Review: Pokémon Pinball

Game Boy Color

Rating: 9

February 13, 2006

Pokémon meets a classic genre...Pinball!

Introduction
Welcome to my review of Pokémon Pinball. Released July 31, 1999 (US), this was one of the better games for the Game Boy Color. This was a team effort of Nintendo; Creatures inc.; GAME FREAK inc.; HAL Laboratory, Inc.; and Jupiter Corp.

Gameplay - 9
This is a fun game to play as "pick up and play." It has a save feature to allow powering off when you have to stop somewhere, get off the bus, or get an unexpected phone call. Now, let's get to the game. The ball (or Poke Ball) moves much like a normal pinball on a real machine with a slight slant. The flippers respond nicely to the button presses. The bumpers actually bump the ball. There are 150 Pokémon to catch. This is great entertainment for many, many hours.

Graphics - 8
The graphics are very nice; however, staring at the screen with so few colors may make your eyes extremely tired and blurred when you look away (as with many original Game Boy games on a GBC) with prolonged play. Still, all the Pokémon are designed and rendered well. The boards look very clear and the text is easy to see (at the bottom of the screen), unless in an area where the light source is behind you; then, it's annoying. There is also one other factor in this. The screen is split into two parts on the actual board. When maneuvering around the middle, the screen will flicker to the opposite side. Not very annoying, but still a little difficult until you memorize the board.

Sound Effects - 8
Very nice and realistic. It gives beeps that sound great, giving you the feel that it's a real machine. There is a great "Pika" sound the goes off whenever Pikachu launches your ball. Whenever you unveil a Pokémon's identity to capture it, it makes the classic Red/Blue/Yellow sound effect that Pokémon makes. Not much to say here.

Music - 10
One of the best parts of the game. There is even a Sound Test feature under the Options menu. There are so many great songs, each designed for a different area. Several of the tunes have stereo parts to them, as well. Great job to the sound programmers.

Replayability - 10
Another great part of the game. You can play over and over and over and (you get the point)... There are so many Pokémon to catch. There is all the time it takes to evolve them. Then you can also try to best your scores (999,999,999,950 is the maximum, I believe). The only downside here is that it does get a little boring playing it for extremely long periods of time (like 3 hours), but it's certainly not enough to take a point off.

Extras/Other - 10
This game makes excellent use of the Rumble Pak. Now, it really makes it feel like you are playing a real one (unless you turn rumble off). It goes off every time that you bump a bumper, really boosting the experience. Second, there is also a Key Config option. You can change all in-game buttons any way you desire. Change them to <- and A as the flippers, or A and B, or <- and ->!

Buy? Rent?
It's always best to borrow a game genre you've never played. If you like pinball, Pokémon, or both, this would be a great choice for you. Buy it if you like it.

Finals
Gameplay - 9
Graphics - 8
Sound Effects - 8
Music - 9
Replayability - 10
Extras/Other - 10
Average - 9.3
Final Score - 9

Last Word
Have fun!