Pinball FX3 Image
Metascore
82

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

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  • Summary: Tailored specifically to make use of the unique possibilities of the system, Pinball FX3 supports vertical monitor orientation and HD Rumble, giving the game the perfect feel on this awesome handheld system. On the Switch, you’ll get unprecedented mobility to earn the coveted first spot on aTailored specifically to make use of the unique possibilities of the system, Pinball FX3 supports vertical monitor orientation and HD Rumble, giving the game the perfect feel on this awesome handheld system. On the Switch, you’ll get unprecedented mobility to earn the coveted first spot on a leaderboard. When that high-score and feeling is lit and you are in the flow, but need to catch a train – now you can. The transition from the living room to mobile is seamless with Switch. [Zen Studios] Expand

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Pinball FX3 - Star Wars: The Last Jedi Pack Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Dec 20, 2017
    100
    Just like on other platforms, The Pinball FX3 platform delivers a great pinball experience without costing you an arm and a leg. Combine that with the new challenge modes, multiplayer and the Switch exclusive options and you have yourself a great package for pinball fans and casual players alike. This app is a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch and is a great addition to the ever growing library! Even if you already have this on another platform, the Switch version is fantastic. I highly recommend it!
  2. 90
    It's addictive stuff, all up. I've been playing Zen Studio's various releases for years now - in fact, aside from Hatsune Miku games I can't think of anything I've played more than these, and with the Nintendo Switch I imagine I'll continue playing long into the future.
  3. Jan 23, 2018
    90
    Pinball FX3 is a well-constructed platform for the old pastime. I appreciate Zen Studio’s take on pinball, favoring video game logic over a realistic one, while keeping consistent physics intact. Its online infrastructure and single-player progression are what keep me coming back and craving more, and this system can only continue to improve its appeal as more tables launch. But even as it is now, Pinball FX3 should be enough to make pinball wizards flip out.
  4. Dec 21, 2017
    80
    Even if it doesn’t necessarily revolutionise the series, it still expands on it. In some cases it is hard to enhance given the source material. It has all the necessities including global leader boards, multiplayer action and fills each table with enough content to justify purchases – including challenges and a levelling system. With the game free to try out, there’s no harm in downloading it and taking a look at what the definitive pinball experience on the market offers.
  5. Jan 2, 2018
    80
    Pinball FX3 on Nintendo Switch is probably the best way to play the Zen Pinball in this iteration. Portability, vertical screen and couch multiplayer gameplay are perfect additions.
  6. Jan 2, 2018
    80
    This isn’t authentic pinball, but it isn’t trying to be. Pinball FX3 embraces that it is video game pinball and is more enjoyable as a result. And isn’t pinball about getting high scores and having a good time anyway?
  7. Jan 15, 2018
    65
    I hope they patch these issues out because the game itself with progression, content, and the lovely gameplay is well worth checking out. You can download it for free and check out the basics. Out of the licensed tables, I love the Back to the Future one and have been playing mostly on that one.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Apr 26, 2018
    10
    Pinball FX3 is the best pinball game ever. And it just gets even better on the switch when you can play it on the go. The performance might bePinball FX3 is the best pinball game ever. And it just gets even better on the switch when you can play it on the go. The performance might be lacking (there is a patch planned to fix this) and not all tables are available but its still a must buy game if you have a Switch and love Pinball. Expand
  2. Nov 12, 2019
    10
    PBFX3 is THE Pinball game to get if you like video pinball. The Switch version plays and looks great and adds mobility, so you can play it’sPBFX3 is THE Pinball game to get if you like video pinball. The Switch version plays and looks great and adds mobility, so you can play it’s huge catalog of original and real world tables anywhere. Zen Studios pinball physics are second to none. I can’t recommend this game highly enough.
    Negative review refers to original, unpatched version, btw. PBFX3 runs as well on Switch as other consoles now.
    Expand
  3. Dec 25, 2017
    10
    So finally, free games for Switch are finally coming. This time we got a pinball game.
    Lots of cool DLCs.
    Easy and addictive Many types of
    So finally, free games for Switch are finally coming. This time we got a pinball game.
    Lots of cool DLCs.
    Easy and addictive
    Many types of pinball tables.
    IDK
    Expand
  4. Jun 20, 2018
    9
    This is a great pinball game. It has a huge amount of tables, satisfying physics, great sound design and a host of game modes.

    This is not
    This is a great pinball game. It has a huge amount of tables, satisfying physics, great sound design and a host of game modes.

    This is not a realistic emulation of actual commercial pinball tables (like Pinball Arcade), but a more sensational, effects-laden experience. This very much works in its favour, having offered Zen Studios the ability to add characters with animations, 'magic', and various larger-than-life mechanics, just not possible in a 'simulation' title. The name of the game here is 'maximum fun'.

    There is also a whole host of licensed tables, including table packs using major properties like Universal Movies, Jurassic Park, Bethesda Games, Fox Cartoons and more. The base game is completely free with one table (which allows you to play in the many different available modes). Although you could get several hours out of mastering just that one, additional tables (available as DLC) come in reasonably-priced, themed bundles, resulting in each table costing less than a beer at a bar.

    Then there are the various modes. Each table has a 'classic mode', which is a no-frills high score fest, a 'normal mode', which enables a host of unlockable assists and multipliers, and three challenge modes (1-ball, 5 minute and survival). The challenge modes are scored against 15 levels - you must hit a certain score in a run to reach the next one).

    That's not to mention match-up mode, cross platform tournaments (self-host or play any of those already available) and a huge selection of unlockables based on your mastery of tables. There really is a lot to get your teeth into here.

    Additionally, there is a huge array of options which allows you to tailor the experience to your liking. Even in game, you can easily pick between several views of the table.

    All of this is true of every version, but the Switch version also comes with delightfully tactile HD rumble. The game remains one of the best examples of its implementation on the system, outside first party titles. Every 'plunk' and 'click' is sent straight to your hands, being a rare example of haptic feedback genuinely adding to enjoyment of a title.

    With the Switch's portable screen, the game's vertical mode option is also available, allowing you to see the whole table at one time. Touch controls are also implemented, so you can even choose to play the game like a tablet.

    Along with this, the recent update to resolution and frame rate (60fps in all modes) means it does not significantly suffer against the PC version, and the portability is a huge advantage for this type of game. It's perfect for jumping in and playing a quick round in between daily tasks.

    I can't recommend this game enough for anyone who remotely likes pinball and, considering you can get started for free, there's no reason not to dive right in.
    Expand
  5. Dec 18, 2017
    8
    Pinball FX3 contains well-designed original pinball tables with 3D elements and various special effects attached, accompanied by a lineup ofPinball FX3 contains well-designed original pinball tables with 3D elements and various special effects attached, accompanied by a lineup of recognisable franchises from Universal Studios, FOX Entertainment and Valve. By free-to-play, I mean you get one full table on download, and have to buy the rest. I managed to get two extra on launch for free and also bought the Portal table for around 4 dollars, and I am very impressed with the amount of replayability this game has in terms of missions and multiplayer. The few gripes I have with the game are that there is no free table rotation, and the Son of Zeus table is too loud and lags when in handheld mode. But still, Pinball FX3 is a free download, why not try it out? Expand
  6. Dec 23, 2017
    8
    A solid game of pinball. You can set the game to play vertically, which makes perfect sense on the switch since if you have a 3rd party stand,A solid game of pinball. You can set the game to play vertically, which makes perfect sense on the switch since if you have a 3rd party stand, you can set the console vertically on a table.

    There's a few different game modes for each table, as well as online multiplayer and leaderboards. For me, the leaderboards are the only thing that's really necessary, but it's nice to get more options for gameplay nonetheless.

    I think having to pay for tables is a fine idea, especially when they're as detailed as these, but the prices could be just a tad lower. Instead of $9.99 for three tables, maybe $7.50 would be a bit better. Buying tables a la carte would also be nice. I might want to try the Archer table, but I have zero interest in the Family Guy and American Dad tables.

    Another thing I'd like to see is more customization for controls. This game doesn't have a set of preset schemes like some games, but it's also not fully customizable. It's sort of a combination of each. You can change the button for each action, but certain actions can only be bound to certain keys. I wanted to bind the flippers to the d-pad and y button like the old GB and GBA pinball games I used to play, but you just aren't allowed to do that.
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  7. Dec 31, 2017
    4
    I have always loved pinball. I've found it captivating since I was really little. It's how this tiny, metal ball becomes infused with kineticI have always loved pinball. I've found it captivating since I was really little. It's how this tiny, metal ball becomes infused with kinetic energy and rips through its own physics playground packed to the brim with the unexpected. It's the invisible underbelly; how the electronics can tie one plunger into countless flow charts. It's the way a consciousness can inhabit the ball itself just like any other vehicle, giving the player a whole new perspective of the physical world. It's the experience of using that perspective to explore every nook and cranny of a contained ecosystem wrought by unimaginable time and human effort. Pinball, man. Love.

    I've always had a love-hate relationship with digital pinball. Part of me has always been excited at the idea of being able to play pinball any time. And, unless you have considerable money to burn, either to buy a table or play at a bar, digital pinball is really the only way to do that. When I was a pre-teen, I loved Full Tilt! for Windows 3.1. When I was a teenager, I had Pinball Fantasies, Epic Pinball, and Sonic Spinball. These were all great games, and I really enjoyed them. For a time. Eventually, the allure of digital pinball wore off. I got bored of all of them, and newer digital pinball games weren't doing it for me either. Every time I picked up a pinball videogame, I would stop playing within 15 minutes. And, every time that happened, I would remember that I'm just tired of pinball.

    Days or months later, I would find myself putting money into a pinball table at some bar or arcade, and part of me would wake up. Oh yeah, THIS is pinball. I will never be tired of pinball. It's just the videogames. They don't do it. They can't do it right.

    Recently, two different pinball games appeared on the Nintendo Switch as freebies: Pinball FX 3 (PBFX3 Hereafter) and Stern Pinball Arcade (SBA Hereafter). I tried SBA first, because it was the lesser-known, more-generic looking one. Better to just get it out of the way. What I didn't realize before I started playing was that this videogame is a licensed product, specifically designed to reproduce real, physical tables. After navigating a minimal menu system and surprisingly long loading screen to get a game started, I was shocked and amazed at how realistic SBA looks and feels. It is exactly what I had no idea I wanted. It is simply wonderful. I played it for an hour, totally engrossed.

    Then I decided to try PBFX3. By comparison, it has a slick interface. The menus are really responsive. There are online game modes. There's hotseat multiplayer. Bells and whistles. I chose from one of the three available free tables (which I thought was nice, since SBA only has one free table), and started a single player game. Immediately, my heart sank. The game looks really nice, but the table is small and simplistic. The game runs at ~15-25fps. The physics are just okay; everything feels a little mushy. It's ...a videogame. I played each table one time, then I deleted it from my console.

    Tonight, on a whim, I decided to re-install and give it another shot, because I was having so much fun with SBA (I bought extra tables and have put more time into it) that I just wanted a little more variety without paying more. I also don't like to form opinions on one short experience. Again, PBFX3 feels sluggish and overtly digital. Second impression: not good.

    After that experience, I became curious what critics thought of these two titles.
    PBFX3: Critics-87/100, Users-7.1/10. That's enough to put it at #4 overall by Metascore, though its User Score puts it at ~#64.
    SBA: No scores; not enough ratings. There are two Critic ratings: A 60/100 from Nintendo Life, complaining the game is too 'simplistic;' and a 40/100 from Digitall Downloaded, complaining about a lack of features and online play, also saying it can't compete with Pinball FX 3 for these reasons. There's one User review giving it a 9/10, which poetically describes exactly why physical pinball is so superior to digital. It's an inspired review.

    I'm trying to understand how someone can criticize a faithful recreation of an entire physical pinball machine as "simplistic." I'm struggling to empathize with the opinion that the presence of online leaderboards makes [a reasonably compelling pinball game that practically gives the finger to everything physically compelling about pinball] better than [aforementioned faithful recreations of tables that were painstakingly designed and masterfully manufactured]. I'm not a purist about many things, but I cannot disagree more with the critics on this one.

    PBFX3: get it on another console; even if you like the Pinball FX series, it runs terribly on the Switch. Maybe they'll patch it. But hey this one's free so what the hell give it a shot I guess.

    SBA, though, is an amazing piece of software. I offer my strongest recommendation to anyone who loves physical pinball machines.
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See all 20 User Reviews