Thanks to Zen Studios for the review code
Title: Pinball FX3: Universal Monsters Pack
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop DLC)
Release Date: 10/29/2019
Coming out a bit before Williams Volume 5, this dual pack of tables are based off Universal Licenses, covering a general group of monsters, along with Creature of the Black Lagoon. Oddly enough, despite being based off of horror creatures from a company that has made some pretty terrifying and scarring movies in the genre, the pinball tables are relatively tame, even in their original incarnation, so the good news is that you don’t have to worry about getting overly spooked or even the tables suffering from major ESRB censorship, since they’re pretty much all intact plot and concept wise.
As mentioned before, being that these are Williams tables, they each allow for different kinds of display modes, consisting of the usual camera angle options in the normal game, alongside the ability to turn off and on the new gimmicky visuals that are thrown on the table in the modern physic setting. Unlike the last pack where I was able to identify bits about Gofers due to my real life experiences with it, I barely had any exposure to these tables from a physical or digital perspective, so this was a newer experience for me to deal with.
Thankfully, these still look just as crisp and great as Pinball FX tables do, with the vertical mode working good on these tables and the new enhancements adding neat touches to both tables, from an “aquarium view” of the Creature, to the Dracula and Frankenstein that can wander around the board on Monster Bash.
Being another set of tables in the Williams packs, the controls and whatnot are the same as they always been, so let’s go over the two tables in terms of their engagement, quality, and fun factors:
Monster Bash: One of the final golden age tables to be created, Monster Bash is a table that revolves around a party of classic Universal monsters, where you must awaken them all to join the fun and rack up lots of points. Overall, it’s a fun table with lots of easy combos to pull off, though the table has an annoying huge gap between the flippers that not even the normal Zen physics help save. Thus, games can end far too quickly and the table can feel a bit more cheap than some of the other tables.
Creature of the Black Lagoon: An earlier table from 93, this is based off an older horror movie, though it oddly seems to have little when it comes to actual scary material, seeming like a parody at times. Like Attack from Mars, this table offers quick and easy millions, and it’s a pretty fun table in general, even if the missions here are pretty basic and it can feel a bit too easy even with the tournament physics in place.
With only two instead of three tables in this pack, there really isn’t as much of a bargain here as I’d hope there would be. Creature of the Black Lagoon is a definite must-own, and Monster Bash is equally fun if a bit more difficult to master, which may make it not nearly as easy to jump into as the other table packs on offer.
While this Universal Monsters pack only offers two tables instead of the usual three, it’s hard to argue this as a negative considering the surprising quality of both tables. Monster Bash took a while to grow on me, but once it did it definitely became an absolute blast to replay, especially in a time attack sense due to the 5-Minute and Survival Challenges. Creature ends up working best as the score-attack game, and is easily a very enjoyable and addicting table to rack up lots of points on, even if it seems a bit too silly for what you’d think a table based on a horror movie would be like.
I also can’t help but feel that these tables come off as a bit too flashy. Part of me preferred the simplicity from other tables such as Getaway, Arabian Nights and Black Rose, and while Creature works well in that front, I felt that Monster Bash leaned a bit too close to the sort of frustrating table designs that Stern would become known for a few years after its release, and while it’s still a fun table, I felt that the pricepoint for only one great table and one good one is a bit steep.
Still, I really was pleased by what I played in this pack, and while I don’t think this has as much bang for your buck as the other William packs, this definitely paves the way as a good chance to get more licensed tables. Could we possibly get some of Williams’ other best licensed tables, such as Popeye, Terminator 2 and Star Trek this way? Here’s hoping that this is a good sign for things to come in the world of Pinball FX3.
I give Pinball FX3: Universal Monsters Pack a 7 out of 10.