I'm not going to pretend I'm any kind of pinball expert. In fact, I'm rubbish at it. "Hit flashing ramps for bonus!" "Hit targets for multiball!" Whaaaat? I just like whacking the ball and hoping it doesn't get past my flippers. Am I a bad man?
It goes without saying that I'm not exactly cultured in this regard. Doesn't matter. I love racking up high scores, and pinball is one of the purest forms of this exercise, so from that point of view, it makes me happy. And I can quite easily sit and zone out on a pinball game for hours. It can be quite therapeutic, as well as fun.
This table is called Pasha. It's filled with Turkish delights!
I downloaded the original Pinball FX... oooh, a good while ago now. Over time, I've downloaded all but one of the additional tables available for it, and when I feel like playing something that's not too taxing, it's kind of my fall-back game. I can just chuck it on and sit there, merrily flipping away for fifteen minutes or an hour, or whatever. So I was very interested to find that a sequel was available, and for free, no less!
Well, actually, that's not entirely true. What you get for free is basically a new pinball engine. The clever bit about it is that you can re-download any tables you've already bought for the original and play them in updated form. That said, they don't seem that updated - there's a flashy trail effect to the ball, but that seems to be more or less it - but most of the tables get three new achievements each, for a total of 39 new cheevos. That's a heck of a lot for an XBLA title!
The majesty of Rome... in pinball form!
If you do stump up the 800 points, then you get four brand new tables, and these ones do seem to have ramped everything up a bit. There are four distinct themes, so you're never in too much danger of getting confused as to where you are. That said, the gameplay on all the tables is pretty similar... flippers, ramps and bumpers are all in much the same places, and objectives are all pretty much the same. I know the objective is to make these like real-life tables, but I think in some cases they could use the technology to come up with something really outlandish.
Still, I'm being a bit petty. I've happily downloaded Pinball FX, Pinball FX 2 and all the extra tables bar one, which for 200 points I might as well get as well. I couldn't tell you how these stack up against the classic real pinball tables, but they're enjoyable enough that I can play them at any time and while away a good chunk of my evening. Pinball FX was kind of a guilty pleasure for me to begin with... Pinball FX 2 ramps that up by a few notches, so that should be me happy for the next three years or until Pinball FX 3 comes out.