On Her Majesty’s Sega Mega Drive

Psycho Pinball review

I’ll admit that my experience with pinball machines is incredibly lacking; the only substantial time I’ve ever spent with pinball is with 3D Space Cadet Pinball on Windows XP, which is hardly the real thing but is nevertheless a game I will always fondly remember. So, you can imagine how I jumped at the chance to take a look at another pinball title, this time released for the Mega Drive. Coming to us from Codemasters is Psycho Pinball, and if there’s ever two things that go hand in hand, it’s mental illness and pinball, right? Nevertheless, I ventured forth to see what this title had to offer.

From the off, Psycho Pinball can really only be described in one way: bombastic. Everything is loud and bright, jumping off the screen like it doesn’t even know the word ‘subtlety’. The graphics are an act of constantly taking things up to eleven: how colourful can we make everything look? What results is a stunning presentation where all elements in the game look spectacularly cartoony, which is a real feast for the eyes, and truly brings the game to life. Of course, this might draw accusations that the game is all flash and no substance, and relatively, it kind of is – there is so much flash that the substance is hard to see, but you won’t be complaining.


You’d think an amusement park and pinball wouldn’t work together, but shockingly, it does!

Psycho Pinball offers a fair amount of choice, or at least ‘fair’ in the context of a pinball game for the Mega Drive. There are four tables to choose from, each looking as unique and lovable as the last – ranging from Wild West, to The Abyss, to Trick or Treat, to Psycho, which appears to be the centrepiece of the whole game. You can tell this game was a fun one to create as all the stages which appear have been lovingly creative, and all are equally fun to play on. Psycho, for instance, is the standout – taking place on an abandoned and creepy amusement park. These tables are full of imagination and clever touches that will keep players coming back for more, even in the face of more serious pinball titles.

Mechanically, there isn’t much more to say than “It’s a game of pinball”. I mean, yes, that isn’t exactly me doing my job, but it’s true. This plays like a game of pinball. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel or do anything special. It’s a game of pinball. Having said that, the controls are responsive and lithe, responding perfectly to even the slightest touches, which will serve to immerse you in the game further. You can see this as a good/bad thing, as in my experience playing Psycho Pinball, I found myself saying “just one more game” way more than just once.

However, perhaps the stand-out part of this game is the music. From the introductory theme to the stage music, Psycho Pinball‘s soundtrack turns out to be a sleeper success. This soundtrack is just so jazzy and inspired that it explodes from the speakers with aplomb. A good soundtrack should be a key focus for any dev team making this sort of game, as the right music can keep people glued to the game. Without a doubt, Codemasters have nailed it here.

Psycho Pinball is an absolute treat and surprise for being a super-tight pinball game that achieves having its own personality. Its got its own attitude but it could, justifiably, hang with the big boys. The art style is to die for, the music is fantastic, and realistically, you won’t find a more lithe game of pinball anywhere else. Of course, there isn’t much to the game proper because it’s not a grand adventure, just a pinball simulator, which is why this review is so short but still, it’s very very well done.

Hi, everyone. I wish I didn’t have to write this post-script, but I do. Last week, 1 More Castle announced its closure. I may not have been with the site for a very long time, but it does not make me any less sad having to write this. Over the last few months, I’ve been blessed to work with some of the brightest minds in games writing, bar none, and it’s been a joy working with everyone here.
I have worked for many sites before and I will write for many sites after, but I will never forget 1MC, for the simple reason that no other site will get it as right as they did. As far as giving writers a platform, producing great content, and raw passion for games, it’s going to be impossible to top 1 More Castle. I love this place, and thank you for letting me be one small brick of this mighty castle.