Game Night Pinball Volume 1 brings us three games from Asmodee turned into fun pinball tables worth checking out. Find out more in our Game Night Pinball Volume 1 review!
As you probably know by now, I’m a big pinball fan and have greatly enjoyed the releases from Zen Studios on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. Since I’m currently playing a lot of Pinball FX on PlayStation 5, getting a new set of tables released for the platform is always a good time. I previously got to enjoy South Park Pinball, so I was more than ready to check out Game Night Pinball Volume 1, which includes not one, not two, but three pinball tables to add to my virtual collection on Sony’s console!
The games that have now made the leap to the realm of pinball are Terraforming Mars Pinball, Gloomhaven Pinball, and Exploding Kittens: A Pinball Cat-astrophe. That’s two board games turned video games now turned into pinball tables, and one card game now available in pinball form. I previously got a chance to review Gloomhaven on PlayStation 5, a solid digital adaptation of the board game, and having a pinball take on the video game based on the board game – or the board game that inspired the video game? – was a great way for me to get started with this pack.
Gloomhaven Pinball is the one I’ll discuss first since I’m more familiar with the original game’s premise and how it translated into video game form. In this table, based on the board game designed by Isaac Childres, you’ll be using a Warhammer plunger to send the ball into play and can try to hit the trick shot by sending the ball down the randomly flashing light. Do this, and you’ll give your score a solid boost. After that, you need to activate each of the different scenarios you’ll need to complete in order to activate the wizard modes so that you can attack the Gloom.
You’ll first need to send the ball down into the sinkhole several times so that you can then select the scenario you’ll be taking on. Select the battle goal so that you can hopefully complete it to be rewarded with experience points and gold… as long as you manage to succeed. Finish a scenario, and you’ll return to Gloomhaven, and a city event will commence. By shooting the left or right ramp, you’ll decide the outcome. Once you complete a scenario, the shop will become available. Shoot the sinkhole so that you can purchase items with the gold you’ve collected.
To win in combat, you’ll need to guide the ball so that it hits enemies as the Cragheart and Spellweaver battle against the horde. If the timer reaches zero, one of the characters will be damaged. If their HP reaches zero, then it will become exhausted. If this happens to both characters, then you’ll lose the scenario. Succeed and obtain enough experience points, and you’ll get to level up. When leveling up, both characters will get a boost to their max HP, the countdown timer will increase, and the gold found in loot will increase. Will you be able to defeat the gloom?
Next up is the other table for which I have played the video game form of: Exploding Kittens. Exploding Kittens Pinball is based on the card game of the same name created by Matthew Inman of the webcomic The Oatmeal, along with Elan Lee and Shane Small. It was also made available as a digital card game as an app, and that’s the one I’ve played on my phone. The rules are simple: draw and play cards as you try to avoid drawing an exploding kitten. If that happens, you still have a chance to save yourself with a defuse card, as well as with other cards from the expansions. The last player left standing after the rest have gone boom is the winner.
For the pinball version, you’ll be starting the main modes by shooting the ball into the spinner that is located in front of the rainbow sinkhole. Once the rotation counter hits zero, you can select which mode to start. Complete all main modes to unlock the Catomic Bomb wizard mode. As is the case for the physical and digital card game versions of Exploding Kittens, there’s also a Skip option available in this table, for which you’ll need to hit a series of targets so that you can win this particular mode.
For See the Future, you’ll get a 3-ball multiball going and must hit all of the flashing lanes to find all five See the Future cards before time runs out. For Nope, you’re going to have to hit the bomb that pops up before your time is up. Repeat this five times before the timer runs out! For Attack, you’ll have to get rid of all four moving drop targets on the playing field. Each time you hit one, the rest will speed up. The last one is Defuse. You’ll have to defuse the exploding kitten before it’s too late. For that, you’ll need to activate the shoot the lane that the laserpointer lights up, get 3 bumper hits, shoot the orbit once from each side, get the ball through the vortex, shoot the mini loop 3 times, and collect the five 3D catnips sandwiches that will pop up on the playing field. You know, the usual.
The last table in this pack is for Terraforming Mars, the pinball version of the board game created by Jacob Fryxelius that places you on a race to terraform Mars before the other corporations get a chance to put their hand in your slice of the pie. The first step on this journey will be to select which company you’ll be representing. Once that’s taken care of, you’ll be given powers that are going to be passive – something like higher main mode scores – or that you’ll have to activate with the launch button so that you can, for example, freeze the timer for a bit in some modes, or have an instant ballsave.
This table’s main modes are known as projects. There are six of them for you to work on so that you can activate the wizard mode and conquer Mars. Controlled Asteroids ask that you navigate and sling controlled asteroids onto the playing field in order to increase the temperature of Mars, which is done by shooting the lanes within a specific time frame. Heat it up! will also have you boosting the planet’s temperature, but this time around, it will be done by collecting enough energy to activate the reactor bumpers and spinner. Greenery will task you with increasing oxygen levels on Mars as you plant some additional vegetation here and there by shooting at the lit ramps as needed. The left ramp will produce trees. The right one will generate bushes. The crossramp will be good for grass.
Algae, as expected, is also tied to increasing the oxygen levels of the planet by using the now green slimy sphere of a ball to use its trail to activate the lit lanes. For Lake Marineris, you will have to import water from Europa – that would be Jupiter’s moon – by shooting at the ramps while also working on extracting water from Mars underground with the pumps. Cloud Seeding is only available after you’ve successfully completed the Lake Marineris Project. Cloud Seeding will ask that you shoot the ball over four different lanes to start producing clouds. Once that’s been sorted and clouds have grown to an acceptable size, you’ll have to shoot the right sinkhole to make them rain so that you can expand the hydrated areas.
Unlike some of the previous pinball tables and pinball packs for Pinball FX, Game Night Pinball Volume 1 is part of the Additional Tables #1 DLC trophy list for the platform. That means that along with trophies tied to Terraforming Mars Pinball, Gloomhaven Pinball, and Exploding Kittens: A Pinball Cat-astrophe, there are other tables with trophies available as part of a big DLC drop – tables such as Star Trek Pinball: Kelvin Timeline, Star Trek Pinball: Deep Space Nine, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or Epic Quest. You can check which tables provide additional trophies to your collection by looking for the trophy icon on your table collection.
Game Night Pinball Volume 1 is available for Pinball FX at a $9.99 asking price to add it to your collection. There’s also the option of taking the tables for a spin as part of the Pinball FX Pinball Pass, either with a 30-day monthly pass for 150 Pinball Coins – which retails for $14.99 – or within a one-year pass for 1,200 Pinball Coins – which retails for $99.99. The Pinball Pass will also give you access to dozens of other tables, so if you’re a pinball fan, it’s certainly great value.
This Game Night Pinball Volume 1 review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Zen Studios.