Pinball Alley: Big Shot (Pinball Arcade for iOS)
Big Shot is a conversion of a 1973 Gottlieb table that uses billiards as its main theme, challenging players to “sink” all 15 balls in one turn. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but skill and a bit of luck are needed to score well on this table.
The basic objective of Big Shot is simple: “sink” all 15 balls by hitting drop targets and a special 8 ball shot via the top center rollover or the capture hole in the center of the playfield. Doing this lights Special on one of the outlanes. The balls reset at the beginning of each turn, so the challenge is to drop all of these targets in one ball… and that’s much easier said than done.
Big Shot doesn’t have too many extras. There isn’t any kind of multiball to speak of, for example, and there aren’t any ramps to shoot for. There is a gate on the right outlane that can be opened by hitting the center capture hole. This gate prevents the ball from draining that way and allows the player to shoot the ball back into play. There’s also an interesting outhole bonus feature that increases for the last two balls. On the fourth ball, the outhole bonus increases to 2,000 points per ball sunk (or target hit). The final ball increases the outhole bonus to 3,000 points per ball sunk. This bonus feature magnifies the importance of the last two balls and can turn a tough early effort into a huge finish with a little luck.
This table runs very smoothly on iOS, and looks even better than it did when we last saw it in Pinball Hall of Fame: Gottlieb Edition. The ball physics are definitely better, as there are no more instances of balls jumping over flippers to speak of. There is, however, a more noticeable trend of balls drifting towards the left outlane or draining straight down the middle with nudging being the only defense. This is customary for pinball machines, of course, as arcade operators didn’t want credits to last too long or for players to score Specials too often… but this trend may put off some players since credits are unlimited and it’s all about the score here. Players will have to earn their scores on the Big Shot table. 100,000 points rolls over the Big Shot analog scoreboard. I topped 120,000 points after a few tries, though I never managed to sink all 15 balls. I did have some problems lining up my shots for the bottom targets on each bank, and ball trapping to set up shots was a bit more difficult that usual.
Big Shot isn’t the best table in the Pinball Arcade arsenal, but it is fun to play if you’re looking for a no-frills test of your pinball skills.