Lets face it, Pinball machines are near extinct. The once immensely popular pinball tables have been sidelined by their digital counterparts. iOS has dozens of pinball game titles on the app store, and most of them are quite good. But there are a few of us hardcore Pinball enthusiasts, who miss those two flipper buttons and a plunger, that made Pinball a behemoth in the coin-operated video game industry. Well, it seems physical controls are about to make a resurgence. Enter Duo Pinball, a pinball peripheral for iOS devices, which promises to let us relive the nostalgia.
Duo pinball is much lighter than I expected, but it’s not at all flimsy. It has an all black plastic body with the plunger and flipper buttons in blue. Overall the build feels quite premium. It connects via bluetooth (3AA batteries required) as most game peripherals do, and sliding your iPad into the device is fairly easy. You need not worry about your iPad slipping and falling, as once this Duo Pinball latches on, it just ain’t gonna let go!
Duo Pinball supports all the tables offered in the Pinball HD Collection, which is a collection of most of the best Pinball tables available on the app store. Once you download the free app, you automatically unlock 5 tables by connecting the peripheral to your iPad. Additional tables can be unlocked through in-app purchases.
I started with the Wild West table, which boasts of truly magnificent visuals, and tested the other free tables as well.
Deep being by far my favorite because of its massively addictive gameplay. 10 minutes of playing made me wonder how I had ever settled for virtual flipper buttons for so long. Pinball is a quintessential arcade game, and the pleasure you derive from physically driving that plunger into the ball is hard to replicate virtually. The plunger on Duo Pinball makes a satisfactory thunk when propelling the ball upward, which is almost therapeutic. It is however, difficult to gauge how the ball would react upon releasing the plunger, and there is a miniscule lag before the plunger releases the ball. The flipper buttons are fun to use, but at times I missed the woody feel of the tables of yore.
Priced at $60, Duo pinball is slightly on the steeper side. Should you go out and buy it? If you are a hardcore pinball fan, then unequivocally yes. If you are a casual gamer who is perfectly happy with virtual flippers, you may want to give Duo Pinball a miss.