|Publisher: LittleWing Genre: Arcade|
|Min OS X: Any Version|
If I asked you what your favorite past-times are, what would they be? If you answered pinball then you might just want to stick around for LittleWing's eighth pinball game: Monster Fair Pinball. In a long succession of games one would imagine the genre would become a bit tired and repetitive. Perhaps it's the keen balance of strategy, skill, and copious amount of luck required to play or the creative touch LittleWing puts into each game. Either way, Monster Fair may be many things, but repetitive and tired is not one of them.
GameplayIt is more or less what you would expect from a pinball game: four flippers and enough bonuses and challenges to put your social life into the past tense. The basic goal is to complete all five "shows" and finish the "return voyage" multi-ball mode in order to finance the stranded monster's voyage home. Of course strong story is not the backbone of a good pinball game and you’re free to simply pursue a high score. With a maximum of four players, 3 balls, 2 multi ball modes, and five consecutive shows you might want to set aside a few hours to take on this bad boy.
The layout of the table itself makes for noticeably harder play than its predecessors. Bonuses are harder to trigger, often requiring many consecutive feats of skill, and the table design makes them more difficult to get. As such, it's a bit more difficult to rack up extremely high scores.
One notable fault is the interface, which is accessed with the escape key and arrows. While it does keep the interface clean, it isn't particularly intuitive, either. I also found it annoying that the sound couldn't be turned off during a game. You also cannot command-tab to other applications; quite a problem considering how long the game can take to finish. Hopefully in future games these problems will be alleviated.
Graphics & SoundGraphics are by all standards very good. The 3D rendered sprites add to the authentic carnival look and feel of the game. Animations such as the ferris wheel are smooth and believably done. Lighting plays a big part, and while it's all done through pre-rendered animations and not the usual 3D fare, it leaves nothing to be desired. The entire table and surrounding graphics all add to the feel of a real pinball game.
Music varies based on what show you're currently doing so it rarely becomes annoying and there is an option to turn it off before you begin a game. The sound track has a nice quirky feel to it and each subsequent track played during each different “show” is nice and up-beat, keeping with the carnival atmosphere.
Final wordYet another jewel has been added to the crown of LittleWing, who remains the king of pinball games. While a few minor interface problems mar the surface, this is still an excellent game.