MEGATech Reviews: Pinball FX3 - Jurassic World Pinball (Nintendo Switch)
If you've enjoyed the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies over the years, and you want a fun and rewarding pinball experience on the go, this DLC pack will save you plenty of quarters as you flip those virtual flippers.
Pros
  • True to the source material
  • Richly animated visuals
  • Three tables in one DLC pack
Cons
  • It's still "just" pinball
  • Dot matrix display can be hard to read
  • Some view options are impractical
8Overall Score

I spent a considerable proportion of my childhood in the local arcades, mashing away at side-scrolling beat-em-ups and learning all the special moves in fighting games. And we mustn't forget about pinball machines either, but arcades are nowhere near as common as they were in the 80s and 90s. The good news is that pinball fever is alive and well; it has just taken on a different form and we get to combine it with dinosaurs this time around too. Welcome to the Jurassic World Pinball DLC for Pinball FX3.

The Nintendo Switch version of the game is reviewed here, but the DLC for Pinball FX3 is also available for Xbox One, PS4, Windows 10, and Steam PC. This is in addition to all the other pinball tables available for the platform, including The Walking Dead, Family Guy, Portal, Archer and more.

When Dinosaurs Roamed the Table

Perhaps the best thing about Pinball FX3 from Zen Studios, just speaking generally, is that the core game itself is free. You can go ahead and hop on over to the eShop to pick it up. The "free" version of the game comes with a couple of tables and then you have the option of buying additional tables that are released periodically. That's exactly the case with the Jurassic World Pinball add-on.

For ten bucks, you actually get a total of three new tables to add to your Pinball FX3 collection. There's the Jurassic World pinball table that's inspired from the movie of the same name, just in time for the upcoming Fallen Kingdom sequel coming out this summer. In addition that, you get a Jurassic Park Pinball table based on the original 1993 movie, plus a Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem that takes you back to Isla Nublar one more time.

Life, Uh, Finds a Way

If you've ever played any of the other tables from Pinball FX3, or most other "digital" pinball games for that matter, you're not going to be in for much of a surprise with Jurassic World Pinball. It's exactly what you think it would be, jazzed up with modern animations and graphics, much of which wouldn't be possible with an actual, physical pinball table.

You get a green dot matrix display in the top-left corner that's meant to mimic the screen you'd get on an actual table and the fundamental mechanics are the same. You can use the right stick or "A" button to launch the ball -- which is actually done with one of the trains from the Jurassic World movie, a nice touch -- and you use the L and R buttons for your flippers. That's all pretty straight forward.

Zen Studios has done a terrific job of integrating actual content from the movie into the game. You get the real audio clips and the various "challenges" in the game reflect key moments in the movie. I like that you can choose to go through these challenge in movie order or in any order. For example, there's the raptor training with Chris Pratt's character Owen Grady.

There's a brief scene, depicted above, where you get to see the raptors in their enclosure before they pop up on the actual pinball table itself. The challenge is to hit them in the right order. Similarly there's the Mosasaurus Feeding Show, Aviary Breach and Valley Ride, among others.

The pinball table gets very animated throughout the game with plenty of audio clips thrown in for good measure. There's the mosasaurus in the back-left corner, for example, that springs out of the water for a bite as your ball is carried along the rail over its enclosure.

You can get a better look of that up close by switching to one of the different views using the Y button. Some views show the whole table, like the above screenshot, while others track the ball around for a more intimate approach. I generally opted for a view that's somewhere in between (I think it was #4), because I found that the tracking views made it harder to gauge when I should hit the flippers.

We Spared No Expense

The same sort of care and attention were given to the two other tables included in this collection. The Jurassic Park Pinball table moves away from the mostly silver and grey color scheme of Jurassic World and more the reds, oranges and greens of the original film. The ball launcher is one of the jeeps from the movie and you can see the iconic gate on the table as well. And as expected, you are offered a number of different "missions" to rack up those points too.

Up near the back-right corner of the table, for instance, you'll go through one of the most iconic scenes from the Jurassic Park movie, but without the trembling water in the cup. The Tyrannosaurus literally walks from its place on the table to stand above your overturned jeep, complete with the broken fencing in the background.

The Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem table doesn't relate back to any one specific movie in particular, but it does "take place" on Isla Nublar. There are a T-Rex and a stegosaurus on the table, both of which are fully animated. The swinging tail of the stego actually bats at the ball, though I found this table "felt" smaller than the other two and I can't really explain why.

MEGATechie Jurassic World Pinball Pandemonium or MEGATechie Pinball Plain?

If you're expecting an entirely different pinball experience altogether, you're likely going to be disappointed here. However, if you're already a fan of how the Pinball FX3 game works and you like the Jurassic Park/World mythos, there's a lot to like here. In addition to the traditional three-ball gameplay, there are challenges (just like other Pinball FX3 tables), complete with leaderboards. There are also unlockable power-ups, but I'm far too much of a purist to indulge in those.

The Jurassic World Pinball DLC for Pinball FX3 on the Nintendo Switch sells for $9.99 through the Nintendo eShop for Switch. The well-polished presentation strikes a great balance between the traditional appeal of pinball and the added technology and possibilities that a virtual table can deliver. John Hammond would be proud. Sexy Jeff Goldblum not included.



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