GTi Pinball
| GTi Pinball

Pinball tables belong to a by-gone age, where ZZ Top still enjoyed chart success, leather biker jackets were cool and turning up the cuffs on the legs of your Levi's was the done thing. But some things, like young mens' fascination with fast cars and bikini babes, never fade.

So, does GTi Pinball combine the two to produce a timeless masterpiece on mobile phone?

On the face of it, things look good. And we really mean 'look good'; the table is exquisitely detailed, and the audio, for once, is impressive. The raucous music does sound like it's being played on a Casio keyboard, but it's loud and urgent, and it works surprisingly well in setting the scene.

The table itself is a work of airbrush-style art: a sleek and shiny sports car adorns the backboard, complete with requisite beauty draped across the bonnet. The table furniture is detailed and full of chrome effects that complement the overall look and feel of the table. Of all the pinball games we've seen on mobile phone, this is probably the best-looking and has the most authentic 'retro' feel.

The physics of the pinball as it careens around the table is impressive, too. It bounces where you'd reasonably expect it to and has a satisfying weight. What's more, the flippers are responsive and you can nudge the table in all manner of directions to give yourself a helping hand in hitting the targets.

But it's that ball bouncing around that gives you the first hint that maybe GTi Pinball would have been better left in the past.

You see, compared to other pinball games, it's all rather limited. The table is no bigger than your mobile phone's screen and, as there's only one included in the game, it all becomes a bit boring after a while.

Although there's a list of motor-racing related bonuses to achieve, such as Fast Lap and Pit Stop, depending upon which parts of the table you can hit, they can't conceal the fact that you're bouncing a ball bearing around what amounts to a nicely decorated tea tray.

Other titles, including the developer Mr Goodliving's own MetalSmash Pinball (reviewed here), get around this problem by having a two or three-tier table; when the ball disappears off the top of the screen, you move up to the next part of the table. MetalSmash Pinball also introduces mini-games into the action as you try and destroy an evil robot from the inside out.

GTi Pinball has none of this and its longevity suffers accordingly. (Unless you're a pinball aficionado, it's likely you'll tire of it within 20 minutes.) When there are so many other pinball games on offer for mobile phone, it makes it hard to recommend this at all.

It's not that it's a bad game, but rather that time has passed it by. Though it might have been top of the range had it roared onto our screens a few years ago, GTi Pinball today looks rather more Ford Capri than Ferrari.

GTi Pinball

Does nothing wrong, but has been lapped by its more advanced competitors