Pinball M leans into more adult pinball tables. That doesn’t mean tables featuring your favourite OnlyFans creators, but more those filled with horror and violence. And with the first content pack – the Death Save Bundle – we get plenty of that with four tables based on iconic IPs. And as anyone familiar with Zen Studios’ pinball output, they’re all pretty bloody good.
The tables in the Pinball M – Death Save Bundle are based on either classic horror films, or adult only video games: Chucky’s Killer Pinball, The Thing Pinball, Dead by Daylight Pinball and Duke Nukem’s Big Shot Pinball. Each one is also available separately if not all of them take your fancy.
Chucky’s Killer Pinball is based on the iconic horror doll that really needs no introduction. Star of Child’s Play, this doll has been one of the Good Guys of horror ever since. This pinball table has been created solely for Pinball M.
What you will probably notice first off is the large replica Chucky face at the back of the table. It has been split into three parts that you can push back into place using the ball. Doing so allows you to choose a film mode; moments from the franchise translated into pinball fashion that act as your main missions for this table.
Other notable features include a fire axe that doubles as the table spinner (and plays a large part in the table’s wizard mode), ramps designed to look like hellish rollercoasters, and, of course, Chucky looking on as the ball whizzes round the table.
Perhaps the best table in the pack, Chucky’s Killer Pinball features lines and clips from the movies themselves, artwork depicting Chucky, Tiffany and their son Glen, and is definitely more accessible for newcomers.
Next up is Dead by Daylight, a table based on the popular horror multiplayer game of the same name. Having already included some titanic names in horror, it seems weird that a Dead by Daylight table would be created. But, as indicated by the recent announcement for The Casting of Frank Stone, is this Dead by Daylight attempting to branch out as a franchise all of its own?
As someone who has only ever dabbled with Dead by Daylight, some of the intricacies of the table are lost on me. What it still manages to do though is portray the basic premise really well. Before you even start the game, you choose to play as a survivor or the killer, and the objectives change to match that. Simply put, survivors survive, killers kill. Survivors have a choice of four, but the killer here is The Trapper.
What follows is essentially the game itself, just in pinball form. Survivors must find the generators to progress whilst not being caught. The word HOOK can be spelled out on the table orbits, either to hook a caught survivor, or rescue them. The endgame multiball is affected by the number of hooked survivors.
The table itself is a much more compact one than the others, with steep ramps that you will need to be precise and forceful to get up. Much of the table is covered by a platform showcasing the killer and a survivor in various poses. But, due to this compact nature, quicker reflexes are needed to keep the ball from sinking.
The Thing pinball machine is a perfect fit for Pinball M. Some of the imagery is a bit too shocking for the traditional Pinball FX so its inclusion here allows it to use some of the classic body horror to full effect. And they don’t hold back either.
What I couldn’t put my finger on though was why I was so terrible at this table in particular. I didn’t make a score over ten million in my time playing, despite having a lot of fun with it. It doesn’t feel like a particularly challenging table, other than the fact the drain seems to suck the ball in no matter what ramp you hit.
But the best thing about The Thing table is the atmosphere it presents. The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone and John Carpenter plays ominously throughout, and the play corner feels very much like you are in Antarctica. That’s before you add your own unlocked elements to it as well.
Finally, there is Duke Nukem’s Big Shot Pinball, a delightfully over the top table filled with fun and secrets to uncover. And plenty of swearing and bikini-clad women. Exactly what you would expect to be fair.
Duke Nukem himself sits in his armchair, watching the action unfold as you go round collecting weapons to help repel the alien invasion. The table has a raised area at the back, and a hidden area underneath where you can retrieve some of Duke’s weapons if you know the right code.
The video mode also turns into a first-person shooter. Using the flippers to turn left and right and the plunger button to shoot, all as you look to survive three waves of enemies.
Everything about this table is a lot of fun. Whether you’ve played a Duke Nukem game before or not, this is the table that will have you smiling the most, as opposed to cowering in a corner with the three horror themed tables.
The Death Save Bundle and first four premium tables for Pinball M are all excellent, adding hope for whatever comes next. Whether we will see the more mature tables from Pinball FX added in, or simply all new ones is unknown at the moment. But after playing these first four in Pinball M – Death Save Bundle, this more mature pinball hub looks like it will do just as well, if not better, than those that have come before it.