Tommy Reviews the New AC/DC Pinball Rocks iPad Game
Another in a long list of pinball games has been released for the Apple iPad (and iPhone). This release is by Sony, however it is another Gameprom developed title (Pinball HD, Slayer Pinball, etc). If you have played previous Gameprom games, you already know how it plays.
Like all other Gameprom titles, it is pretty to look at. You have a layout that looks a lot like an AC/DC stage. You have the Rock N’ Roll Train, TNT, Hells Bell, and a cannon.
AC/DC Pinball Rocks does not feel anything like a true pinball machine. Pinball machines have rubber all over the place. Everything including the flippers are covered in wonderful, bouncy rubber.
That bounce is a big part of what makes pinball machines so fun. In fact, when I add a machine to my collection (yes I own several real pinball machines), the first thing I do, outside of rebuilding the flippers, is replace the rubber throughout the game.
Due to the lack of bounce — AC/DC Pinball Rocks does not truly rock — it only rolls.
The flippers also have a very wooden feel to them…balls do not fly off of them like they do in a real pinball machine.
The game advertises that it has speech from Brian Johnson (the singer of AC/DC). That is nice, but it appears he only has two different phrases. “You rock!” and “you win.” This is inexcusable. Even pinball machines from 25 years ago (when CPU memory was insanely expensive) have a great deal more speech than this.
There is a good variety of songs in the game. That is very nice and it is real AC/DC music, not some sort of Muzak. But there is a lost opportunity; as the tunes do not relate to any special occurrences or modes within the game play action. The songs just appear to play in a random loop. How about a quick “Shoot to Thrill” sound bite when you pull back and shoot your ball?
Game sounds (outside of the music) are irritatingly repetitive and sound like chimes from pinball machines of the 70’s. It sure would be great to hear more modern and interesting (and random) sounds. That same chime sound seems to be in place for nearly every target.
As far as the playfield layout goes, there are some hits and misses.
- The guitar upper playfield is a fun and unusual feature. The ball has extra gravity on it due to the increased pitch. This is a welcome addition for variety and a good challenge.
- The big giant bell (famously used in AC/DC live shows) is fun to hit and gives off that great Hells Bells sound. But I have hit it over and over and over again — yet nothing happens. This should activate a mode or feature. Maybe it does and I cannot figure it out. If so, then dings on a lack of intuitiveness.
- The game has a 13-ball wizard mode. I have yet to accomplish that, but read about it in the game guide.
- Cannon that you shoot targets with. Fun idea, but I had no idea how to shoot the cannon or aim for the targets. Not intuitive at all.
- The pop bumper area is a bore. The ball spends way too much time up there and this slows the game down. This drops down on the overall fun level.
- Ball elevators take the ball upward to a “metal” ball rail. All this does is slow down the action. The fun for me of pinball is speed and the ball feeling out of control.
Like all Gameprom pinball games, this is very pretty and well crafted. The game appears to be relatively bug free and is feature laden.
However, the game play still feels nothing close to a real pinball machine. The overall experience is not very thrilling or engaging due to the lack of bounce, less than inspired game play, and repetitive game sounds. The music sure is great though, but we knew that going in.
My suggestion is to hold off unless you are an extreme AC/DC fan — or you do not already have some of the better iPad pinball games in your collection.