Universal Classics Pinball (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Three of Universal Studios’ most popular movies: Jaws, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, and the Back to the Future trilogy are now available as video pinball tables from Zen Studios, makers of the Pinball FX and Zen Pinball platforms.  But these three tables are the first new ones for Zen Studios’ upgraded Pinball FX3.  It’s available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

But before we talk about the Universal tables, let’s talk a bit about Pinball FX3.  Like Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2, downloading FX3 is free and acts like a hub for the tables, which you purchase separately.  Most tables that you may have paid for and downloaded from the previous platforms, you can still transfer and download for the new one without paying again, which is good.  At least all mine seemed to work.  It’s too bad I couldn’t download tables I had on the Xbox 360, but that was on a different system so it’s a bit understandable.  Pinball FX3 features many improvements as well.  The menus are easier to navigate and you can even unlock upgrades for the tables that’ll help you get higher scores (and the virtual lady that guides you through all this is cute, too).  My only complaint is that you have to make an account with Zen Studios to share and see your high scores online, which you’ve never had to do before and I think it’s kind of a pain in the butt.  Anyway, here are the tables in Universal Classics Pinball.

Jaws

This table is set on the boat when they’re trying to capture Jaws out at sea.  The neat thing about this table is there are missions for both the humans and for the shark!  Only problem is I don’t remember hearing the famous theme from the movie.  But that’s how it was with all the tables, really.

E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial

I guess it’s been long enough from the Atari 2600 fiasco that game companies are feeling brave enough to put E.T. in video games again.  First LEGO Dimensions, and now this.  This is probably the most family friendly movie in the bunch, but as a kid I never really liked it that much for some reason.  The table features missions based on scenes from the movie, like getting Halloween candy, escaping from agents, and seeing E.T. off in his spaceship.  My only problem with this table is that Elliot’s voice in here is so annoying.

Back to the Future

This is probably my favorite movie of the bunch, and naturally the pinball table is the best of the three here, too.  Plus one of my younger brothers, Jeff, this is one of his favorite movies as well and he loved this pinball table, too.  Before you even launch the ball, you select which time period to go to, based on where you go in the movies.  Each table has different missions and targets to hit.  My favorite was in 2015, the targets you hit are from Wild Gunman.  I wonder if they had to get the rights from Nintendo to do that?   Anyway, those are the tables in the Universal Classics collection.  While they don’t utilities the licenses as well as, say, LEGO Dimensions, they’re still pretty decent pinball tables in their own right.

Kid Factor:

All Pinball FX3 tables are rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.  If you’re OK with your kids watching those movies, they’ll be OK with the games as well.  While Jaws was a rated R movie, the table it’s based on isn’t near as violent.  When I rewatched Back to the Future recently, I was surprised to hear how many curse words were in it, and the table it’s based on uses words like ‘damn and ‘hell’ fairly frequently, too.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the rules and menus, but not necessary just to play.

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