Pinball FX - DreamWorks Pinball Review

Pinball FX - DreamWorks Pinball by developer and publisher Zen StudiosSony PlayStation 5 Review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Pinball FX - DreamWorks Pinball feels geared towards younger players at a glance, but that’s not to say there’s no challenge to be had here either. This is a pack of tables, focusing on three different properties: Trolls, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

The first one I’ll chat about is my favorite of the three tables, Dragons Pinball. For one, the How to Train Your Dragon movies are cute, and I’m a bit of a fantasy fanatic, so the theme here worked pretty well for me. Still, at first glance I wondered if I’d like this one as much as I had hoped. Something about the two massive ramps along the sides made the table somehow seem like it was not as vertically long as I would have liked, as though those ramps were just going to be the only real action heading up the table.

However, I rather quickly found myself finding those ramps to be my favorite part of the table. There’s a little visual swerve to them as the ball goes rocketing through, causing the middle space between them to rotate and help trigger events. There’s also a very dragon-like theme of fire at play here, ranging from the pinball itself catching fire to watching the catapult in the lower left corner of the table hurling projectiles up towards the top of the table.

The visual aspects of this table kind of reminded me of the Skyrim table from the Bethesda pack a console generation ago. Lots of orange and yellow hues that give this fantasy-themed table more of that dragon-fire vibe that works well with the musical score. This combined with the table’s visuals pull everything together nicely.

Next up, let’s talk about Kung Fu Panda. Like How to Train Your Dragon, I’ve seen these movies and am familiar with them. While I liked how well the aforementioned Dragons table tied into the theme, visually I’d say that Kung Fu Panda’s were more fun overall. Bright colors play well off of one another, with reds, blues and oranges that contrast and compliment one another nicely. The ramps and rails, the sides of the table with decorations and the waterfall in the upper right all tie up the visuals nicely.

In terms of the table structure, there’s a lot of open space in the intermediary region, with some fun ramps and rails near the top, though they are not always accessible, making the play area feel smaller than it is at times. I will say – I really liked the upper-right corner waterfall, which has its own flippers for a small mini-game. This was for some reason, probably the most challenging table for me. I didn’t mind that challenge – I think it’s mostly due to the difficulty in getting access to the table’s upper regions, but my play sessions on this table seemed to be the shortest of the three.

Lastly, we have the Trolls table. While I’m fully aware of what Trolls are, I don’t really know about them as a property. The table has a wide range of colors that sort of work and sometimes don’t. It almost reminds me of a kids’ board game or Rainbow Road in Mario Kart with the splash of varied colors on top of an already bright table, framed in by green walls with more bright decorations along it. It’s not bad – but it can be a lot.

I will say as a table, this one is probably the most open and balanced. The upper regions can rather easily be reached, the playing space feels open enough that you can build good momentum on a variety of shots, and the interactive nature of the table is pretty entertaining. Knock a shot down a hole and watch a critter crawl out. This was probably the easiest table for me to get on a roll with, and I did enjoy it – but the theme didn’t resonate with me quite as nicely as the other two, and visually it just doesn’t feel quite as cohesive as the other two either.

My primary takeaway from this collection of tables? None of them are bad, and I’d say they range from good to great. I like it when tables have variety baked into them, both in terms of theme but also the style of play, and all three tables work very differently from one another. Pinball FX - DreamWorks Pinball provides fun tables that kids in particular will likely enjoy and relate to, with a nice variety of table styles and mechanics to boot.

Score 7.5 / 10




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