Game names are now taking on long subtitles and nondescript terms with increasing frequency but there's absolutely no confusion as to what you're getting with Pinball HD.
If it sounds like pure, unadulterated pinball that's because it is.
The simplicity of Pinball HD makes it appealing, though it's almost too straightforward for its own good. Instead of feeling like a premium collection of pinball tables, it comes across as something that ought to have been packaged as a freebie to show off the gaming credibility of iPad. In other words, it's enjoyable but not particularly exciting.Wild style
Three tables - the Deep, the Wild West, and Jungle Style - offer themed pinball action in either landscape or portrait modes.
Tilting your iPad at any time during play switches the orientation of the screen. By default, the game triggers a fly-by camera when in portrait mode that follows the ball as it pings across the table. Sliding two fingers down the screen switches the screen to a full view of the table.
Controlling the flippers is done by tapping the corresponding sides of the screen. On the Jungle Style table, for instance, tapping anywhere on the right half of the screen triggers both the big flipper at the bottom of the table as well as the smaller one near the top. The controls are phenomenal and combined with the passable physics, it makes for some enjoyable pinball.
Of the three tables, the Deep and Jungle Style handily beat out the plain, often dull Wild West though. There's much more going on in the former pair than in Wild West, which could benefit from more elements on the table to liven up the action.Keeping score
The Deep and Jungle Style do deliver satisfying pinball action and any desire for the pure experience will be sated here. Much effort has been invested in up-scaling the graphics, which look great and feel natural on iPad.
Online leaderboards encourage you to top your own marks and those at the top, yet the lack of integration with any social gaming network means you're unable to track down the scores of friends or challenge other players.
Without more compelling score sharing options, no bonuses or additional content to unlock, and the underwhelming Wild West table, Pinball HD proves to be a limited experience.
It's good for a quick play, but there's plenty of room for improvement.