Review – The Pinball Wizard (Switch)

Ever since I was a young man, I’ve played the virtual silver ball. From Pokémon Pinball down to Star Wars in virtual reality and Yoku’s Island Express, I must have played ’em all. But I ain’t seen nothing like this game, in any virtual storefront or amusement hall. This former Apple Arcade exclusive sure plays a mean pinball. It’s called The Pinball Wizard, this game does have a twist, a pinball game with roguelike and RPG elements thrown into the mix!

The Pinball Wizard Graphics

The Pinball Wizard is a visually repetitive game, despite being really cute.

Alright, my mandatory pandering towards one of my favorite bands of all time is over, so let’s talk about the real star of the show. Roguelikes/lites are a dime a dozen nowadays, so managing to make a game with such elements that actually feels fresh and innovative is really hard. The Pinball Wizard succeeds at that. Adventure-pinball hybrids aren’t a new thing. Mario and Metroid have dabbled with the concept in the past. Having a mix like this, with some slight RPG and dungeon crawling elements, would have already been interesting (though not revolutionary), but what makes The Pinball Wizard extra saucy is the inclusion of roguelite elements.

The Pinball Wizard Combat

Your dash and projectile attacks are crucial methods to deal with enemies and help you move through each dungeon.

They are minute, but also very interesting. The game itself is somewhat short, featuring a gauntlet of linear levels in a tower climbing ministory, which can be beaten in less than forty-five minutes, but there’s this extra mode where the game will randomly generate a big dungeon once a day. Objectives are always the same: destroy all enemies in a room, then hit a torch. Do that on all rooms to unlock the fight against a boss. The “combat” is equal parts pinball and Action RPG. You have to use paddles to throw your wizard around the arena, but you have access to a few special moves that let him dash towards a desired direction, or release a weak projectile. Those elements are minute, and the gameplay is still pure maniacal pinball chaos, but they are enough to add a small degree of strategy and skill to the game.

The Pinball Wizard Boss

This boss battle is way less challenging than the path you need to take to reach it.

This chaotic gameplay and a really simple yet neat RPG progression system, where you’re given the opportunity to level up skills and increase stats like HP and attack, are what make The Pinball Wizard more entertaining and replayable than it should be. The game is, without a doubt, better than the sum of its parts, mostly because it nails the gameplay loop. Being a game originally developed for Apple Arcade, it does not feature the most pristine visuals (cute, but very repetitive) or a soundtrack worth bothering. It’s the nature of the gameplay that will keep you hooked, and it’s what makes me recommend it to anyone looking for your next casual-but-addictive Switch game, if Mini Motorways has finally bored you after playing it for forty hours straight.


Graphics: 6.5

The visuals are cute, the framerate is decent, but the lack of visual variety is tremendous.

Gameplay: 8.0

It plays like your average pinball game, with some extra controls such as a dash move and magical orb launcher. For the most part, it’s just as you would expect from a pinball game: sheer confusing chaos. The progression system is quite interesting.

Sound: 5.5

It was originally developed for phones, so you can expect the sound design to feel like the blandest of afterthoughts. Play it on mute while listening to a podcast.

Fun Factor: 9.0

The Pinball Wizard is a rare example of a game that is a lot more fun than the sum of its parts. Despite the bland presentation and shallow amount of content, I just couldn’t stop playing it. A fantastic fit for the Switch.

Final Verdict: 8.0

The Pinball Wizard is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Apple Arcade

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of The Pinball Wizard was provided by the publisher.