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Balls of Steel (Windows)

Teen
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
79
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Andy Voss (1636)
Written on  :  Apr 02, 2000
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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Summary

Pinball as addictive as any 1st-person shooter.

The Good

BoS is just plain fun as hell to play - although to truly appreciate it, you have to be of the scrolling-pinball generation (Dreams/Fantasies/Illusions, Epic, Extreme, etc.), and of course play it in scrolling mode. Each table is chock full of incredible graphics, special modes, dot-matrix video games (just about everything you can do with 2 flippers and a plunger), and funny random add-ons ("moo").

They did a great job of testing the game - it seems virtually bug-free. Even when events are activated in rapid succession, the animations and sound effects play out smoothly. The gameplay seems just about right for each table, but they have enough differences to make playing each one worthwhile.

The music is appropriate for each game, and the sound effects are very well done (even Duke Nukem returns with a few new quips).

The Bad

I'll just have to nitpick:
  • Gameplay is almost TOO easy - granted, I don't mind playing longer than in other games. Ball "nudging" seems excessive; the ball visually changes course (also, the nudge keys are backwards compared to other games, but that can be fixed by the user).
  • Since the music wasn't tracked, it's not very strong and doesn't change much (mostly 20-second loops).
  • A better intro screen would be nice, with more info on the table rules.

The Bottom Line

If you grew a love of PC Pinball games out of the Pro Pinball series or similar, you can certainly give Balls of Steel a try but you may gripe about it having top-down graphics and not being "realistic" enough. But, if you're a fan of the classics', especially Extreme Pinball, you'll love it. With fast action and all kinds of different missions to master, it's about the most fun you can have in 2D.