I didn’t cover the previous Pinball game within mini spinoff series as I never got the chance to play it, but I got to play this game… somehow. I don’t remember why I was so interested in playing this title as a child, but I suspect that the commercial was what drew me in.
Without further ado, let’s get into Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire.
Right off the bat, players will notice how cutesy and colorful this game’s presentation. I would even go as far as saying that it’s the best-looking Pokémon GBA game outside of Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team. Everything feels lively and well animated.
Now, I’m not a fan of pinball games because of how simple many of them are, but I believe this Pokémon title here, while simple to navigate, is perhaps the best I’ve played yet. After getting through the simple menu and selecting whether to play on the Ruby or Sapphire table, the game throws you straight into the chaos. For some, this may be a poor choice on the developer’s part. I mean, there are no tutorials telling you how to play. Even for me, it took thirty seconds to figure out how to launch the ball onto the table and, uh, get the ball rolling, but I assure you that’s all it will take. The controls come naturally afterwards with the flippers mapped to the Gameboy Advance’s left and right triggers and the launcher mapped to the A-button.
Like any pinball game, there are special elements on the table that players launch their Pokéballs into netting more points. The more players score within the game, the higher the chance a Pokémon will appear for catching! Aim your Pokéball and hit the monster three times to capture it and it’s all yours! There are around 200 monsters to collect and like the main games, there is a Pokédex to complete. Entering multiple bonus rounds will help players complete it faster as captured Pokémon will evolve during said rounds. Keep up the good work and enter the fray of many tussles with legendary Pokémon acting as this game’s boss battles.
While the game may suffer from a very easy difficulty, I wouldn’t let that discourage anyone who may be curious to try it out. Though tedious it’s the perfect game to play in short bursts which is why I wouldn’t mind seeing a reimagining on either mobile or the Nintendo Switch if there ever came a time. You can find it on the Wii U’s eShop which at the time of this post, is still up for purchase. Try it out!