December 23, 2008 | Ted Bade
Alpha Pinball is a basic, no real frills, pinball game for the Mac that is dirt cheap.
Before there were video games, there were pinball machines. They offered the "pre-computer video era" geeks (like myself) an interactive almost video game like experience. There were lots of flashing lights, sound effects, whirling devices, magnets that slow or reroute the ball, and many other effects designed to make the game interesting and distract the player from keeping their eye on that all important steel ball. All pinball machines had a game theme, tying various target sets, special areas, spinners and so forth into this theme. Generally the sound effects kept up with the theme as well.
Alpha Pinball is the beginning of a good pinball game. It tries to put a large pinball table on your Mac monitor, by changing the view to either the upper or lower half of the pinball table as the "ball" rolls into this space. This is a great alternative to viewing a tiny yet complete pinball table.
What this game really lacks are all the "bells and whistles" of even the most basic pinball game. There is only a hint of a game theme, because of the robotic voice that speaks as you play.
Game play is pretty basic. There are two sets of targets on either side, four bumpers and five fall-thrus at top, two paddles at the bottom along with the standard bumper, and a pretty wide open side space where the ball can fall through to end the play.
There are only two tasks that I could find in this game, one is to pass the ball through all five of the top fall-thrus to spell the word BONUS. The other is to hit all six of the side targets on either side. Then of course its to try to keep the ball in action for a long time. Obviously you get points for various actions and hits.
Audio is pretty basic, a computer voice tells you to start, and some other basic words, there are some bells and clangs as you hit bumpers or targets. and a space engine vibration fills the silence as you play. The simulated ball makes a ball rolling sound as it rolls over the game board. Game action was pretty good and the physic felt right. The graphics were pretty good, the ball looks real and includes nice shadows. The table itself has a nice appearance as well.
Sure the game is inexpensive, but I still think I would rather see a whole lot more in the way of sound effects and flashing lights. If you want a basic pinball game, take a look at this one, but donít expect a lot.
• Nice physics
• Good basic pinball
Cons• Game is too basic
• Could use more graphic and audio flash
• Lacks the "bells and whistles" of modern pinball games