Before buying, bare in mind that this is a pinball game first and foremost, it just happens to have a Mario-style theme.

User Rating: 7 | Mario Pinball Land GBA
The main gripe I've heard repeatedly about is this game is that it's too short. I would agree with that if you look at the game as an "adventure" and not an "arcade" game (I got to Bowser within two hours of straight play). From an "arcade" perspective, the game has a lot to offer. Remember the first pinball game on the old 8-bit NES? There was a full screen of activity for the top and a full screen for the bottom, that was it (besides that little mini-game). This game is far from that bleak beginning of video pinball and it offers more than just hit the ball and see how high of a score you can get. You quickly learn strategy in hitting the ball to certain places so you can get somewhere besides the first couple of screens. That being said, the flipside is that's really all there is to it, constantly trying to hit a ball at a certain place. Rarely, if ever, do you get those exciting moments like a normal pinball game where you watch your ball (Mario) get quickly bounced around by bumpers while you watch your score grow a little bit. Score, although rewarded by saving the initials (yes only 3 letters) of the top 5, is still an afterthough to what is essentially, just a fancy pinball game. The screen/level layouts leave much to be desired, as you'll find that many of them were made to be just big circular rooms where your ball will find itself running more along the perimeter than hitting the action in the middle. WARNING: If you turn off your GBA without saving first, you cannot go back to the last save. For example, you load up your last saved game, play a few balls and quickly lose Mario between the flippers, if you turn off the GBA and turn it back on to load up your last save point again, sorry scooter, it won't be there. The game pack also only saves one game at a time, no separate memory slots for different players of the same pack. The reason for my scores are as follows: Gameplay - 6 because you only control two flippers and that's it. No "tilt" feature to speak of so it's just flipping the flippers and a little luck. Graphics - 9 because it's has some of the best you'll see on GBA. Sound - 7 because it's decent, reflects the action going on with the table but nothing familiar from past Mario adventures. Value - 5 because, unfortunately, when it comes down to it, it's just a pinball game. I've played about 3 total hours and I don't see myself playing more than 2 hours more. Tilt - 8 because I enjoy pretty much anything Mario, even if it's Mario Pong (which is game is not far from being). I was hoping for this game to hold me over until the DS came out but it looks like I'll be investing into another game for that to happen. At $25, I don't see the purchase as a total loss, if I'm on a long car trip in the future, it'll at least be something different to play.

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