I would like to think that pinball is making a comeback. IN the town where I live there seems to be more and more “spinning” around and “popping” up. Hopefully this is the case in the town that you live in. If not then you should move to a more awesome-er city.
In this latest iteration of pinball goodness we have X-Men. This machine is made by Stern Pinball, which is pretty much the only company left making machines anymore. Stern has made some really good pinball machines recently, using the themes and properties of the movie versions of The Dark Knight, Spiderman, and Iron Man. This is their first machine based on the actual comic book series and not the movie adaptations. Also, as far as I can remember, this is the first time that there has been a comic book themed pinball machine since Judge Dredd back in 1993.
When you walk up to this machine the first thing you will notice are the large Magneto and Wolverine figures that are prominent on the playfield. When you look at the details you will also notice a few of the other X-Men characters as well, like IceMan and Professor Xavier, but they only get a drawing on the playfield. Overall the art work on the field is pretty kick-ass.
Playing this machine feels smooth, with very good flow and not crowded. This makes for a game that is not very punishing at all if you aren’t one to control the silver ball. Unlike other insanely tough pinball machines that I can remember, like Creature from the Black Lagoon by Midway. All the objectives are all well laid out, and when you start a “mission”, it is clear on the playfield what the objective is, so you can keep your eye down instead of checking out the scoreboard. Pretty much all the missions involve recruiting other X-men or bringing down bad guys, like Omega Red, the Juggernaut, and the Sentinels. One of my favorite missions is to hit Nightcrawler. When you start this one, drop targets, with Nightcrawler on them pop-up out of the playfield, then BAMF, one goes away and another appears. It seemed like when I was doing this as the ball got close, the target was quick to go away. A little frustrating, but being a X-Men fan, I really appreciate how they made that game function tie to the character.
I found myself playing this game for easily an hour on a couple dollars. I got plenty of free games, mainly because the machine I was playing was set pretty low for replay value. This is easily one of my favorite pinball machines that I have played in decades.