Pinball League

Pinball League: Hardhat Zone review – a universal pinball game for Windows Phone and Windows 8

Although the much-loved Pinball FX2 sadly never showed up on Windows Phone, Microsoft's mobile phone platform has a long-running pinball series of its own: Pinball League from Tainicom. It started with The Juggler way back in 2011, followed by Dr. Pickaxe the next year. Both games also made it to Windows 8 and RT.

After a two year absence, Tainicom is back with their latest pinball game – Pinball League: Hardhat Zone. This and Tainicom's previous pinball games are universal purchases, so you can buy it once and enjoy on Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT. Excitingly, Hardhat Zone introduces some new features like portrait and landscape support, Facebook leaderboards, and multiplayer via NFC (Near-Field Communication). See the NFC multiplayer mode in action in our video review!

Pinball game The World of Dr. Pickaxe jumps from Windows Phone to Windows 8 and RT

Windows Phone doesn’t exactly overflow with pinball titles; we’ve got the cheap-but-buggy Da Vinci Pinball on the Xbox side, and a few indie games of varying quality. Two of those, Pinball League: The Juggler and Pinball League: The World of Dr. Pickaxe come from a Greek developer called Tainicom. The mobile version of Pinball FX2 sadly remains vaporware. We recently checked in with Zen Studios and they declined to give a status update, so it’s either cancelled or on indefinite hold.

Windows 8, however actually does have a great Xbox-enabled version of Pinball FX2 to keep pinball fans happy. Perhaps for that very reason, indie pinball games are few and far between on Microsoft’s tablet and PC OS. Still, Tainicom saw an opportunity there and has just released The World of Dr. Pickaxe on Windows 8 and RT. Despite the shortened title, it is a direct port of the phone game and was ported using MonoGame.

Read on for our full Windows 8 impressions!

Are you a pinball wizard? Go get the updated Dr. Pickaxe for your Windows Phone

We’ve already called Pinball League: The World of Dr. Pickaxe one of our favorite pinball games for Windows Phone (there really aren’t enough) but the popular title did have a glitch for Windows Phone 8 users, resulting in the game being recently pulled from the Store.

Now the game is back and better than ever with a modest 1.02 update that just came out today...

Editor's Choice - Pinball League - Dr. Pickaxe is rocking our world on Windows Phone

Pinball: Just one fix...

Although we’re still waiting on that pesky Xbox LIVE game to go…well live, we have something else to keep you gamers happy: Pinball League’s Dr. Pickaxe. If that name sounds familiar it’s because there’s a previous pinball game by the same company, Tainicom, called Pinball League - The Juggler. This game just hit the Windows Phone Store and we’re in love.

First off, we should note that we’re huge pinball fans. Pinball FX2 on Xbox 360 is our illicit drug of choice and we’re dying to get it on Windows Phone (see our interview with the developer for news on that front). In the meantime, Dr. Pickaxe is fullfilling our deepest wizard desires by offering a solid sequel to their previous effort.

Check out our quick video review after the break...

Pinball League: The Juggler, Impossible Shoota & Krashlander games get updates [Mango]

Probably one of the more understated performance improvements in Mango is the ability for devs to create games past the 30FPS mark, hitting 60FPS instead. And while it's far from revolutionary in the mobile space, the amount of realism and smoothness the change offers is quite impressive.

So far we've seen numerous Xbox LIVE games get this update, which also brings fast-app resume but we haven't seen too much in the way of indie games. Today, Pinkball League: The Juggler (see review), pretty much the only pinball game on Windows Phone, hit v1.4 which brings this faster refresh rate to the table. The Juggler has always been exceptionally smooth on gameplay, often looking unusual compared other games. Now with 30FPS+ increase, the gameplay is even better (not to mention the overhaul it received in v1.3). Grab v1.4 here in the Marketplace for a trial.

In addition, Impossible Shoota (see review) is also now Mango compatible with fast-app resume (we're unsure about the increased frame-rate). The game is now at v3.1 and still as fun as ever. The developer, Elbert Perez, just wrapped up re-compiling most of his 13 games for Mango, meaning we should start to see a steady stream of updates soon (we're looking at you, Nom Nom Worm). You can find Impossible Shoota here in the Marketplace as well.

Finally we have Krashlander (see review), one of the earlier games in the Marketplace getting a Mango update as well. Hitting v1.13, the game now has fast app switching and can be found here in the Marketplace.

Thanks, Mark T., for the heads up!

Pinball League: The Juggler - Review

Tainicom has brought the pinball experience to your Windows Phone with Pinball League: The Juggler. How does the song go? He's a pinball wizard there's got to be a twist....

While you may not become a pinball wizard with Pinball League, we found it to be an entertaining game to pass the time with. The 3D graphics looks really good and the realistic game play represents pinball machines really good.

Ease on past the break to read more about Pinball League: The Juggler.