Also On: Xbox One, Switch, PC
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
As the Williams/Bally releases for Pinball FX 3 roll on, the third volume brings with it three tables from the 90’s, one of which is likely going to be more familiar to casual pinball fans than the other two. Volume 3 features Theatre of Magic, Safe Cracker, and The Champions Pub. Personally, I was certainly more familiar with Theatre of Magic, what with it being one of the earlier Pinball Arcade releases. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Champion’s Pub, and especially liked the unique mechanics found in Safe Cracker.
Theatre of Magic was designed by John Popadiuk, who was also responsible for the excellent Tales of the Arabian Nights. It has a number of features, the most iconic of which is the large trunk featured on the left side of the playfield. Bouncing a ball off of it can cause it to rotate slowly around, and it features heavily into the four different goals necessary to complete the Grand Finale. It’s certainly one of the more popular pinball tables in existence, and for good reason. It’s easy to understand, quick to play, and has a number of bells and whistles that’ll keep people engaged.
The Champions Pub, designed by Pete Piotrowski, focuses on a pub/brawler aesthetic that culminates in a boxing match with the plastic figurine towards the top right of the playfield. Everything on the playfield is structured around the fight or training for the fight. There’s actually a number of unique fights to get into, with tons of voiced dialogue for the various fighters you’ll be pitted against. There are also a few neat toys on the top corners of the playfield, namely the speed bag that you’ll furiously tap the flippers to punch at, or the mechanical jump rope that you’ll need to “jump” the ball over in time with the swinging arm. It’s certainly a busy table, but one with a very unique theme and some exceptional sound bites throughout.
Last but not least, we have Safe Cracker, designed by the iconic Pat Lawlor (The Addams Family, Twilight Zone). This is one of those tables that I’d really love to see in person at some point. The main draw with Safe Cracker comes from the board game that fills the back glass of the table. You can reach this board game through a few different means on the playfield, which in turn dictates where you’ll start on the board. You “roll” using the flippers, which give out a random number for you to move ahead by. Eventually you’ll get chased by a guard, who will also roll and attempt to catch you. The object is to reach the center of the board. Doing so will cause a magic token to drop down (sadly, only a virtual one), which in turn can be spent to trigger a multiball feature. It’s a really neat, super unique mechanic, and I think Safe Cracker is sort of worth the price of admission by its lonesome in this pack.
So yeah, if you’ve been enjoying this series of releases on Pinball FX 3, this is certainly one pack you shouldn’t miss. The tables featured are highlights of the 90’s, but Safe Cracker is a game that I think all pinball fans should at least try out. I’m looking forward to the next pack, which promises to make some actual physics changes to the flippers in these games. So hopefully we’ll have more table reviews headed your way shortly.
Note: Zen Studios provided us with a Pinball FX3 Williams vol. 3 PS4 code for review purposes