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Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire

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Released: 2003

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Jupiter Corp

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

Following on from Pokémon Pinball on the Gameboy Color, the GBA Ruby/Sapphire version improves on its predecessor in every way possible to give a superb game of pinball… with Pokémon.

Like the previous version there are two tables to choose from, and just like before the two tables are themed around Pokémon, this time featuring the Ruby and Sapphire versions. Both tables play in a similar way, but still manage to be very much distinct from each other. The graphics are sharp, have lots of colour, and give a nice solid feel to the play. The action scrolls from one screen to another, rather than flipping screens as it did in the Gameboy Color version. The animation of the pokeball is smooth as you like, even while the screen around it is busy scrolling. The game physics have also been upgraded, with flipper response and ball striking feeling much more solid than in the previous version.

There’s always lots going on in Pokemon Pinball, the gameplay never become tiresome and there are plenty of big-scoring bonus screens to be accessed that help to break the action up. Pokémon capture and evolution modes are of course included again, with two hundred Pokémon to be captured and viewed on the Pokedex, just like on the Pokémon games proper. The gameplay in Pokémon Pinball really is fantastic, with constant play giving a greater understanding of how the table’s features work, and there are lots of features to learn and adapt to. After a while it becomes apparent which required goals and bonuses need to be aimed for to achieve a big score, and that’s half the fun of the game – Steering the flow of play in a direction you want and being able to hit various sections of the table at ease becomes a fun challenge, and the smooth accurate dynamics of the game allows for the precise flipper and tilt control needed to achieve this.

A perfect pinball game for the GBA that will keep your attention for months and years, with the high score table motivation enough to keep playing, and if not, er… ‘Gotta catch ‘em all!’