I know what you're thinking: Yet another computer pinball game. What's the point? But this time there really is something new. Cinematronics has combined some fancy extras with realistic physics and fantastic visuals and served up a digital pinball simulation that is not only beautiful but highly entertaining too. Like many of today's pinball sims, Full Tilt lets you choose between three different tables: Space Cadet, Skulduggery, and Dragon's Keep. Unlike the often barren score areas of the competition, though, each table here offers loads of special effects, like ramps and multiball, along with a revolutionary feature that lets you nudge the table up and down and to both sides to change the ball's course in a specific direction. In addition, realistic inertia and friction algorythms for ball movement ensure that each table plays just like a dedicated pinball machine.
The graphics in Full Tilt Pinball are richly detailed and colorful in the 640x480 resolution mode. A full table view lets you aim shots and follow the ball better than many other pinball simulations do, although the screen resolution in this mode often causes the visuals to break down a bit. In another step towards realistic play and proper perspective, the designers have added a scaling effect to the ball as it travels further away from the front of the table. Each of the three tables is completely different and offers plenty of graphical goodies such as castles, parrots, and zooming spaceships.
Sound effects in Full Tilt Pinball are also impressive. Digital voices, such as raspy pirate yells or the roar of an angry dragon, enhance the game's atmosphere, and the realistic sounds of the bumpers, flippers, and spinners will make you think you're standing in an early-80's arcade. Unfortunately, Full Tilt's soundtrack pops slightly during the game and, particularly on the Dragon's Keep table, doesn't really complement the action at all.
The bottom line on Full Tilt Pinball is that it's an entertaining break from the slew of the blow-everyone's head off games flooding the market. If you want a relaxing, mellow, Zen-like experience, this is a good way to waste a few hours, and it's a lot easier on your knees than yoga or meditation.