Sonic Pinball Party takes the familiar characters and graphics from three of Sega's most cherished franchises and uses them to create an especially satisfying pinball game.
Sonic Pinball Party is a collection of pinball tables and minigames based on three of the franchises developed by Sega's Sonic Team. The overall presentation is similar to that of Sega's previous pinball effort, Pinball of the Dead, except that the tables have a much more cheery tone to them. You don't have to be a hard-core pinball junkie to find yourself addicted to Sonic Pinball Party. The ball physics and table designs more than pass muster compared with the real tabletop experience, but it's the manner in which the tables in the arcade and story modes complement your ability to dive into the six different minigames that ultimately makes the game impossible to put down.
The three games turned pinball in Sonic Pinball Party are Sonic the Hedgehog, Nights into Dreams, and Samba de Amigo. On the Sonic table, you have to push the ball around loops and targets in order to hatch chao creatures, collect gold rings, and bring about the presence of Dr. Eggman--whom you defeat by ramming into the underside of his floating chariot, just like it's done in the Sonic the Hedgehog games. The Nights table emphasizes loops much more than the Sonic table, which is in keeping with the general theme of the Nights game, which was originally available for the Sega Saturn. By landing the ball in the Ideya capture, you can collect spheres that will allow you to face off against the boss, Nightmaren, in a darker version of the main table. The last table in the game is based on Samba de Amigo, a rhythm game that was originally released on the Sega Dreamcast console and that came with its own maracas attachment. Unlike in the other tables, where you fight boss characters in order to move on to the next stage, the main goal in the Samba table is to activate a rhythm bonus game where you press buttons in an effort to shake maracas in time with music.
The tables in Sonic Pinball Party have a palpable artistic quality to them, even if you wouldn't say the game is pushing the graphical capabilities of the Game Boy Advance. The initial Sonic table has a group of palm trees that wiggle when the ball makes contact with them, and there are familiar star-shaped bumpers all around. As you move from one stage to the next, the visual look of the table changes, although the layout does not. The bumpers, flippers, traps, and lanes are always in the same spot, but they may resemble factories, airplanes, or slot machines in later levels. There are a number of nice little touches as well, such as creatures that wander around the lanes and the gold rings or blue chips that appear whenever you trigger a jackpot bonus. Many of the musical tunes are remixes of familiar Sonic, Nights, or Samba songs, and there are a fair number of speech samples that enhance the action onscreen.
Ball physics are a pretty important aspect of any pinball video game, and Sonic Pinball Party does a respectable job of emulating the general weight and response of an actual metallic ball. The ball rolls along the lanes and careens off bumpers with the same kind of heavy push you'd see on a real table. If the ball sweeps down off a corner, it angles downward like it ought to. The only time you'll really take issue with the physics is when you're giving the ball a hard push with the flippers, which causes it to fly upward and float for a brief period before succumbing to the effects of gravity. Tilting the table plays a major role in Sonic Pinball Party. Not only can you nudge the ball away from the drain at the bottom of the table, but tilting is the easiest way to transfer the ball from the right to the left flipper in order to make the shots you need to activate the Eggman and Nightmaren attack modes. The tables are all pretty enjoyable, primarily due to the variety of flippers, bumpers, and targets available, but the bonuses that crop up are also quite satisfying. You can trigger a multiball, cause rings or gems to appear, and even swap characters on the Sonic table.
- Player Reviews: 7
- Game Universe:
- Sonic Heroes (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus (XBOX, PS2, PC),
- Shadow the Hedgehog (PS2, GC, XBOX),
- Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut (GC, PC),
- Sonic the Hedgehog (GEN, SMS, GG, MOBILE, PC, AND),
- Sonic 3D Blast (PC, SAT, GEN),
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN, GG, SMS, MOBILE, X360, IP, PC, PS3),
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (GEN, SMS, GG, PC),
- Sonic Gems Collection (XBOX, GC, PS2),
- Sonic Riders (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: