Flipnic Game For PlayStation 2 Spins Pinball In Odd New Ways
Saturday, July 30, 2005
(AP) - With traditional pinball machines, keeping the silvery ball from rolling out of play is enough of a challenge.
Flipnic: Ultimate Pinball (PlayStation 2, rated E) adds a bizarre, psychedelic mix of new obstacles: Alligators, butterflies and flying saucers join the usual flippers and bumpers.
It's an approachable, family-safe game that even pinball wizards are likely to enjoy - once they adjust to the many changes from the old standup machines.
Case in point: There's no plunger to send the ball launching in Flipnic. You just press a button to get the action in motion.
Success often hinges on having predictive reflexes - the ball moves so fast sometimes, knowing where it is is less important than knowing where it's going to be in another two seconds.
It takes a lot of skill and technique to time and angle shots off the flippers. It's an essential ability, however, if you hope to complete the various missions and advance to higher levels.
In some levels, the flippers are about the only thing resembling pinball.
One board, for example, involves a battle with a silver, shape-shifting creature that shoots energy projectiles that temporarily disable the flippers.
There are several boards on which to play, and all are rendered in crisp, fluid 3-D graphics.
Despite all this seeming variety, the levels felt small. And too much time was spent watching the ball zing from one area of the board to the next instead of actually playing. It's also too easy to get stuck in one area with nothing especially interesting to do.
The accompanying electronic sound track was repetitive and wore on me after a while.
Two and a half stars out of four.