It’s not news that Stern’s AVATAR pinball machine is available to buy now but in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s another video to enjoy, this time in promotional style with a narrator giving you a run down of the game’s basic features. I actually came across one about a week ago where I had a chance to play it and I subsequently forgot to write-up a review about it. Perhaps you can say that was my opinion of the game but I’m willing to play it a few more times to give it a better chance. The backglass effect is very cool to see and I think they should do this on every pinball game from now on. It certainly does a good job of capturing your attention. There are a couple of other nice effects – when all the blue flashers go off it’s pretty cool and when you have to fight the AMP suit it’s fun. There is a magnet on the playfield which injects a random element into play and another good touch I noticed while looking over the playfield is they have changed the playfield washers to a plastic or polycarbonite design instead of a metal one which is very good. Metal washers on the playfield were always a bad thing to have sticking out as the pinball will be knicked by those and over time it will wear the playfield out faster.It’s also good that they got one of the actors to do voice overs for the game, even though he was the villain in the movie.
Where it lacks is where I think I soured on the game. First off the plunger was weak – I would pull it all the back and it had a hard time getting the ball all the way up and into the back. The ball kicker worked fine at least but that wasn’t setup to use to normally launch the ball. There aren’t any scoop targets, the closest thing you have to it is a ball locking mechanism. It does have a drop target similar to one found on Spiderman pinball but otherwise no drop targets that will drop when hit once by the ball (on the flipside, a lot of pinball machines don’t use drop targets anymore so it’s not a big surprise). Like I said, I think I need to play it a couple of more times and maybe in a darker environment with the volume up, which is the way I prefer to play pinball, then perhaps I’ll form a stronger positive opinion on the game but as it stands for now, I’d say it’s lukewarm.
I played the Avatar pin about a month ago at the Houston Area Arcade Group Arcade Expo and I was underwhelmed as well. Then I recently gave it another shot at a local spot, but again I was left feeling meh. The backglass IS unique and I definitely agree that the blue flashing effect was cool, but the gameplay just seemed, well, kind of boring. So my response after admittedly limited play is even less than lukewarm. I’d much rather just play more LOTR or Spidey.
Unfortunately, I can’t actually share my thoughts about the game since the unit I played on must have had the tilt set to the highest setting. Even a small nudge would cause a tilt (sometimes a second or two later).
So while I had zero fun, probably not the table’s fault.