If you're a gamer of a certain age and inclination, seeing the word 'pro' followed by 'pinball' will evoke a certain kind of joy.
And now the acclaimed series, originally for PC but later also console, has finally landed on iOS - after two Kickstarters and the kind of lengthy development cycle that would have whiffed of vapourware had Barnstorm Games not regularly uploaded YouTube teasers.
For now, Timeshock! is the only table. Originally released in 1997, it's the most famous of the Pro Pinball series, and involves travelling through time to four ages (prehistoric, Roman, present day, and future), to perform goals that will reverse a shockwave of anti-time that's about to blow up everything.
Or 'everywhen'. Something like that anyway.
The playfield is quite open near the flippers, but rapidly grows in complexity towards the edges. There, you find a maze of ramps and orbits, peppered with features representing your mission (a shiny time machine, and a glowing green time crystal) and those illustrating various time periods.
The rules and missions are such that Timeshock! rewards considered play and planning, rather than luck, and it has a varied tempo that can shift from dizzyingly fast loop combos to simple and rather sedate arcade mini-games that take place in the pin-sharp dot-matrix display.
Regardless of what you're doing, the controls are solid and responsive (the swipe-based tilt being especially successful), although it'd be nice to see custom button placement for ball launches and the magnosave in an update.
It's worth noting, though, that this is not a simple table to play. It lacks the immediacy and friendliness of Atomic Pinball Collection and isn't terribly forgiving. It feels more like the 'real' pinball tables you find in Pinball Arcade than your typical digital pinball.
The real thing
Pro Pinball also manages to look more real than its iOS contemporaries, largely due to some serious rendering clout that's gone on during production.
This sometimes makes the table a touch static, but it nonetheless looks fantastic on a Retina iPad. That's probably just as well, considering the install size (a whopping 600+ MB - nearly three times that of its aforementioned rivals).
Its gargantuan heft perhaps also accounts for the thumb-twiddlingly long delay from menu screen to table, although everything's very responsive once you're finally staring at all the flashing lights.
Still, while the Timeshock! table itself remains both glorious and gorgeous in this iOS incarnation, 'basic' would be a fair assessment of the rest of the app. You get the feeling the developer just wanted to get something out there.
So in addition to the aforementioned delay from menu screen to gameplay, you only get a single table viewpoint (more are apparently on the way) and no restart option in the pause menu (also coming in an update).
The former makes an already complex table eye-squintingly difficult to deal with at times on a smaller iPhone, although not by any means unplayable.
But any shortcomings are all easy enough to deal with, and the table itself is so good that it would be churlish for Pro Pinball to get anything less than a Silver Award.
Old-hands will be overjoyed at this iteration of the game, and pinball-loving newcomers are in for a treat.