Tokyo pinball is a stripped back experience that I’ve been falling back on at the end of every night. It feels like a detox from the troubles of the world in a way that 200 screaming Australians on open mic on Battlebit Remastered never could. I’m sorry guys the inside of your heads is not my happy place.

With digital pinball there’s always the temptation to go Maximillist with everything. Why not make it a roguelike rpg cardbuilder with dating mechanics? There’s none of that here. It’s just pinball, which might be a tough sell but I’m going to try anyway. Hello have you heard of our lord and saviour Just Pinball??

Built to be beginner friendly the game features bullet time which kicks in automatically when the ball comes close to the well. I knew a chick who would scream a full three seconds after a firework explosion. this game may still be too quick for her, I think LIFE itself is too quick for a person like that, but Tokyo pinball should be perfect for everybody else, even Pinball veterans who want a little return to tradition.

It’s aesthetically reminiscent of Habbo hotel and is quite legible, despite how it might look to you now. The thing with pinball is that when you first look at a table it can feel like staring at some alien artefact. What do these lights mean, who am I, what is my purpose? When everything’s flashing at you for your first couple games it can feel like being a dog at a circus. I don’t know why everyone’s excited but I’m glad they’re having a great time.

And just like a dog you’ll say woof when the ball shoots right down the hole.

It has three paddles controlled by your triggers. Triggers also cycle lights on the table that are activated after the ball rolls over them. Activate a full set to have good things happen.

Left and right button control the kickbacks on the left and right side. These are stamina based so you can’t go hog wild on them. Regain stamina by spawning in a drink and collecting it.

You can use keyboard controls but I personally preferred the rumble and tactile feeling of using a controller.

There are a bunch of settings which seem to be designed to turn the game into an eyeball paper shredder. I recommend Turning off the constant screen bumping and then turn down the desaturation effect which kicks in when the ball is moving in slow motion for an instantly more enjoyable time.

One last critique, the chiptunes on this are not my jam! I’ve muted it and just left the regular sound effects going layered with my own music playlist.  I’ve actually gone ahead and made a faux-80s vibing playlist to go with the game. Link in the description just for the lols.

The game only has one table due to the dev believing it’s better to just improve at one table than frantically spread out how much you suck over a larger square footage. For $3 I am not begrudging him that. I’m happy to give him another $3 if he ever releases another table. In fact I’m thinking of buying it on steam as well just so I can do the Steam achievements. P.S. The physical CD Rom version is HOT.

A comment on the games store page complained that they had no idea what they are supposed to be doing despite it supposedly being noob friendly. This weekend the developer pushed a new update which guides new players on what to shoot for and what’s happening. I think it show’s he’s open to listening and tweaking on a moments notice. Personally I think the human brain is wired to understand things if given the opportunity to bash it long enough for it’s secrets to fall out. That’s what I always tell Rat Wife when she’s acting up at least.

I think a sub focus of this channel has been on developers you can tell really like the thing they’re doing. I like people who like things. But what this developer likes more than this game is actual pinball. He wants this to be a gateway drug to the real thing. In the description for the game he literally leaves two links on how to find Pinball machines in Japan.

Encouraging people to do things in the real world feels like a rare trait to see in the videogame community. I guess because most of the time games are teaching us how to shoot people in the fucking face. That’s just bad PR!

With all that in mind, It’s cool that we can create games that help us express what we really like about the world.