So... I spent many hours without playing a video game, and now I'm back for this Saw-style torture for the fingers. Welcome back to this review of Mario Pinball Land.
|Looks like he's smiling. Mario, don't|
smile! This will destroy you!
A little bit of explanation about the save files of this game. This game doesn't have a simple saving method: You can save only when you press Start. When you do so, you are given two choices: “Continue”, which will resume your current game, or “Save & Quit”. Literally, you can't save at any moment, you can save only when you stop playing. Of course, the game still redirects you to the title screen when you do that, so it's not a big deal. However, if you turn off your game without saving this way....
YOUR WHOLE SAFE FILE GETS DELETED AND YOU MUST START ALL OVER AGAIN.
Damn! As if you didn't already curse enough at this game!
So, when we stopped last time, Mario had just defeated the Puffer-Cheep and his two-fish army. The star key appeared again, the statue lit up in Bowser's yard, a cannon appeared at the beginning of the level... same old, same old. But... wait a minute... The three themed levels have been completed. Meadow, desert and cold... but what's left? Time to come back to the Fun Park.
|STOP SPINNING UNCONTROLLABLY!|
However, now the haunted house is open to the public... and to all the pinball heroes out there. Upon entrance, Mario fights four Boos that disappear when you're aiming at them directly; you can only hit them from behind. Also, the only door in there is labeled 10, which means... you need 10 stars to enter. After you go back to the other levels to earn enough stars, Mario can enter the 10-star door... he's now as a ball... on a roller coaster. And then he ends up in another room of the haunted house, where he fights a big Boo... most likely the boss of the level. However, Mario's balance is all screwed up after this roller coaster ride, so in this room, he doesn't stop spinning around. He is EVEN HARDER to control. And you must hit the big Boo's back three times. Hurray... Anyway, once this is done... you know the deal. Star key, statue, switch. Mario can finally enter Bowser's Castle!
|Aw, man! 15? It was almost over!|
|Oh, my... this is gonna be painful. FOR MY THUMBS!|
Oh no! Bowser rolled into a ball too! But you can use the flippers on him! How to beat him finally? Well, by tossing him at the walls of his own castle, destroying his property, and flinging him in the distance! If Mario didn't fall between the flippers (in which case you must start all over again – AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGHHHHHHHHHH!), then you have won the battle. Congratulations! You have beaten the last boss!
|At least in this one picture it tries to look cool. It isn't.|
|Mam-ma miaaaa... D'oh!|
For this, there is a really, really fun – but still incredibly challenging and frustrating – side-mission that you can play. That one doesn't give you a Star, but it gives you an insane amount of points that could let you beat the high score more easily. It's the Yoshi Egg Challenge. You see, you can buy a Yoshi egg at the game's Toad Shop for 20 coins. When you activate this egg in a room that has a Yoshi egg symbol on the ground, a pedestal will rise. Hitting it with the Yoshi egg will cause it to grow by many blocks. Hitting that tower many times awards both coins and a score. When the final piece has reached the ground, you must use the Yoshi egg on it again. As a result, a large golden Yoshi egg will appear, and catching it awards you with a huge amount of points. Also, at the level selection screen, the value of the golden Yoshi egg in that level is shown. I think it increases depending on the number of stars you got, but I'm not sure.
Still not satisfied? You still believe Mario doesn't deserve a damn break from this? Don't panic, the game has something else for you! Indeed, if you defeat Bowser in a regular game, you'll unlock Time Attack mode. In this mode, you must complete a level as quickly as possible. Completing a level means reaching and beating the boss, by the way. All the doors leading to the boss now require zero stars to be opened, so you can reach the boss immediately. So, reach the boss, beat the boss, and when it's done, your time is registered like some sort of high score. And yes, you can try to beat it again. Neat. This applies to all levels, and thus all bosses: Petey Piranha, King Tut, Puffer-Cheep, Big Boo... and even freaking Bowser. In other words, if you want to do absolutely everything in the game, you also have to do this. Enjoy.
|Congrats, Mario; you failed. You're lucky it|
doesn't happen very often...
The graphics are alright for a GBA game, but I do mean “alright”. As in, there are GBA games out there who did better than that. The score system is fine, and the Yoshi Egg Challenges can be fun, but only because the reward is kind of worth it. Time Attack Mode is just the same game without the trouble of collecting stars, and having direct access to all bosses.
|Trust me, you curses will sound like|
onomatopeias too, you only have to wait.
Now, the controls... Screw the controls. Screw them. Mario is uncontrollable, the flippers aren't even worth crap, and this awful control system just adds a ton of fake difficulty that really isn't worth it. Most of the time, you'll just wish you are lucky, because this game requires so much luck.
Should you buy this game? No! The mario series has a ton of good games, on every console, so there's always a LOT better than this lame game. This game sucks, it's godawful, never buy it unless you really feel like you aren't cursing enough in your life. I really, really don't recommend it, so if you see it on sale at a game store that sells old games, don't buy it. Unless you're a masochist, in which case I highly recommend, it, because you're gonna suffer.
Tune in this Friday for a much better game. Read you soon.
(Ow, my fingers...)