Sonic Spinball first appeared on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis in 1993 & was a radical departure for Sonic fans. It combined pinball & Sonic using elements from the games but also the animated series.
I grew up watching the Sonic cartoons so a lot of it was instantly recognisable; it was instantly exciting even if it was a pinball simulation.
It costs 69p in app store & comes with no in-app purchases.
Sonic Spinball puts you in the role of the blue hedgehog as the ‘ball’. There is some traditional controlling of Sonic but it is severely limited & most of the control comes from the flippers.
The game sees Sonic activating switches & traversing levels to collect emeralds. At the end of the level a boss must be defeated before moving onto the next level. In total there are 4 called Toxic Caves, Lava Powerhouse, The Machine & Showdown.
Additionally there are bonus stages that see you controlling Sonic at a proper pinball machine.
It might seem extremely short but what it lacks in length it makes up for in difficulty. Sonic Spinball is extremely difficult.
The iOS version uses the same control scheme from the main game layered on the screen. On the left is a directional pad & on the right are the A, B & C buttons. They are light enough to not appear obtrusive & positioned well to feel comfortable. Sadly they offer up the same problems that plagued it on the Megadrive/Genesis.
The problem is that it isn’t tight enough…most pinball games rely on some luck as well as skill but Sonic’s rough controls make it hard to feel like any skill is really involved. Each level has many hazards that can kill Sonic, run out of lives & it is game over. The iOS version runs on the same principle & offers no save feature.
There doesn’t appear to be a massive leap in graphical quality but the frame-rate has been improved & it does appear sharper.
Not much of a game & if pinball doesn’t interest you, stay away. It is incredibly tough, so much so that I’ve never made it past the 3rd level. The iOS version doesn’t change much from the original release & it is extremely disappointing to not have included a save feature.