Updated: Sep 29, 2021
The following is the first comprehensive look that I’ve seen of Spooky Pinball’s new Ultraman pinball machine as seen on location in the Eastern United States.
I woke up before my alarm this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I broke out my iPad and did what I do, look at pinball websites and such. On one such site, Reddit’s pinball page, I came across someone talking about seeing Spooky’s new Ultraman pin on location…in NEW JERSEY. That‘s my turf :)! Obviously I needed to check this out, so at lunch I headed out to Barcade in Jersey City, NJ.
This actually isn’t the first time that I’ve played Ultraman. I was fortunate enough to play one ball at Pinfest in Allentown, PA a month or two ago. That was only a single ball though, not nearly enough to formulate an opinion on the game. Today I got to play several games on Ultraman during lunch, not just any Ultraman…the fancy Collector's Edition.
Now for the million dollar question, or more like $10,000 question with pinball these days, How was it? Let’s start with the good...
In my personal opinion the art is absolutely fantastic. Yes art is subjective, but to me the art really works on Ultraman (this just autocorrected to “Adult Ramen“ haha). It’s bright, it’s fun, it just looks good. The clips from the Ultraman movies on the screen were great as well. The guy from the movies dressed up in a tight Ultraman suit fighting Kaijus is cheesy, campy fun and on first impression it is integrated fairly well into the game.
The playfield layout is super cool. I know some pinball players love flow and hate it when upper playfields slow play down, but I’m sick of games that have the same fan layout all the time. Ultraman is different…and I like it. It has not just one, but two upper playfields. Not only that but plenty of shots on the main playfield. I definitely approve. This game has a TON of potential…but...
I have never seen a game with fewer callouts at launch. Ultraman in its current form is a VERY confusing game to play. I had little idea what to shoot and no idea why I was shooting it. There was no voices that tell players what to do…at all. I was playing using the old pinball adage, “Shoot the blinking lights.”
Yes the nice looking video screen did have words that tell you what to shoot on it from time to time, however if you take the time to look at the screen you almost surely will drain. Why? Because the game has a ton of subways that after a brief pause mysteriously transport the ball to one of your flippers. If you are looking at the screen instead of that, it’s drain city.
I think that ultimately Ultraman (nice alliteration right) will end up being a fantastic pin, but in my humble opinion Spooky may have unleashed it on the world a little too soon. At this point, playing it kind of felt like eating a half-baked cookie. Yeah raw cookies are tasty, but I wouldn’t want to eat too many of them until they are fairly cooked.
So that’s my first thoughts on Ultraman. I’m curious to hear others’ thoughts on the game. Have you played it yet? What did you think? I will do a full write-up on Barcade Jersey City soon. It had one heck of a solid lineup of games.