At first glance, Total Pinball 3D doesn't stand up very well when compared to pinball games like Virgin's Hyper 3-D Pinball or Sierra's 3-D Ultra Pinball. But when you consider what you get for only $29.95four well-designed tables, an Instant Replay feature, four graphics modes, an extensive auditing system that tracks your performance on each table, adjustable table angle, and a multi-ball practice optionit's not that bad a deal. And if you own a lower-end machine that won't even handle the fancier pinball sims on the market, Total Pinball 3D starts to look pretty appealing.
The tables in Total Pinball 3D are pretty standard fare, with the usual roll-overs, ramps, spinners, drop targets, and so on. Graphics on all the tables are crisp and sharp, especially in the 2-D 800x600 mode, and every table has at least three flippers (one even has four flippers with the top two reversedthe flipper that moves in a counter-clockwise motion is on the right, and vice-versa). You won't find digitized video or fancy computer animation here, just authentic tables with authentic gameplay.
But the truth is that even with four graphics modes, we've seen these tables before: They're an update of 21st Century Entertainment's Pinball Mania, which came out last year. And beyond that, there are definitely a lot of similarities between these tables and the ones in other 21st Century Entertainment pinball sims such as Pinball Fantasies and Pinball Illusions. No, they're not exactly the same, but anyone who's played those games will have a severe case of deja vu when they load up Total Pinball 3D.
If you've never tried a PC pinball game before, or if your PC isn't up to the chore of handling higher-end sims like Hyper 3-D Pinball, then Total Pinball 3D might be just the ticket to get you started with the genre. But if you've been playing PC pinball sims for a while, Total Pinball 3D doesn't really bring anything new to the table (yeah, I just had to say that...).