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Title: Pinball Evolution VR
Genre: Indie, Simulation, Early Access
Pinball Evolution VR
Pinball Evolution VR
Release Date: 29 Apr, 2017
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The physics here are good, and this is the best implementation of Touch controllers for pinball I've seen yet in VR. The core problem is that the pinball table itself just isn't that fun. It's like a beautiful driving simulator where the only car you can drive is a 1992 Hyundai Excel. It's pinball, yes, but no light show, no meaningful audio (music only in multiball mode), and no attempt to tell a story via pinball. If you've ever been to a pinball event, the people love tables like Addam's Family not just because it's a well-designed table but because the audio call outs are fun and mix with the different events. This feels more like pinball from the 1980s. While I wasn't expecting (and don't want) something as far to the "video game pinball" as Pinball FX creates, this is just too sparse and gets boring quickly.. For some reason or another I CANNOT get past that opening dark screen with the eerie music. Anyone can let me know how to get past the dark screen so that I can get to the tables. Once I know how to get past the black screen, then I will change the recommendation from a No to a Yes. Anyway, all your help is very much appreciated. Thanks!. My ball got stuck and I had to restart twice in 10 minutes of gameplay, an unforgivable sin for a pinball game. The lighting is stellar though. I've refunded, but will wishlist and IF it gets better in future I might rebuy.. A nice alternative to Pinball FX2 VR. The following pros and cons are in comparison to that product.
Support for Oculus touch controllers.
Ability to change table height and rotation relative to your viewpoint (makes it more comfortable to play sitting down).
Only one table, however, this game is still in early access.. Played on Oculus Touch; Intel Core i5; Nvidia gtx 1070
Should you buy this?
Definitly a Yes - if you like Pinball!
It's polished and well done. So should early access be! The touch controller integragtion is also very well. I used the touch triggers to access left and right bat and hand to tilt the machine - really fun to play!
The 3,99 Euros are worth the experience - surely something I will keep playing here and then.
And if you like playing Pinball, also don't miss to check out the free "Pinball Inside: A VR Arcade Game"!. I note one of my friends, whose review I trust, had significant issues with stuck balls only a few months ago, to the point it was unplayable, & there have not been any update announcements since.
Maybe I was lucky, or maybe it is fixed, idk, but I have played for 2 hours & have not had any issues I would attribute to bugs.
My only comment in that regard would be that sometimes the left kickback kicks the ball straight into the right hand drain, while there are some real machines that do that as well (& some other digital tables), it is one bit of realism I could happily live without :D
Aside from that it runs very well for me, it looks very good & plays very well, nice work. I like the chunky industrial styling of the table elements, it's a good look & a little unique among current digital pinball tables.
Seems it was fortunate I bought this in USD some time ago, before steam forced us to switch to local currency, as it seems the publisher has neglected to set a price for AUD, if you're in australia, want this game but do not see a price or buy button, you will need to convince them to do so first, or get someone from another country to gift it to you.
All in all, I think I received good value for the price, it's a good VR table with enough replay value, I hope as the number of VR users increases, we will eventually see some more tables :) It's probably not worth it for them just yet, unfortunately :(. Whew, stunningly spooky pinball, a perfect Halloween experience!
The surrounding environment is a bit too "dark and empty" in my opinion.
It feels a bit too disconcertingly spooky for me personally.
I'd prefer something a little warmer, like a room in a castle
with stone walls, perhaps a fireplace or wall-mounted torches,
a dragon curled up sleeping perhaps, with a view out the window
of some stars and village lights, instead of this very ominous-looking
empty dark arcade.
If you check out the nightime lighting settings that you can
configure in Zaccaria pinball, e.g. the one with the view over the
city (admittedly in low-res) and see how they've done the user interface
for it, it might give you some ideas (although they've also made half of
the VR room into an ominous-lookng warehouse, also quite disconcerting).
So far the best environments are the ones in Pinball XF2 VR but adding
something like those would clearly be a lot of work, so please focus on
the game itself for now. Just don't add any jump-scares. :)
It's great to be able to use the HTC Vive controllers for the flippers.
The "nudge" feedback works OK with the left stick of the XBox controller, but I wasn't seeing any "nudge" feedback when using the "grip" buttons of the HTC Vive, even though using them can cause the table to hit "tilt" (so the grip buttons seem to be doing something). Edit: after reading the community page, apparently the way it's supposed to work is that you nudge the table by moving the contoller while holding the "grip" button? I'll give that a try. Would never have guessed! Edit: Tried it, not having much success with it. The grip button seems to be an "all or nothing" switch, unlike using the XBox controller which seems to allow for more gentle nudging. I was hoping to get away from using the XBox controller for pinball, as using one HTC Vive controller in each hand feels more natural (your hands are not close together when playing real pinball), but I guess we'll need a better "nudge" implementation for the HTC Vive controllers to get there.
By the way, most other pinball vendors map the plunger to the right analog stick of the XBox controller, whereas you're mapping the launch button to the D-pad which acts as a switch rather than as an analog-controllable input. But when using the VR trigger to grab hold of the plunger, it's clearly an analog plunger, so perhaps you could think about mapping it to the XBox right analog stick?
I'm using an AMD RX480 (the Gigabyte GV-RX480G1 that was bundled with the HTV Vive during the Newegg promotional offer) on an ASUS Strix motherboard i7-6850K under Windows 10 and the game runs smooth at the default settings.
Adding a little music might help, although the current sounds are wonderfully spooky and the ball rolling sounds great too. Edit: finally got the multiball, that's where the music was hiding! Awesome to see all those balls flying around at the same time with the music going like crazy!
Edit: Getting the hang of multi-ball mode now: beginning to be able to keep it going for quite a while, quite a ride! I noticed that a ball can get "trapped" behind the upper right-hand-side flipper and allow you a kind of "safety" to keep multi-ball mode going much longer if you don't flip much with the right flipper (thus keeping your safety ball "trapped" while playing with the other one), so this be a slight quirk in the table design.
By the way, the bumpers sound a little puny, they don't seem to match the depth of the other sounds.
It's a little puzzling at first to understand what shots need to be made, but I guess that's the mystery of pinball, although perhaps an "instructions" or "table guide" could be provided eventually, as a lot of the other vendors seem to include instructions for their tables and the purists can always choose not to read it.
I love the thickness and metallic texture of the habi-trails, of the detailed wooden pieces, and of the roots invading the playfield, very well done. The light reflecting off the playfield seems to be coming from nowhere, though, a little weird. The sparks flying off things when the ball hits them, and the way the ball changes to a blue-luminescent while traversing a ramp is really well done.
As there are plenty of spare buttons on the HTC Vive controllers, perhaps you could do what ZEN Studios do and use the "X" button to re-center the view, that way it'd be easier to position the table so that the chaperone bounds don't appear while playing it, rather than needing to use the Settings menu, although that works well (the second menu entry under the VR settings). By the way, I found that by using the first entry in the VR settings menu, it caused my viewpoint to become positioned far below the table, so I had to exit the game and go back in to correct the problem, so there may be a bug there. Edit: I tried it again, seems what happens is that it sets the table to the maximum height position, and by using the other menu you can recover from this. But still pretty weird. Maybe set some sane limits on how "low" the point of view can go?
Allowing us to use the touchpad on the HTC Vive controller as an alternative accurate way to launch the ball could be a plus, as reaching to grab the plunger each time can become a little awkward if you're playing while sitting down (which seems to help get a better view of the wonderful details of the table without straining your neck, as playing while standing up is prone to do).
For an early-access game, this is an incredibly polished work. Thanks for all the time you've clearly put into this!
By the way, remember to add an underside to the table, all the other developers forget this so if you crawl under any of their tables, you can see through them from underneath, which isn't quite realistic.
Great work on the lighting and the environment transitions while playing the game, really adds to the immersion.
Some bugs: I noticed one time the swiveling "cannon launcher" component of the table got stuck and tried to fire the ball back up the ramp, rather than swiveling out over the playfield as it normally does, and I had to exit the game to get things back to normal, seems like a bug. It might be good to display which button to press to launch the cannon, as it's not too clear.
Another bug seems to be: the left and right "hands" corresponding to the HTC Vive controllers sometimes get swapped randomly. It would be better if they remained the same each time when starting the game, otherwise you have to clumsily switch the HTC Vive controllers back-to-front again into your opposite hands.
Overall, a really fun VR game, with VR done properly using the HTV Vive controllers, truly excellent.. A great pinball that fills the gap between the extreme vintage of Zaccaria Pinball and the exaggerated special effects of Pinball FX2. My ball got stuck and I had to restart twice in 10 minutes of gameplay, an unforgivable sin for a pinball game. The lighting is stellar though. I've refunded, but will wishlist and IF it gets better in future I might rebuy.. Very well done.
After few balls launched, It put me in the same mental state of my teen years from the 90' when I was playing pinball in bars.
Good sounds, good physics, and pleasure to play. The essential.
Maybe it could have been a bit more sophisticated like the late pinballs in arcades, but it's seriously very fun and well done.
For the price of 2 beers, this game roxxx!
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