements though… the biggest, and most important revolves around the ball physics. I know this is something I talk about a lot when I mention pinball games, but it’s the most critical part of making a pinball game work. While it’s still not perfect, it’s a lot better than Pinball Dreams and this time you really do feel as if you are in control of where the ball is heading. At no point playing this game for the last few years on the PS3, PSP or Vita have I ever noticed any spurious changes in ball speed or direction and it really felt as if they put time and effort into sorting this out and the game is so much better for it.

I have to say that this is a superb port of what was already a great Amiga game and it’s lost nothing in translation. While I could live without Billion Dollar Gameshow as a table and I would have prefered – as I said earlier – for them to have used the enhanced version of the Amiga game, it still stands up well. No, it’s not as good as modern pinball games and isn’t the best option for the Vita but it’s still a good playable game and worth the pocket money for three fun tables (oh, yes, and Billion Dollar Gameshow!). It goes without saying that I don’t really need to recommend this to anyone who used to own an Amiga as you’ve probably already bought this!

Simon Plumbe

At A Glance

  • Title: Pinball Fantasties
  • Publisher: Cowboy Rodeo
  • System: PSP Mini
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Local Multiplayer: Yes
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 5Mb

Vita Player Rating - 07

 

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