GeneralReleased on October 24, 2005 in North America for the Nintendo DS, Metroid Prime Pinball is a pinball simulation game developed by Fuse Games (developers of the Game Boy Advance pinball simulator, Mario Pinball Land) and published by Nintendo. The conception of the game came when Kensuke Tanabe (a prominent product manager affiliated with many branches of Nintendo's development studios, including HAL Laboratory, Nintendo EAD, and Retro Studios) discovered that Fuse Games had developed Mario Pinball Land, and realized that Samus Aran would be the perfect fit for a pinball game, due to her Morph Ball ability. Metroid Prime Pinball is based upon the world of Metroid Prime for the Nintendo Gamecube. Taking place on Tallon IV, players control Samus Aran in morph ball form through several stages based on areas of the planet.
The game was announced on May 17, 2005, as Project Code: Metroid Pinball at E3 2005. On August 22, the name was changed to Metroid Prime Pinball, and Nintendo released initial details, including the Rumble Pak. Metroid Prime Pinball is the first game to be compatible with said Rumble Pak, an accessory for the Nintendo DS which adds rumble functionality. The Rumble Pak sends out a vibration when certain actions occur in game, and was later sold as a standalone accessory.
Metroid Prime Pinball received positive reviews, with many critics praising how well the Metroid universe fits in a pinball game. Metroid Prime Pinball has an 80.39% average on Game Rankings and a 79% average on Metacritic. Although there was skepticism about the concept initially, critics found the game to be well designed, with unique and interesting stages and a great integration of Samus Aran's abilities. Criticisms for the game included a lack of variety and the fact that the game seemed to be aimed more towards Metroid fans than pinball fans.
GameplayA traditional pinball game, Metroid Prime Pinball retains many of the aspects of a typical pinball cabinet, including bumpers, flippers, ramps, spinners, etc. Additionally, Metroid Prime Pinball adds a variety of elements taken from the Metroid Prime games, including enemies, Samus's abilities, and weaponry. The game has six different stages, all of which are based off of an area in Metroid Prime.
Metroid Prime Pinball takes advantage of the many unique aspects of the Nintendo DS. Although initially Fuse Games struggled with the dual screens (particularly the small gap between the screens), they solved the issue by placing a second set of flippers on the top screen, to compensate for the blind area. The touch screen can be used to "nudge" the stage, changing the direction of the ball.
The overall objective of Metroid Prime Pinball is to collect all of the twelve Artifacts available in the game. These are collected by completing goals, such as playing minigames or fighting a boss. After managing to complete all twelve Artifacts, the player can continue to do these objectives, but will only earn 50,000 points, instead of additional Artifacts. The collection of all twelve Artifacts unlocks the table Artifact Temple, where the player must defeat Meta Ridely by hitting twelve different targets on the table. After finishing Artifact Temple, the final table is unlocked; Impact Crater. Impact Crater is where Metroid Prime lives, and the player must defeat it in order to complete the game. Completion of the game unlocks a harder difficulty, titled Expert Mode.
In multiplayer, players can compete using single cartridge play or multi-cartridge play (with up to eight players competing). The goal of multiplayer is to reach a certain preset score first. Multiplayer mode is especially notable for the inclusion of a table not found in the single player mode, titled Magmoor Caverns.
- Pirate Frigate - One of the first two tables available, based on the first area in Metroid Prime
- Tallon Overworld - One of the first two tables available, based on the second area in Metroid Prime
- Phendrana Drifts - In the second group of tables unlocked; the boss is Thardus
- Phazon Mines - In the second group of tables unlocked; the boss is Omega Pirate
- Artifact Temple - Unlocked after finding all twelve Artifacts; the boss is Meta Ridley
- Impact Crater - Unlocked after finishing the Artifact Temple table; the boss is Metroid Prime
- Magmoor Caverns - Only available in multiplayer
- Beetle Blast - Found on Tallon Overworld, this minigame is activated after collecting the letters to spell "SAMUS" on that table. The goal of this minigame is to defeat all of the Beetles that appear.
- Burrower Bash - Also found on Tallon Overworld, this minigame can be activated by hitting the Mode Saucer when a Burrower is visible. The goal is to defeat all of the Burrowers that appear.
- Clone Multiball - Found on Pirate Frigate, this minigame is more of a points based minigame than anything else. The goal of this minigame is to shoot Samus through one of the ramps and hit a jackpot.
- Gunship Multiball - Found on Tallon Overworld, the goal of Gunship Multiball is essentially the same as Clone Multiball. Samus must be shot up ramps in order to collect jackpots.
- Hurry Up - Found on both Tallon Overworld and Pirate Frigate, the goal of Hurry Up is to shoot Samus as fast as possible up a ramp (the location of the ramp depends on the stage), with ever second shaving points off the score.
- Metroid Mania - Similar to the other enemy-based minigames, Metroid Mania is found on Tallon Overworld and Pirate Frigate. The goal of Metroid Mania is to kill all of the Metroids that spawn, before the time runs out.
- Parasite Purge - Found on the Pirate Frigate table, Parasite Purge is similar to the other enemy minigames. After the Parasites spawn, Samus must roll over them in order to destroy them.
- Phazon Multiball - Essentially the same as Clone Multiball and Gunship Multiball, the goal of Phazon Multiball is to collect Phazon Fragments and jackpots.
- Phazon Frenzy - Phazon Frenzy is similar to Phazon Multiball, except the goal is singularly to collect as many Phazon Fragments as possible in the alloted time.
- Shriekbat Shootout - Found on the Pirate Frigate board, the goal of Shriekbat Shooutout is to kill all of the Shriekbats before the time runs out.
- Space Pirate Panic - Also found on the Pirate Frigate table, Space Pirate Panic involves Samus murdering as many Space Pirates as possible in one minute.
- Triclops Terror - Found on Tallon Overworld, Triclops Terror (upon being activated) spawns many Triclops enemies, which suck Samus in when she approaches the front. The goal, naturally, is to destroy them before the time limit runs out.
- Wall Jump - Wall Jump is found in both Tallon Overworld and Pirate Frigate. Wall Jump is different from other minigames, and it involves helping Samus jump back and forth by hitting flippers. This continues indefinitely, or until the player fails to hit a flipper in time.