With the heyday of pinball simulations on the PC ping, ping, pinging in my noggin like it was the mid-90s all over again, I really wanted to love Dream Pinball 3D. Forget that its title still hypes the fact that it%26rsquo;s %26ldquo;3D%26rdquo; well over a decade after 3D cards became standard operating equipment. Forget that Future Pinball, a beautiful, well-made pinball sim and table designer, can be downloaded for free from www.futurepinball.com. If Southpeak is charging for this collection of six all-new tables, then it must be pretty special, right?
Not really. To be fair, the asking price is a mere $14.99, but the drab assortment of generically themed tables in Dream Pinball 3D is a major let-down. There%26rsquo;s the listless Knight Tournament, which looks like it was completely designed with medieval clipart; Monsters, an oh-so-creatively titled table about, um, monsters; Dino Wars, the requisite dinosaur board; and Aquatic, a deep-sea diving table with some oddly un-aquatic sound effects (is that a bird cawing?). Somewhat better are Spinning Rotors, a helicopter-themed table equipped with a rotating propeller smack-dab in the middle of it, and Amber Moon, a sword-and-sorcery riff that features a translucent upper mini-table.
Dream Pinball 3D%26rsquo;s worst transgression, however, is its lethargic physics implementation. It%26rsquo;s like every ball is out for a leisurely stroll, limply colliding with bumpers and sensors along the way. And though you may be tempted to turn on graphics settings like glass reflection and light bloom, don%26rsquo;t - the exaggerated effects are far more distracting than they are realistic. Expecting interactive minigames or other technological enhancements to standard pinball? Look elsewhere. In fact, that%26rsquo;s just sound advice for any pinball lover: Look elsewhere.
PC Gamer scores games on a percentage scale, which is rounded to the closest whole number to determine the GamesRadar score.
PCG Final Verdict: 38% (Don't Bother)
May 8, 2008