It was bound to happen. If the Pokemon franchise can spawn a pinball game, why not Mario? Well developer Fuse Games thought just that, and created Mario Pinball Land. Before I go on, there's one thing that everyone be clear on; Despite the title "Mario Pinball Land", MPL is less of a Pinball game, and more of a full fledged Mario adventure. You do control Mario with flippers in the traditional pinball sense, but there aren't as many bells and bumpers as you'd expect to find in a traditional Pinball game. In MPL, your primary goal is to navigate your way through Star Doors covering a variety of different worlds, and once again rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. The game is split up into 5 or so different worlds. Each world has several rooms in which you must do something to earn a star. Whether it be knocking out all the enemies, hitting a certain object, etc. Completing certain puzzles (I use the term "puzzles" very loosely) in said rooms can also open up pathways to other areas, or even get you coins or items. The game does incorporate items, and they can be found be either hitting a "?" block, or finding Toad, who randomly appears in certain areas of each world. Some of the more notable items are the warp pipe (which will stick a pipe in between your flippers to help prevent the ball from falling), the mega/mini Mushroom (which will make you big/small, respectively), and the Yoshi Egg (which spawns a Yoshi egg that will act as a second ball). The items are a welcome adition to the game. The game can get tedious when you're attempting to do something and continuously fall through the flippers. This especially becomes difficult when you're controlling more than one ball. You always have to keep your eye on Mario, because if he falls, that's it. Falling through the flippers does not always mean death, though. You'll first fall into whatever room you were previously in. The only way to lose a life in MPL is to fall through the flippers of the first room in whatever world your in. Enemies can get in your way, and sometimes kock you around, but they can't hurt you. Some might say the physics aren't very "pinball like". I can agree with that, but like I said before, this is not a traditional pinball game. The physics work well for the sake of fun, and that's what the game's all about. Graphically, the game is stunning. It easy has some of the best looking graphics seen yet on a GBA game. One slight quarrel I have with the game is the uninspired music. If you're expecting to hear remixed classic Mario tunes, look elsewhere. However, in MPL, you'll find a wide array of familiar sound effects and voice clips. The game itself is fairly short. It won't be difficult for the average player to get through it in just a few days. With that said, it's a lot of fun, but it's not for everyone. It's a good "pick up and play" game, so if that's what you're looking for, by all means, give this game a try.
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