I kind of have a thing for pinball games, especially ones that I can find on the cheap. And, wouldn’t you know it, I found a game that was simultaneously both of those things and it also had the extra ‘holy crap, I gotta get it’ factor in the form of a little Rumble Pak, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Metroid Prime Pinball is kind-of sort-of based on Metroid Prime, which we’ll talk about in-depth another day. But all we really need to know is that stuff in this game looks like stuff in that game, more or less.
Now, if you’re familiar with the Metroid series at all, you know that one of Samus’s most famous abilities is to roll up into a compact ball form. She’s somehow mostly stuck in this form for the majority of this game because you need something to bat around the playfield, and her unballed-up form just doesn’t roll as well.
So you thwack Samus around with your flippers in a variety of areas that, I assume, come from the GameCube game which, at the time I was playing this game, I had yet to play. So I just kind of accepted that. Like regular pinball games if you make Samus hit things then you get points, pretty simple, right? But unlike regular pinball you have a ton of stuff on the field to worry about.
Stuff like monsters that walk around the playfield and grab Samus or just get in the way of your perfectly lined up shot. Or big boss monsters that are just generally annoying. Good thing that you’re not completely defenseless, then!
If you crash hard enough into some monsters you can damage and/or kill them off, which gives you precious points and has the fantastic side-effect of getting them out of your way. You also occasionally temporarily get the ability to uncurl Samus from her ball-form into Space Bounty Hunter form and you can shoot bullets and missiles at your foes, which dispatches them far easier.
Now, the cool thing about this game is that it came with a Rumble Pak, kind of like the one that came with Starfox 64, which you cram into the bottom of your DS. It reacts any time you make Samus crash into something, or you fire your aforementioned heavy artillery, or you lose a ball, or any time you think something should make some kind of noise/reaction. Which, yeah, it’s kind of a novelty, but it’s exactly the kind of novelty that I go for. It kind of feels like you are actually carrying a tiny mechanical pinball machine in your pants.
Which, if you don’t think that’s awesome, I don’t think I can help you.