No arcade would be complete without a pinball machine. It’s an iconic piece of gaming history that predates most others. Pinball machines are beautiful, with all the lights and chrome, some would call them art. There’s something about stepping up to a pinball machine. Whether you’ve been playing it for years or only a few times, you get a sense of nostalgia. Momonga Pinball Adventures (out now; launch sale, $0.99) doesn’t exactly give me that feeling – and I don’t even miss it. It’s definitely not a classic pinball game; the pinball mechanics are there, but the rest is a completely different animal. It’s cute, it’s fuzzy, and it can fly all on its own.
Paladin Studios put out Momonga Pinball Adventures without backing from a publisher or outside funding, they’re entirely indie. And the level of polish they deliver is certainly commendable. Momonga Pinball Adventures follows the last Momonga left of his tribe, the rest having been taken into captivity by evil owls. Momo is trained by a wise old panda and sets off to confront the owls and rescue his kin. The story and art style are definitely the strongest points of the loveable and adorable, albeit short, journey.
A story driven pinball game is something missing from all platforms and I love the idea. It’s the mechanics that are a bit lacking. While the story delivers and intrigues and the adorable little flying squirrel keeps me playing, the overall pinball experience is lackluster. The controls feel almost squishy for lack of a better term. Most objects don’t need to be hit directly and the physics seem to falter at points.
But I wasn’t expecting my pinball itch to be scratched going in and I don’t think the developers were going after the hardcore pinball crowd at all. I mean, it’s a Japanese Momonga you’re slapping around the ruins of various sites built by animals, so, the fact that the pinball physics are a bit off is forgivable. However the game is also rather easy and the story is completed rather quick, although the developer does appear to have plans to release more content by update. Each level also has five ribbons available, received by completing the five goals for each level, only the first of which is needed to progress to the next level which is always, complete the level. There just doesn’t seem to be much point is doing so unfortunately, other than achievements.
The story and art style are the high-points of the journey, I just wish there were more there to keep me coming back after the story is finished. The journey itself is varied enough to keep entertaining all the way through with things like double-ball to keep the action feeling fresh. The stages are occasionally broken up by accelerometer based flying stages in between locales but they are hardly something that would be missed were they not present.
iFanzine Verdict: Momonga Pinball Adventures is a game I really WANT to love and I certainly do, but only as long as the story lasts, and it doesn’t last long. The mechanics aren’t enjoyable enough to make me want another play-through and the lack of rewards for unlocking ribbons isn’t either. Setting high-scores would seem like a very “pinball thing” to do, yet the mechanics aren’t polished enough to savor that pinball nostalgia. It just doesn’t really feel like pinball, except for the flippers and the plunger. What Momonga Pinball Adventures does is keep me playing through but it doesn’t keep me coming back once the rather short journey is complete.