The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 1 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Josh Di Falco 14.04.2019

Review for The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 1 on Nintendo Switch

The Pinball Arcade library continues to grow with the Gottlieb Table Pack 1, with FarSight Studios bringing six new tables to the digital front. These tables come from the Gottlieb pinball library; six original table ideas that are not attached to other entertainment licences. From baseball and car racing simulations, to fighting a three-headed dragon as a gladiator, or traversing through three levels of a haunted house, this pack is filled with some of Gottlieb's more iconic and industry-standard breaking tables that were very innovative for their time.

The first table from this add-on pack is 'Frank Thomas' Big Hurt.' This is a baseball-themed pinball table, where the action centres on guiding a professional baseball player through to winning the World Series. Along the way, the baseball player can make career runs and win Grand Slams before achieving the ultimate glory. Designed by Bill Parker and Jon Norris in 1995, this table features a moving glove contraption at the back of the table, with a 3-lane raising ramp leading to it.

This glove feature is key to setting off some of the big multiball and jackpot sequences; however, the glove can also act as a deterrent, as it tends to have a habit of sending the balls straight down in between the flippers. With a loud, booming announcer's voice narrating proceedings, and the crowd cheering whenever success has been had, it is hard not to like this table. It is one of the easier tables to score big points on for minimal effort, with an extra flipper which is key to securing the table's skill shot, as all the key sequences don't seem to be too difficult to initiate; though of course, the leading scores on the worldwide leaderboards will be won by the most advanced and skilful shots.

Screenshot for The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 1 on Nintendo Switch

However, if there was ever a table that got the heart racing and raised the exhilaration meters to maximum, look no further than Jon Norris' second of three tables in this pack: 'Gladiators.' Designed in 1993, this table focuses on a futuristic gladiator as he combats and attempts to bring down a three-headed dragon. While neither gladiator nor dragon are present on the table, nor is the table filled with models, it is still packed with heaps of features and content. FarSight Studios have brought this digital table to life with strobing colours and a heart-pumping backing track that heightens the excitement of this table. It can be a tough table to reach the high scores on however; getting some free-flowing ball-action requires precise hits, and the double flippers in the upper part of the table are a big "coin toss" to use. They can either be awesome for hitting big scores, but a mistimed ball hit can 'kill' the ball for a straight out.

Jon Norris' third and final table for this pack is 'Lights…Camera…Action!' and it is themed around a director who is trying to complete production of an action movie. Developed in 1989, this table is known for being the first table to feature flood lights on the backboard, having a rotating mini-playfield, ball jets and an interactive lightbox animation. There is a lot of nostalgic value for those who enjoy the cheesy '80s action flicks. The interactive lightbox animation opens proceedings, with a draw-first showdown battle for a chance at a skill shot, before the ball-flowing style of play commences. The aim of this table is to create classic movie scenes, such as the gunfight scene, a stunt scene and a foot chase scene. However, it is easier said than done, as controlling the ball to hit the proper targets to generate big scores is quite a tough task. Though that doesn't detract from the fun of the table, the outlanes are the main issue as the ball does like to head down those lanes quite a bit - so learning when to 'nudge' the table is a key to keeping the ball in play.

Screenshot for The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 1 on Nintendo Switch

What would a Gottlieb pinball table pack be without a table from Ed Krynski? One of the biggest pioneers in pinball innovation has his 'Genie' table from 1979 included in this pack. For those just jumping in without much context, Genie is considered by fans to be one of the better wide-body tables of its time. The wide-body playfield may be a new concept to newer pinball fans, and it can take getting used to. But it was a cool design path to take pinball through to discover some new innovations for where the sport of pinball could go.

Genie, by default has five 'lives' or balls instead of the standard three. It also has five flippers on the table, with two of those flippers situated in the top-left corner where there is a mini-playfield. Like many other tables in its time period, trying to keep a consistent flow of action on this table can be troublesome - and the features it contains is not as much fun. It is cool that Genie is included for its novelty and history, and while it is a personal favourite, it can be difficult to keep others engaged in the same way that the other tables in this pack can.

Moving to 1982 is John Osborne's unique table, 'Haunted House,' and it is considered to be one of the most iconic tables in pinball. FarSight Studios has done a splendid job in bringing this table to digital life and it is one of the favourites of this DLC pack. Haunted House was the first pinball table to feature a triple-level playfield that can be accessed by a singular ball, as it aimed to replicate the structure of its namesake. The main playfield represents the main floor of the house, while the sunken playfield is the cellar, and the raised playfield is the attic. Plus, any of those playfields can be accessed with one ball.

Screenshot for The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 1 on Nintendo Switch

Each of the playfields also has its own set of flippers; thus, bringing the total amount of flippers to eight on the table. Because of the upper and lower levels, that means there are plenty of ramps and surprise trap doors that keep in theme of the Haunted House. Plus, sending the ball into the cellar flips things around a bit - literally. The entire playfield is upside down from the main pinball perspective, with playfield on the opposite angle to the rest of the table. It is an interesting and fun twist to the formula, and thankfully, the only way to lose a 'ball' is when it goes out on the main playfield. Losing in the cellar or attic portions just resets the ball in the main field again.

The only annoying thing that can be had with Haunted House isn't a fault of the developer, but more the limitations of the sound board of the table at the time. The usual jingle that plays over the gameplay will constantly reset when other sound effects can be had - as the sounds can't overlap. So, get used to the main jingle being played on constant repeat throughout the course of the table. But, to FarSight's credit, that is quite realistic to the real thing.

John Trudeau's 'Victory' table rounds out Gottlieb Table Pack 1's offerings. Created in 1987, this is a car racing themed table that is fun to play in the early stages - but it is quite bare otherwise. The aim of this table is to complete the race by passing through all the checkpoints. Reaching the checkpoints can be done by hitting the ball at checkpoint-specific targets in order, so Checkpoint 1 must be hit before Checkpoint 2 in order to progress.

While the gameplay is very mission-specific, FarSight Studios does get a knock for the camera configuration of this table. Unfortunately, one of the later checkpoints could not be seen from any of the camera setups in The Pinball Arcade. Eventually the checkpoint was discovered when the ball just happened to hit it, but otherwise, even the flashing marker on the table was "hidden" behind the cluttered table elements. Some manual camera movements were probably needed to fix this, as all the pre-set camera angles failed to reveal the hidden checkpoint, while in the real world, such an issue could be resolved by turning the head.

Screenshot for The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 1 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Gottlieb Table Pack 1 is a fantastic collection of six tables to add to The Pinball Arcade. FarSight Studios has stayed true to each table and their point of origin in order to replicate the experience of playing them. Each work as intended, as pinball fans can finally play on these tables which may otherwise be hard to find in the real world. While there is not much more to this package then simply being a digital recreation, it is still a worthy addition for pinball purists to take with them on the go on the Switch.

Developer

FarSight

Publisher

FarSight

Genre

Table Games

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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