Published on May 31st, 2016 | by Scot Mackay0
Review: Pinball FX2 – Alien vs Pinball
Seeing as it is in the title of the website, I feel like I should be totally honest with you. When the guys told me that there were some additional tables to be reviewed for Pinball FX2, I laughed and offhandedly said “surely they’re all the same, you flip the ball and get points”.
Here is my experience of pinball. Flip the flippers, bounce the little metal ball around as much as possible and get pissed off when it fell down the middle or got wedged somewhere up near the top corner, get bored, play something else.
Clearly, I had got off to a good start.
Then the chaps happen to mention that the new table designs were based on the Alien movies and my mood started to change. To say I have a fondness of the style of the Alien series is an understatement. I’ve recently adorned my body with an Alien tattoo design by the late great H.R. Giger (the Alien designer) and plan on many more. Maybe it won’t be so bad.
With the tables downloaded, I settle down to see if my sci-fi horror addiction was enough to get me through. Looking through the main menu screen, I can see that there are 3 tables to have a play of. I’ve broken my review into sections to review each of the tables in turn.
Table 1: Aliens
Easily one of the best movies in the Alien series and in fact, one of the best movies ever made. Nothing is out of place on this table. Everything that you see is directly lifted from the film. Whether it’s the Atmosphere processing plant where Ripley makes her daring rescue of Newt (if I have to explain this to you, you haven’t seen the movie and haven’t lived) or the massive Alien Queen that has taken its place at the top of the table to snatch your pinball off of the rails if it strays to close.
Even the Talented Mr Ripley….no, hang on, wrong movie. Even Sigourney Weaver’s Antman sized Ripley takes pride of place on the centre-left side of the table to watch over your games but don’t think she is there just as a little design feature; she is there to get involved. Get enough points and follow enough scoring combinations, and she will turn her flamethrower on you and heat things up in no time.
Other design nuances that I really liked on this table included the use of the Marines APC that shuttles your ball into the launch slot. Its seems like such a trivial thing but it just another additional design idea that helps encapsulate the table. The APC also has other uses when point combos are achieved. Mini games are also the order of the day and can range from the incredibly simple to the slightly more taxing to figure out. In the case of this table, the APC is riding along a corridor and you use you left and right flipper control to avoid debris. Not bad for a couple of thousand points.
Alien facehugger eggs, auto sentry turrets and even the motion tracker all play their parts in a table that, quite frankly, comes alive at every flip and turn.
Another aspect that is quite enjoyable is the audio. With sound effects that are instantly recognisable from the movie and some of the best quotes ever uttered in the history of cinema make their mark as well. Either fitting in perfectly with events on the table or sometimes just to put a grin on your face.
“Stop your grinning and drop your linen” – God bless you Hudson.
Table 2 – Alien vs Predator
Okay, it was a crap movie that made no sense and had crappy people in it you didn’t care about…. except Lance ‘Bishop’ Henriksen. The guy is a legend and almost took the title role as the Terminator before Arnie muscled him out, so respect has been earned. Now, onto the table.
With the Mayan/Incan/Pre-historic Predator pyramid taking the top of table and becoming one of the interactive bonus games, this table is packed with features, and creatures.
Whist my good pal ‘Freddy the Preddy’ (Only his mates call him Freddy) takes up the left side of the table, or not so friendly Alan the Alien stalks you from the right. You know for a fact that these guys are going to get involved in some creative ways and they do not disappoint. Hidden behind some smashable walls in the centre of the table is another Alien that can grab your ball and mess it up before unleashing a horde of aliens to make your gameplay a little more frantic and downright difficult, so think fast and play fast. Other surfaces of the table are adorned with Aztec symbolism again taken directly from the movie and it’s easy to notice the amount of detail put into every nook and cranny.
My favourite design idea on this table is the actual ball launching mechanism which is in fact an alien who fires the ball from their mouth using their second set of jaws to propel your ball upward into the awaiting challenges.
Again audio is directly lifted from the movie, I could quote you some but quite frankly it was an embarrassment of a movie and I would rather quote Bridget Jones Diary.
“This is an occasion for genuinely tiny knickers” – Bridget Jones
Told you I would.
Table 3: Alien Isolation
If you haven’t played Alien Isolation, screamed like a 12-year-old girl, crapped your pants and developed a nervous disposition then you really have missed out.
The table starts off with our Alien having a look over the table in the bottom left hand corner only for it to disappear, right before Baby Ripley appears out of an access hatch oblivious to its presence. Bloody good timing if you ask me.
With Ripley in constant communication on her radio, the Alien appears in several locations on the table but mostly finds itself hiding amongst the upper walk way at the top of the table before climbing out of the side in the search of something a little easier to kill. Both characters move around the table interfering (or helping) the player again, with points multipliers and bonus combos.
At certain points, the lights go off and the Sevastopol station (the table) are plunged into an eerie red glow as the emergency lights kick in. This gives the player an added obstacle that really haunts you as you try to hit that top score.
Score the Android point multiplier and you will be accosted by a mob of Working Joes, much in the same way on previous tables with the aliens. Start firing that ball at their faces to clear them away and rack up those points.
“We’re experiencing a heightened hazard level today” – Working Joe
So that’s the three tables that I got to experience and quite frankly, enjoy. They incorporated a lot of the elements that made up the Alien movies and have enough life in them to stop them becoming stale and boring. I’m not saying that I have become a Pinball Wizard (be honest, you were all waiting for that reference) and have magically falling in love with the art of pinball but I will say that it has found its way to being pinned onto my home screen for those few sparing moments of game time I get.
Absolutely worth downloading at £7.99 to keep the Pinball FX 2 fresh and exciting. I’m sure there are many more designs to come in the future and I plan on putting myself squarely first in line.