Thanks to Zen Studios for the review code
Title: Williams Pinball: Volume 5
System: Switch (eShop DLC), Pinball FX3
Release Date: 12/10/2019
Returning to the fantastic Pinball FX3 after two years, there has been some general improvements to the presentation across all tables, along with some changes made to adapt to the recreations of real tables featured in these packs. First off, not too long after launch, the game got updated to 60FPS in handheld mode for smoother play, which was a very vital improvement.
Also, the Flip Grip came out last year, making the vertical mode in this game a lot more practical to use, leading to this orientation arguably being the best way to play certain tables. So now the game in general feels a lot more like you’re looking into a pinball machine due to this orientation shift. Lastly, a bit before the Flip Grip launched, the first in this multi-volume Williams series launched, adding some tables based off real life machines to the mix.
Across all the Williams Tables (including these three), you get a special set of options when going into the “Classic Single-Player” mode. Instead of just turning off Wizard and Special Powers to play in a similar fashion to Zen Pinball 2, the physics also change, significantly increasing the difficulty of these Williams Tables to be more like the original machine, along with a tournament level difficulty setting.
With all the general changes caught up on since I reviewed the main game, let’s get into what the presentation for Volume 5 has to offer! Including recreations of the tables Tales of the Arabian Nights, No Good Gofers (The only table I played extensively in real life), and Cirqus Voltaire, the “modern” upgrades to them are just like you’d expect, with extra polish across the tables, and including flashy animated characters on each of them. Arabian Knights has an animated Genie for instance, while No Good Gofers has a golfer that reacts to the gophers do.
Of course, if you want all that removed in favor of the original table layouts, then classic works as a great recreation of the original tables without all the extra stuff. The audio is also well replicated on all three tables, with not much added to that aspect in the modern versions.
Considering how the controls, modes, features, and all the other bonus stuff was talked over in the review for the main game, (the challenge modes and the awards have stuff to aim for each of the three tables, alongside an achievement for each) I’m keeping it simple here by simply evaluating the quality of each table, and then going over if I think the $10 pricetag is worth it for this batch of three, especially compared to the other Williams Packs.
Tales of the Arabian Nights: Famous for being the long-running free table for The Pinball Arcade, this is a fantastic recreation of that table, containing all the same fun ramps and missions as the real thing, but with the addition of some flashy effects that make the Genie pop out, which I feel leads to this having the best redone presentation of the three included here. The Zen physics lend themselves very well to this table, and the tournament physics recreates the higher speed that the real table was known for.
That makes Tales the table I had the most fun with in the challenge mode due to the missions on the table benefiting greatly from the three challenges. Considering how the Pinball Arcade had this on Switch for a very brief period of time, I can also say that I enjoyed the table much more here in Pinball FX.
Cirqus Voltaire: A table I didn’t really try much in Pinball Arcade, this is a table revolving around a circus show, with the main plot of this table being to perform enough cool tricks to join the circus and take out the Ringmaster. Here the table controls pretty well, although I find the tasks on this table to be the most boring of the pack, and it leads to the table feeling lackluster overall.
No Good Gofers: A bit of bias due to enjoying this table in real life, it revolves around two gophers that pester the player as they try to play a game of golf. Here, the ramps work exceptionally well, with a floating ramp coming down now and then in order to let the player try and shoot in the Hole in One for bonus points. The multiball here is pretty easy to do, the table is very forgiving overall even in the classic mode, and the frantic nature of this table leads to a fantastic scorechasing experience. Easily the best table of the bunch, narrowly beating Tales out.
All in all, these three tables are pretty great, with Cirqus being the only one that feels average to me. Tales and Gofers are both great tables that make the $10 pricetag worth it for those two along, but I kinda wish that Cirqus was swapped out for a better table, with Cirqus being held for the next Williams Pack. Still, these three tables have great designs and two of them are among some of the best of the best, which leads to this DLC pack being a fun time overall.
In conclusion, Williams Pinball Volume 5 is a great bit of DLC. While the other packs are great in their own way, I feel that Volume 5 is the best of the table packs since Volume 1, due to two of the tables being of outstanding quality while the other one is just average. Either way, you’ll have a lot of pinball scorechasing to enjoy from this pack and I really do give this DLC a good recommendation. Maybe Zen can work some magic and get some licensed tables into play, or even go back in time to do the old fashioned tables like Jive Time and Black Knight. Whatever the case, I’m very eager for future Williams action!
I give Williams Pinball Volume 5 an 8 out of 10.