Pinball Fantasies (Minis)

For all the massive leaps and bounds that have been taken in gaming technology since the days of the awesome 16-bit computer campaigner, the Commodore Amiga, it's amazing how well Pinball Fantasies (and the other games in the series, of course) still holds its own against contemporary pinball simulators.

Therefore, this PSP Minis launch title already has its foot on the ladder, given that the original Amiga game has fully retained its inherent quality over the last 17 years. The difficulty with such a retro revival, therefore, isn't so much in the gameplay but in its adaptation to a new platform.

All of the game's four tables have been converted, naturally, which will be good news to retro gamers since almost everyone had their own particular favourite from Party Land, Speed Devils, Billion Dollar Game Show and Stones 'N Bones. These tables are pixel-perfect renditions, so your favourite then will undoubtedly be your favourite now.

The shoulder buttons on the PSP are the natural choice for flipper controls, and add a level of realism that even the Amiga never saw. The problem with using this otherwise ideal control method is that the screen has to be reduced somewhat, cropping it down from widescreen to standard, otherwise your field of view would be far too narrow as the ball bounces around the virtual table.

Fortunately, developer Cowboy Rodeo has done everything it can to offer choices in terms of the visuals. As with some past pinball titles for Sony's handheld, the device can be rotated, enabling you to play Pinball Fantasies in a portrait orientation, at which point the widescreen is fully expanded and gives you a superb view of the play tables.

Admittedly the flipper controls (now on X and Triangle) feel quite close together when playing the game in this orientation, but the full view of the table makes such a minor inconvenience more than tolerable.

All we need now is Pinball Dreams and Pinball Illusions, and the pinball simulator genre will be fully catered for on the PSP Minis platform.

Pinball Fantasies (Minis)

The quality of the original game still shines through, and thanks to some inventive controls and screen modes, Pinball Fantasies retains its position as one of the finest pinball simulators ever made
Spanner Spencer
Spanner Spencer
Yes. Spanner's his real name, and he's already heard that joke you just thought of. Although Spanner's not very good, he's quite fast, and that seems to be enough to keep him in a regular supply of free games and away from the depressing world of real work.