Pinball FX3, Universal Classics Pinball review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: Multi
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

The Zen Pinball/Pinball FX series has always delivered some of the best Pinball experiences on every platform it has appeared on. With the roll out of Zen Studios’ brand new Pinball FX3 platform, you now have access to more great tables, as well as most of your classic tables you currently own from previous versions. Only now, every table available has been given a substantial graphic and gameplay enhancements. Pinball FX3 may just be the best version to date!

This new version of the Pinball FX app for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC has received a complete overhaul including a new graphics engine, as well as new modes for each table. FX3 is also the first time that you can finally play your favorite tables against other players! The new multiplayer options are fantastic and really add some great replay value to every table. Many of the tables you purchased through an older version of the app will carry over, but not all are available as of this writing. Also, if you are restoring tables on the Xbox One, be ready for some tedious menu loading as, for some reason, each and every table has to be downloaded from separate Store Links and not all at once. I am not sure if this is the same for the PS4 or Steam versions, but it definitely took a while to restore tables on the Xbox One.

For this review I will be looking at 3 new tables released under the Universal Film license as part of the Universal Classics Pinball pack which includes Back to the Future, Jaws and E.T. These tables are brand new and only work with Pinball FX3.

Back to the Future table

Upon starting a game, you are thrown into a random timeline that changes the available bonuses and challenges. One game you can start in 1885, and the next you could start in 1985. The play field is nicely spaced out with several ramps and jets to help you rank up a high score. Not very many animations going on when compared to other Pinball FX tables, but what is here is done decently enough to not be distracting. I found it curious that none of the music or voice samples from the movies are used. Instead you get music that kind of sounds like the theme, and voice actors trying their best to mimic the original actors. I will say that the actor voicing Marty is just OK while Doc Brown sounds completely wrong. The voices sometimes made me not want to keep playing. Overall, a fun table, but I wish it contained the real BTTF theme and real voice samples.
Table Score: B

Jaws table

A nice looking table with a nice open play field. There are some spots that could’ve used more jets and bumpers, but everything is laid out strategically enough so it’s not hard to keep your eye on the ball. Again, not the real voice actors from the film, but the actors used to a good enough job. There is no classic Jaws theme, but the music is still pretty ominous. A few brief animations here and there, most of which you’ll miss the first time because they happen so fast. Not many chances for high scoring challenges or fast score jumps, but you can keep the ball in play easier and a lot longer here so you’ll be ranking up high scores before you know it. I liked this table for it’s simplicity and overall feel.   
Table Score: A

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial table

Out of the 3 new tables, E.T. has the most open play field with the largest bonuses. Again, as with the other 2 tables, there is no licensed music or original voices, but that really doesn’t hurt this table in any way. You have some really good action and some nice bonuses that really rank up score quickly. Challenges are easily triggered and mastered with a nice set up of ramps and bumpers to keep playing on one ball for a long while. This table was the one I ended up playing the most, as I felt it to be the most fun and highest scoring. It also has one of the most awesome multi-ball sequences in any digital Pinball game. If you only get one new table, than you should start with E.T.!   
Table Score: A

Once again, the new and improved Pinball FX app delivers a great pinball experience without costing you an arm and a leg. Not all of your old tables will work with the new app, but the ones that do offer an almost brand new feel with the graphic overhaul and fine tuning to the physics. Combine that with the new challenge modes and great multiplayer options and you have yourself a great package for pinball fans and casual players alike. As a huge pinball fan, you owe it to yourself to give Pinball FX3 a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Grade: A