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The Pinball Wizard review for Switch, PC


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Frosty Pop
Developer: Frosty Pop
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

The Pinball Wizard is one of those games that are based on really interesting ideas, but that are more interesting as a concept than as a game.

In this case, we’re talking about a game that mixes together pinball with dungeon-crawling. You’re tasked with guiding your character through a series of dungeons, with each dungeon leading you further up a tower. The twist – and where the game gets its name – is that each new dungeon is also a new pinball table, complete with a set of flippers at the bottom of the room. If you fall through the flippers, you lose a little bit of health, and if you lose enough health, it’s game over. You proceed to the next dungeon/level/table by killing the monster that holds the key to unlock the door to the next room.

As I said, it’s a neat idea, but the execution leaves a little something to be desired. The levels mostly all feel the same, with the same visuals for each dungeon. It’s cute to look at, but by the 10th or 11th dungeon without much in the way of variation, it starts feeling like you’re just playing the same table over and over again.

The bigger issue, though, is that the gameplay isn’t all that fun. Since you don’t directly control your character – again, you flick them around using your pinball paddles – it can often feel like you’re just bouncing around each table, hoping you get a lucky bounce that helps you defeat the monsters, pick up the key, and exit to the next level. Admittedly, my pinball skills have always been a little lacking, but I also never felt like The Pinball Wizard offers you the kind of precision you get in proper pinball games.

Which, ultimately, is why The Pinball Wizard doesn’t live up to its intriguing premise. In setting out to combine two very different genres, it put itself in a situation where it had to be both a solid pinball game and a decent dungeon crawler. Instead, it’s only so-so at both halves of that equation, which makes it difficult to recommend.

Frosty Pop provided us with a Pinball Wizard Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-