Metroid Prime Pinball
Because I donít believe graphics make the difference between good games and bad games, I wonít bother to rate graphics in my reviews unless there are glitches or abnormalities that affect gameplay. In this case, there are no issues of that sort. If you wish to judge the graphics, you are free to look at the screenshots and decide for yourself.
However, I will say that playing a pinball game on two screens was sort of difficult. When the ball moved in between the two screens, the dead zone kept the ball temporarily out of sight, which tested my nerves a bit when the ball was moving real fast and I was trying to make sure I knew where it was going.
I couldn't find too many decent pictures out there on the Internet, so I included a link to a video where you can see the game being played:
Story/Concept (Genre) 3/10
The story here is the same as Metroid Prime on the Gamecube. While Metroid Prime had a good story, the only remnant of it here are some familiar bosses and locations. Basically, if someone who never played Metroid Prime were to play this game, they wouldnít be able to explain the plot to anyone. One of the unique things about the Prime series was the ability to scan enemies, logbooks, and lore documents in order to flesh out the story, and none of that is here.
Metroid actually transitions over to pinball in a great way. The physics in this game work much like a real pinball table, and the inclusion of boss battles and table-specific minigames keep the game refreshing and exciting.
The game centers around Samusís quest to recover 12 artifacts, which will allow her to travel to a special table. Upon successfully completing that table, she will travel to yet another special table where she can take on the final boss and beat the game. Itís pretty simple, but it works. The drawback is that there are only six tables to play on in single player mode, and four of them feature bosses and little else.
Samus fights off enemies with her blaster in this minigame (PAL version).
The controls here are actually pretty decent. The shoulder buttons control the flippers. You can tilt the table by moving your finger across the touch screen, and weapons are mapped to the B, X, and Y buttons. The only drawback is that taking your hand off the DS to use the touch screen can be very risky, but thatís the chance you take when doing something pinball machines werenít designed to do in the first place.
The music in this game should sound very familiar to fans of the Metroid series. The great thing is that it works very well. This game features familiar tunes and sound effects, all of which work for the theme, but it would be nice to hear something fresh at the same time.
Replay Value 5.5/10
Essentially, the only reason someone would play this game after beating it would be to set a higher score. Scores can actually be uploaded to the gameís web site, but the chances of making the top of those lists are slim. Multiplayer adds a bit of replay value to the game, but not nearly enough. The same can be said for Expert Mode, which is unlockable.
Multiplayer mode only allows access to one board, which can only be played in multiplayer. Up to eight can play on one cartridge, but thereís almost no interaction between players. Basically, players compete to be the first to score 100,000 points. This is the only option available for multiplayer.
Fan Service 5/10
Familiar songs, sound effects, bosses, and locales from the Metroid series will keep fans satisfied on many fronts. However, while this is a pinball game, itís still a Metroid game, and one of the most exciting parts of the franchise is the exploration and unique storytelling, none of which is available here. Furthermore, there are no suit or beam upgrades for Samus, and those were always integral components in every Metroid game.
What Makes This Game Great
This game is fun while it lasts. The environments are fresh and colorful, the controls are done well, and itís great to pick up and play when youíre on a plane for a few hours or simply need to kill some time. If you like pinball games, this is one of the better ones out there. Minigames break up the pinball action and allow Samus to fight of swarms of enemies with her blaster or missiles. Boss fights add to the frantic pace of the game, especially when you consider your morph ball has a life meter.
What Could Make This Game Better
This game had plenty of opportunities to be great. While there are six single-player maps, four of them are centered largely around bosses and donít offer as much variety as the other two. Three more maps would have been welcome additions to single-player, along with more suit and beam upgrades.
Multiplayer was also very limited, with only being able to play up to 100,000 points on only one map.
The Bottom Line
This is a fun game worth checking out if youíre a fan of pinball games and are familiar with the Metroid franchise. However, thereís probably not enough here to keep the average Metroid fan entertained for a long time. If you like racking up high scores, this game might be worth looking into. However, I wouldnít spend more than $15 on it.