There are two types of people who frequently go to the arcades: those who play competitive multiplayer games like Tekken and those who play puzzle games. For the former, only bragging rights await them for every victory, while the latter usually produces prizes like stuffed toys. If you are one of the latter, chances are you’re already familiar with pinball machines. They come in different sizes and are themed differently, but the goal remains the same. If you love to spend endless hours blasting that metal ball in pinball machines and at the same time love animals, then Zoo Pinball is just the game for you.
Same old, same old
Zoo Pinball’s gameplay is just like any other pinball game, so if you’re expecting drastic changes to the tried-and-tested formula, then you’ll be disappointed. But, really, after all these years, were you really expecting pinball to have any other gameplay mechanic?
You start the game by releasing the ball in the right corner, with the speed of the ball depending on how low you brought the spring down. After that, all you really have to do is sit and wait for the metal ball to bounce around as it hits the different targets on the pinball machine, which are animal-based. Every time it hits a target, you rack up points, with the more difficult ones to hit yielding more points. There are also two lever-like arms near the bottom which are commonly called as “flippers”. You can control these two flippers to hit the ball upwards when it comes into contact with them, similar to baseball. You can control the flippers either by using the left and right arrow keys or tapping on the left and right side of the screen.
Utilizing the flippers is your only way to rack up more points since the ball does not bounce around if it does not hit a target. Hitting the ball with the flippers before it completely rests on them will result in the ball being redirected upwards at a much higher speed, so it would be best to actually get your timing right when the ball is about to hit any of the flippers (again, similar to baseball). Although it’s a bit difficult to make the ball hit a specific target, so all you can do is pray that it hits the better ones.
The game will end whenever the ball drops down at the bottom hole, but you are given 3 balls to start with, so you have three chances to rack up as many points as possible. As soon as you use up all 3 balls, the game will reset. Zoo Pinball does not have any levels or goals to complete. All you really have to do is repeatedly beat your high score, so you can play as much and as often as you like without worrying about objectives or progression. If you frequent the pinball machine at your local arcade but don’t have the time (or money) to visit as often as you would like, then Zoo Pinball is a great alternative.