In the movie Cop Land, there is a great line where Sylvester Stallone, who plays pinball in the movie, is told that there are two types of people in the world: video game people and pinball people. And furthermore, the two don’t mix.
I forget most of that movie other than Stallone was fat and took way to long to go crazy and shoot those other dirty cops. But I do remember that line. I was probably the only one in the theater who laughed out loud for almost a minute afterwards.
You see in my household I am a video game player. My wife really does not like to play them. Almost any game I bring home to show her peaks her interest for less than ten minutes. Only the Sims kept her playing for a while, and even that faded with time.
But pinball, that is something different. She loves pinball. When we go to an arcade like Dave and Busters, she will seek out the pinball games and spend all her time with them.
Now we don’t really have enough space in our house for a full size pinball game. But when I saw Flipnic arrive I thought perhaps I had found the answer. Flipnic runs on the PS2 and you only really use two keys on the controller. One works the left flipper and the other works the right. Pretty much anyone of any age can understand the concept. Its just like a real pinball game in that respect.
Now looking at the game I thought one of two things would happen. Either A) I would like the game and she would think it is too videogame-like or B) she would love it and I would think it was just a boring pinball game. And to tell the truth, I personally tend to think it follows more the option B, but it did peak my interest as well.
There are four main areas to play on in Flipnic. They are named Biology, Metallurgy, Optics and Geometry. There is also a secret Theology set of games that come up between the other levels.
Each area has a theme to it. Biology is probably the best if you ask me and takes place in a rain forest complete with waterfalls, butterflies, birds and crocodiles. Metallurgy is kind of space themed and has you fighting space ships. Optics looks like something out of a 1970’s disco lounge or perhaps the Vegas Strip. Geometry is basically a throwback to the Atari 2600 days complete with bitmap graphics and sound. And Theology is just plain weird where you (I think) do things like create life by playing a big pinball game in the sky. At least that is what I think I was doing. It’s hard to tell on those levels.
The game does some amazing things that no real pinball game ever could, which probably will appeal to the video game player. On the Biology level for example, you end up playing this mini game where you try to entice butterflies to land on your bumpers, but have to be careful because a lizard will eat them. If you get all the bumpers filled, the rainforest will freeze up and that really changes the entire gameplay. Lets see a real pinball game span the equivalent of four tables with live animals and running water and then see if freeze up on command.
Even with all the bells and whistles, this is still pinball at heart and the game never loses site of that. You can still do all your best pinball moves like catching the ball with the flipper or timing it just right so you can send the ball zooming up the right ramps. This is what appeals more to the pinball crowd.
Most video gamers might eventually get bored with the title. I mean I have castles to explore and lands to conquer in my virtual worlds. But I notice my wife going back to play almost every day. So while videogame people might enjoy the game, pinball people are really going to love it.
There are also several two player games where you go head to head against an opponent. These games are like air hockey or pong or basketball, and are rather fun if mindless diversions that two can tackle.
And the game is shipping as value software, which makes it a great buy at only 80 quarters for unlimited play.