If you have vivid memories of heading down to the arcade to get in a few hours of pinball after school before dinner, Pinball HD for iPhone ($1.99) and iPad ($2.99) is your 2010 tech toy equivalent.
The basics for any good iOS game are all there--great graphics, smooth and addicting gameplay, and easy controls. Pinball HD does all three well adding the element of nostalgia to make it a nice addition to your gaming repertoire. The killer feature is the pan and zoom ball-tracking camera in portrait mode, while landscape mode allows you to see the entire table.
Players can choose from three themed tables, each with unique characteristics. The Wild West has train track pathways and Joe's tavern (an aptly named establishment if I do say so myself), as well as a shot at killing Dirty Harry.
The Deep features a space-aged submarine adventure that includes special missions and a sassy female navigator that reminds you not to flirt with her because she's just a computer program.
Finally, Jungle Style looks like King Kong, Indiana Jones, and the set from ABC's Lost all got together to make a pinball table, complete with rickety tracks, bongo drum bumpers, and a mysterious ancient puzzle to solve.
Really the only knock on Pinball HD is that I wish there was more. The tables, while excellently designed, are quite basic in functionality and don't offer much to unlock. There are storylines involved with each, but the gameplay doesn't really lend itself to following them. It seems to be easy enough to just keep your ball alive until you've activated all the bonus points and hidden features.
Pinball HD for iPhone and iPad won an Apple Design Award for 2010 and it's easy to see why. With improved table play and more robust functionality, Pinball HD could very well be my favorite game on iPhone/iPad. For now, tables aren't exciting enough in the long term, despite interesting possibilities in the storylines.
Added excitement on the table level would launch this game into the stratosphere. But, if you're a longtime lover of pinball, you absolutely can't go wrong dropping a couple bucks on this game. If updates continue to improve on this base, Pinball HD should be a big time franchise for years to come on the iOS platform.
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