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“Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball” for “Pinball M” Review

 

Though he’s best known for his quiet demeanor, meat carving skills, and appreciation for landscape architecture power tools, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was also a big fan of pinball.

Okay, not really. Though had there been an old pinball machine in the corner of his house, especially in the first movie, no one would’ve batted an eyelash. It was the ’70s after all, and he’s clearly a hoarder.

Still, given how many of his fellow horror movie icons have gotten their own pinball tables (Freddy Kreuger, Chucky, Elvira), it’s fitting that Leatherface would now be similarly honored by the good people at Zen Studios, who’ve just released Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball for their virtual pinball platform Pinball M (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, Switch, PC).

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball M

For those unfamiliar…

with Pinball M (or its sister game, Pinball FX), it’s a platform for virtual pinball tables, most of which are original ones based on movies (Godzilla Vs. King Kong, Aliens), TV shows (Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider) or video games (System Shock, Duke Nukem).

Except unlike those for Pinball FX, the ones they make for Pinball M are all based on scary stuff (or relatively scary stuff), such as the Chucky movies, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the multiplayer survival horror video game Dead By Daylight.

More importantly, the virtual pinball tables made for Pinball M — like those for Pinball FX — have a mix of realistic physics and unrealistic mechanics.

While the balls roll and bounce like they would if these virtual machines were real, the tables also always have parts that would be physically or financially impossible to build into a real pinball machine.

Well, until someone figures out how to construct one that’s like the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who, which is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

In the case of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball table, for instance, there’s not only what would be a full-sized (if the table was real), working chainsaw that spills gallons of blood, but there’s also animatronic Leatherface, who dons his favorite facial covering before turning to watch you play.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball M

The Pinball M tables…

also differ from real pinball machines in that while they are challenging, they’re not designed to take your money. Well, not as aggressively as a real table, that is. The flippers aren’t usually as far apart as they are in real pinball machines, and every new ball comes with a generous grace period that gives you a second chance if the ball gets past you within the first minute or so.

Which is good since, when you screw up, Leatherface looks rather disappointed in you.

Pinball M‘s tables also come with multiple viewpoints you can switch on the fly, including ones that follow the ball around, and others that give you a full view of the table like you’d have if it was real, and you were playing it in a bar…and were kind of on the tall side.

The tables for Pinball M are also clearly made by people who are fans of whatever the table is based on. Hence why the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball table has numerous visual references to the original film, ones only hardcore fans might catch (and appreciate).

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball M

They even got…

either John Larroquette’s original opening narration from the actual film…or the best celebrity sound-a-like I’ve ever heard (a rarity for this series, which has had some truly terrible imitations over the years).

It also has the added benefit of being relatively inexpensive. While there actually is a real Texas Chainsaw Massacre pinball machine [available here], it’ll run you $9699. By comparison, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball for Pinball M is $5.49. I’ve paid more for an iced latte.

Is it worth it, though? Yes, yes it is. It’s a really good iced latte.

Oh, you mean the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball table for Pinball M. Yeah, that’s good, too. Like the best pinball tables, virtual or real, it’s challenging, has opportunities for the balls to gain speed, and a good balance of the usual pinball mechanics.

It’s also, like Leatherface’s house, dense and full of things people, I mean balls can bounce off of. The top half, for instance, is a nest of bumpers, spinners, and rail ways.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball M

But while…

this is not uncommon among Zen Studio’s tables, what makes it different is that this area is somewhat cordoned off, but has a number of exits, which means the ball can bounce around in it, only to emerge in ways you might not expect.

Conversely, having so many exits means it also has as many entrances, including some that will set off the aforementioned working chainsaw.

All of which makes Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball a rather frantic and unpredictable table, especially among the ones for Pinball M.

It’s also, like the other Pinball M tables, as much fun for fans of the original movie as it is people who just love pinball.

Well, mostly. Unlike their other tables — and yes, that includes the other Pinball M ones — Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball is rather bloody and gory. Y’know, kind of like that movie about the masked guy who kills a bunch of people with a gas-powered tree trimmer. Not only is there all the blood the chainsaw kicks up when you set it off (which explains why the table surface is covered in blood spatter), but there’s a number of other references to the film’s gruesome visuals.

It even, for the plunger, has the ball being sent on its merry way by the mallet Leatherface uses to knock people out.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball M

But while..

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pinball may not be for the faint of heart, or people who don’t like pinball tables that will get their hearts racing, for those who can handle the stress, it’s (sorry) a bloody good time.

SCORE: 8.0/10

 

 

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