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Metroid Prime Pinball (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Metroid Prime Pinball on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whilst Japan and the US have had the UK-developed Metroid Prime Pinball since 2005, Europe has only just got its hands on the game. Created by Fuse Games, the British outfit that previously worked with Nintendo on Super Mario Ball for the GBA, the team has worked hard to ensure the standards have been lifted considerably and the tone made more appropriate for the Metroid franchise. But should we all be rushing out to pick it up?

Well, to start things off this is one extremely attractive package. Even today, despite the fact that the title was completed two years ago, it stands out as one of the most impressive DS titles in terms of both audio and visual aspects. There are plenty of tunes from past Metroid games, with the focus clearly being on the Prime series. All the tunes that added so much atmosphere to the GameCube games have the same effect here, and mixed in with the assorted sound effects and plentiful supply of decent quality voice-overs it really does shine. On top of this, the graphics are very dark and brooding, setting the mood perfectly, with so much action going on around the two screens with Metroids floating about, balls flying all over, other alien beings generally popping up to hinder your progress and, of course, huge boss characters that look fantastic!

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Pinball on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game exudes such a sense of foreboding throughout and throws so much action at you that you sometimes forget you are merely playing a pinball title and feel as if you have been absorbed into a full-blown adventure game, complete with numerous missions. The basic premise is that Samus Aran of the Metroid series is constantly in her Morph Ball state and is flipped around various locations from the Metroid universe as you aim to gain as many points as possible and defeat the evil threat that is currently at large. Locations will be extremely familiar to fans of the Prime duo of games from the GameCube, with the likes of the Tallon Overworld and Pirate Frigate being the opening tables on show.

To start with you can either choose from Single- or Multi-Mission, the former being the chance to tackle separate tables for practice, whilst the later is the meat of the game. This is where you start with a couple of tables and must work your way through the mission, which involves collecting numerous artefacts by completing certain tasks or uncovering secrets around each table before being able to progress to new sections of the Metroid world and, eventually, tackle to big bosses! The game is controlled by using the L and R shoulder buttons to act as the left and right on-screen flippers, flinging Samus around the authentically replicated Prime locations, as well as shaking the table simply by dragging your finger quickly across the bottom of the screen (if necessary when the ball looks to be rolling out of play).

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Pinball on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are the usual pinball aspects to be found, with bumpers and switches to hit, ramps to go flying around and special targets to aim for. However, Fuse has mixed in action sections, such as having Samus roll into the middle of the screen and revert to her standing form ready to shoot down with her arm cannon hordes of creatures that come flying at her. These sequences really help to break things up, as do the mini-games like having to aim the Morph Ball at bugs or Metroids that litter the stage (hitting them repeatedly to kill them) or even a special Wall Jump section where you must hit L and R at the right times to bounce up to the top of a stage and collect whatever is there. In completing these various objectives you generally receive another artefact (sometimes you get an Extra Ball or other goodies, such as more bonus points or force fields that prevent the ball from going between the flippers into the gutter) and once enough have been collected you are given the chance to move onto another area.

After moving onto a new section you are faced with smashing into a glass container, which houses special items like Missiles or Power Bombs (which are placed onto various face buttons and can definitely help finish off enemies quickly in tricky situations), but that is not all as suddenly a large boss (such as the Omega Pirate and Meta Ridley) will normally appear from out of nowhere. To beat most boss characters it is a case of flipping at them as hard as possible when their defences are down until their energy is depleted, but the final boss is particularly clever in how you defeat it (no spoilers here, work it out for yourself!). Overall, the game has such variety that the experience is not only extremely exhilarating, but also thoroughly good fun to play through repeatedly. Fuse has indeed crafted a very good pinball adventure…

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Pinball on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whilst there may only be six tables on offer, some of which are very small in size, the amount of sub-quests within each table, the idea of having to collect numerous artefacts and the whole 'beat your highest points score' idea means that Metroid Prime Pinball lasts much longer than you might expect. For one thing it is quite hard to begin with, so unless you are a veteran pinball wizard then you will be losing balls left, right and centre. Then there is the fact that each 'ball' can die if hit often enough by enemies around the table. Plus once the game HAS been completed once, each table opens up separately for play in Single Mission and there is an Expert Mode that becomes unlocked, as well as four-player local wireless. As far as pinball games go, other than the lack of an online feature, this is pretty damn good value.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Pinball on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Two vertical screens are indeed better than just one and there are no problems with the gap between them. Control-wise everything works perfectly and the physics implemented make this more realistic than Super Mario Ball.


Truly impressive, especially considering this was actually completed so early on in the DS' lifetime. The perfect atmosphere is created, lots of action and massive bosses!


The Metroid Prime themes we have come to know and love are featured in abundance here, complete with great voice-overs and sound effects that all set the mood nicely.


Whilst there are only six tables and a lack of online content, local wireless play, the requirement of collecting artefacts, plus the general desire to beat high scores keep you coming back.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

By far the most impressive pinball game to grace the Nintendo DS so far. Fuse has really lifted the bar since Super Mario Ball and fans of the genre will surely have little to complain about. It may have been severely delayed in Europe, but if you have not dived in yet, be sure to check it out now...

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Nice review. Excellent game, I've had it since around its US launch, my only complaint really is the touch screen being used for tilting - very awkward.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thanks :Smilie The game's so much fun...only played it properly for the first time last week! I've not used the Rumble Pak, but it's a nice free addition to the package, I suppose.

Fuse must be doing something new by now...I've just submitted a bunch of Qs to Nintendo, so hopefully they'll get turned around quickly :-D

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Nice one raz.

I too have owned this since it's US release and am still enjoying it. Granted it is not the longest game in the world, but as you rightly pointed out there is this burning desire to keep coming back again and again.

What really did it for me was the music. I did not expect it to sound so great, and coupled up with the voiceovers it truly is a pleasure to listen to.

I need a new incentive to start playing it again though, so perhaps some sort of

King of the 'League of Kings'||My deviantART|| My Photography
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

On my best run, which saw me get through the entire game in one sitting (mostly by luck, I reckon!), I totalled over 25 million points...but then grew tired of having to play through it all again just on a harder level (my nerves couldn't take any more! :lol:Smilie.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The Rumble Pak is alright, but it's more of a 'buzz pak' than anything else! Still, at least it's free. :Smilie

ONM said that the European version does not come with a rumble pack. Bummer.

-Have you any idea what it's like to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?
Senior ModeratorStaff Member
Image for

^ Seems once again NOM is wrong ^

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

hahaha its about damn time you guys got that. I'v had it for a year and a half.

I Rule.
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

To be honest, despite the delay I would have thought it would at least crack the Top 30 DS chart here in the UK, especially after Metroid Prime Hunters did so well last year.

But then again Wario Master of Disguise didn't chart in its first week and leaped up the next week...Hopefully that'll be the case for both this and Kirby Mouse Attack! Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Great review Adam.

I was going to get this back in the day, but due to the huge delay, I kinda forgot about it.

It still sounds quite good and looks good as well, but I'll probably get it some over time, now.

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