In honor of the movie Jurassic Park turning twenty-five this year — and, of course, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom turning 0 when it’s released on June 22nd — the good people at Zen Studios have put together Jurassic World Pinball, a trio of new virtual pinball tables for Pinball FX 3 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch), Zen Pinball (iOS, Android), and Zen Pinball 2 (Mac). It’s just too bad that, as with the movies, not all of them are keepers.
Jurassic Park Pinball
For those unfamiliar with Zen Studios’ pinball games, the basic idea is that they mix realistic physics and authentic sound effects with unrealistic mechanics. In the case of the Jurassic World Pinball tables, for instance, all three have moving, roaring dinosaurs, many of whom try to eat your balls as they bounce around the table like they would in real life.
The tables in Jurassic World Pinball are also — like others for Pinball FX 3, etc. that are inspired by various movies and TV shows — wholly original creations by those aforementioned good people at Zen Studios, and not adaptations of the 1993 Jurassic Park table by Data East or Sega’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park from 1997.
As for how the three tables in Jurassic World Pinball stack-up, the first, “Jurassic Park Pinball,” is, fittingly, the most old school. Not only is the layout rather classic, but it even has bumpers that make it look like it was built in the ’90s. Well, except for how bunch of velociraptor will occasionally run out and hang around like they’re waiting for a bus.
Because of its mostly old school approach, the “Jurassic Park Pinball” table in Jurassic World Pinball is a fun one, with the ball whipping around like a Compsognathus on meth. The only bummer being that instead of hiring Jeff Goldblum to be the announcer, they got someone who sounds like the stereotypical Southern-sounding DNA narrator from the movie’s instructional filmstrip. Though like how the T-Rex didn’t eat those kids in the movie, it’s only a bummer, not a deal breaker.
Next, Jurassic World Pinball presents, “Jurassic World Pinball,” a table based on the 2015 movie. And just like how the “Jurassic Park Pinball” table recalled the era in which the film was made, so too does this one, as it has no old school-looking bumpers or ramps. It’s also far less symmetrical and looks less like a pinball table and more like a diorama. Its elaborate mechanics are also more easily accessible. For example, if you hit certain conditions, the movie’s four velociraptors will poke their heads through the table, hoping you’ll hit the ball into their mouths.
Jurassic World Pinball
The “Jurassic World Pinball” table does, however, have a fatal flaw in the form of some truly terrible sound effects and dialog. If you hit the ball in just the right spot, it goes for a little ride over the Mosasaurus tank, with the little guy even jumping up to say hello. The problem being that when the ball takes this little trip, it sounds like the shrill mechanical tone a game console makes when it hits a game breaking bug and seizes up.
This “Jurassic World Pinball” table also has some of the movie’s terrible dialog, including the little kid’s whiniest line, and one of the awkward and stiff exchanges between stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt that tried to pass as sexual tension. Which is why, like the movie that inspired it, this is least fun of the three and the only one I doubt I’ll play again.
Finally, the Jurassic World Pinball collection presents “Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem,” which isn’t based on any specific Jurassic Park movie, but instead on a non-existent prequel in which people go back to the original island in hopes of cleaning it up and turning it into, well, the park from Jurassic World.
Fittingly, the “Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem” table is the weirdest and least realistic of the three in Jurassic World Pinball. It has under-table passageways that shouldn’t be connected; an area so full of bumpers that the ball almost seems to get stuck here, bouncing frantically; and a stegosaurus who likes to hit the ball through the windows of the visitor center. It also has an interesting minigame in which balls are flung at a triceratops, and if you move her head into just the right position with the flipper buttons, she can head-butt the ball, earning you tons of points.
Despite being so physically impossible, though, the “Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem” table actually ends up being the most fun of the three, if only for being so unpredictable and silly. It’s especially fun watching the stegosaurus hit the ball like she’s practicing fungos. Though I do wish her boyfriend the T-Rex wouldn’t constantly yet at her. #MeToo, dude. #TimesUp.
That the three tables in Jurassic World Pinball suffer from audio issues isn’t new; remember how bad the Harrison Ford impersonator was in the Star Wars tables. So it’s probably not surprising they suffer from the same minor visual issues as well. Specifically, if you play this on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or a Switch linked to TV, and you sit at a reasonable distance from said TV, you’ll have trouble reading some of the on-screen messages. Especially when they’re presented as green type on a green background to mimic the look of an old computer.
Jurassic Park Mayhem Pinball
Even so, the “Jurassic Park Pinball” and “Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem” tables included in the Jurassic World Pinball collection do a good job of honoring the movies with fun pinball adaptations that don’t actually require you to be fans of the films (though you do need to be fans of pinball). And while it is too bad that the same can’t be said for the “Jurassic World Pinball,” given how the movie disappointed as well, it’s to be expected. I just hope Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — the movie and the (hopefully forthcoming but as yet unannounced) pinball table — fare better.