Publisher: FarSight Studios
Developer: FarSight Studios
MSRP: Free Download (Table Prices Vary)
Release Date: December 12th, 2017 (Nintendo Switch)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Pinball fans were graced with two games to choose from last week on the Nintendo Switch. On one hand you have Pinball FX3 which brings extravagant tables with effects that you could only pull off in a video game. On the other you have Stern Pinball, a collection of some of Stern’s most popular, and most importantly, real tables that they have created over the years. It makes for a very different style of tables to choose from. If your more a traditionalist, you will be happy to hear that Stern Pinball does a fantastic job transitioning to the hybrid system.
Stern Pinball is a free download that gives you one table to start with. After that you can buy the other ten available tables separately or in bundles. For the launch tables they’ve started with a wide range of choices, from Ghostbusters to AC/DC, Starship Troopers to Star Trek Vengeance. There are a few tables that are honestly forgettable, but it still gives a nice variety of properties and interests to choose from.
What really matters is how well they ported over each table, and to that they did an excellent job. Docked or in handheld mode, I never witnessed any concerning slowdowns. In fact, each table look and run beautifully, which especially the running part can not necessarily be said about Pinball FX3. In comparing the two, its only fair to also point out three features that Stern Pinball missed bringing to the table. There is no option to play vertically in handheld mode which is very disappointing after being able to experience it in its competitor. Second, while it features rumble, it specifically doesn’t featured HD rumble which is another big missed opportunity. The tables are already slightly on the pricey side and these are two features that really could have made them feel like a better value. Finally, there are no online leader boards. The table high scores will certainly be challenging on their own, but it really would have made a big difference to be able to compete against your friends scores.
Beyond complaints on what Stern Pinball could have done, it does everything else just as you would hope, which is playing like the tables actually were in the arcades. They have been faithfully ported over and run perfectly in both docked and handheld mode. You won’t get some of the flashiness that Pinball FX3 has brought to the genre, but if you are looking for real tables and a more authentic play style, look no further than here.