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Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon (Nintendo DSiWare) Review
Review by 
8.43/10 from 4 user ratings
Nintendo has once again partnered with the pinball wizards at Fuse Games to bring Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon to the DSiWare service. Although Fuse's first Nintendo collaboration, Mario Pinball Land, received a tepid critical reaction, their second game, Metroid Prime Pinball, was a quality pinball experience, and The Ancients Beckon may be their best work yet. This original stand-alone table stands apart from its predecessors in two ways:

1) It takes a physical simulation approach to pinball, rather than the unrealistic fantasy approach of the previous titles. Though packed with imaginary targets and lights and ramps (and even a 'video mode'), this is a table that could technically be built. (Granted, it would be an absolute nightmare to maintain, what with its giant rotating stone heads and wooden ball swap...)

2) It eschews the Nintendo mascots for an original theme (as original as the theme of Ancient Greece can be, anyway), and really makes the most of it, at that. The Ancients Beckon is positively dripping with old-school pinball charm, from the sharp graphics to the amazing voice work, which, in classic pinball fashion, sounds slightly compressed. If you don't crack a smile at Zeus' blustery admonitions, then you have no soul.

For the souled among you, however, Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon is one of the safest bets on DSiWare. The modes are limited to Normal Play and a Daily one-ball challenge, and there's only one table here, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more solid, inventive, and charming pinball table. It would be nice to have online leaderboards, although, in that case, the personal conception that I have the highest Daily Game score in the world might be challenged. My only other gripe about the game concerns the use of the touch-screen for tilt, but that tiny blemish does little to mar the excellence of Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon, hopefully only the first in a long-running series. Let's just have our old pal Zeus play us out.

Off to Hades... the hard way!!

Unfortunately, as of this writing, Pinball Pulse is one of the handful of non-transferable-to-3DS games/apps on the DSiWare service. But DSi(XL) owners should definitely still give it a look!

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 Great  8.7 / 10
07/12/11, 18:53   Edited:  07/13/11, 01:06
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Yea! This is a great portable pinball game. The style and presentation is excellent. It has a nice realistic feel to it.

Too bad it doesn't transfer over to the 3DS. I wonder why? I was hoping for more Pinball Pulses, but I guess not...

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 20:09
I have this game too, I like it a lot, I think it's hard as hell though, maybe I just suck, probably just suck. GG though, for sure, for $5 it's a must-have for any DSi owner. Great pick up and play value.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 20:13
I dunno, is it an especially hard game? I don't think the gutters are too unfair, and you can get quite a few extra balls, if you know how to work the system. It's pretty difficult to successfully complete the missions, though. Speaking of which, the virtual manual is pretty handy for Ancients.

I was wondering about that, too. ALL of the DS/DSi games are 3DS-compatible, right? So what could be the reason? Did the Medusa license run out? So weird.

Or maybe they're remaking it in 3D. Whatever the case, I think there's still hope for more Pinball Pulse. Nintendo has had a pretty long relationship with Fuse, and the products are only getting better.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 20:15   Edited:  07/12/11, 20:18
I always get confused on the quests, I never know for sure what to do. Maybe because it's not as video-gamey as MP Pinball, which is my main experience playing "pinball", I don't really play physical machines that often.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 20:28
I think the manual explains them pretty well. But most pinball machines indicate the targets/alleys that you're supposed to hit in different 'quests' with lights on the table. So, in Ancients Beckon, when you activate a certain God's quest, the table will light up to show you which targets and alleys to shoot for. It's pretty clear for the minor stuff. You might want to check the manual for the multi-ball things, and the weirder stuff, like Medusa.

I suck so much at Pinball that my quest is always the same: Try Not To Die.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 20:52
I've heard you talk about this game before but the fact is I had not paid attention to this being a Fuse game! I love Metroid Prime Pinball, though of course Pinball Pulse is a more realistic pinball take.

I haven't delved back into the land of video game pinball in quite a long time, but it looks like this could be the game to do so with.

And the game looks pretty nice in the video. (That guy got a good recording and kept the DS very still!)

Now, could you clarify something for me: I realize this game does not transfer to 3DS, but as a 3DS owner, can I find the game in the 3DS eShop? Or is the game available exclusively for DSi owners?

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 21:20
Guillaume found that video. I stole it from him.

Unfortunately, I don't think 3DS folks can play the game, PERIOD. That really sucks, because it's very fun. If you enjoyed Metroid Prime Pinball, I think you'd love it.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 21:59
I wonder if the prerendered backgrounds have anything to do with it? Maybe they just look terrible blown up, or hard to read.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 22:14
Naaaah, I don't think that would stop them. Would it?

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 22:18
I don't see why either, but it's one of the only DSiWare games that isn't sprite based and/or polygonal 3-D, it's some unholy hybrid of animated prerendered backgrounds with a 3-D overlay. It could be the way the whole thing is coded, just trying to think like Sherlock Holmes and deduce what is different about this game, what singles it out?

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 22:24
Yeah, I dunno. Maybe. But wouldn't that also invalidate some retail games? Or maybe it is especially incompatible, since it uses the extra processing power of the DSi? I'm not sure. We'd have to analyze the entire list of incompatible stuff.

It could just be a coding thing. Like how certain sloppily coded games are harder to emulate.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 22:27
Whatever the case is, I'm incredibly jealous that I can't play this game on my 3DS. When you first recommended it in the other thread I immediately went searching for it.

In other words, you broke my heart with your pinball game.

(Though, hey, Williams Collection got dated, apparently. Roll on September!)

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 22:43
Well I decided to play a couple of rounds of this game since this thread got me interested again, only to find out the right trigger on my DSi is busted, BUSTED! This has never happened to me before, oh Nintendo! Stop making your stuff in Taiwan and China and bring it back to Japan. First my 3DS has a wonky hinge now my DSi is rendered practically useless* and only 2 years old. What happened to that mythic Nintendo quality?!

Oh well, this just goes to show that God wants me to buy a new DSiXL.

*technically you can use the d-pad and buttons instead of the triggers for this game, but bah, some games do require the right trigger.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 22:53   Edited:  07/12/11, 22:56
I broke your pinball heart, eh? You can probably repair it with fresh parts and heavy rubber bands.

And how dare you call the Williams Collection dated? Those are classics!

Srsly, it sucks that you can't play Ancients Beckon. Cross your fingers for a 3Dmake.

That is a serious problem with the DS brand (starting with the Lite). It happened to my Lite and DSi (which was, thankfully, still under warranty). I just hope the shoulder buttons on the 3DS don't crap out.

I want to trade my DSi for an XL, too, though. And possibly my shitty Lite for a new one, so that I can play accessory games on it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 23:11
I want a new Lite for the same reason, love that rumble for the 3 or so games that support it, LOL. I just hate the colors they offer now, those 2-tone models are fugly.

Ideally I want 2 of every DS model, one to play and one to keep in the box as a collector. Starts to add up though when you're buying multiple systems, and I already missed the boat on the DS Fat, at one time I had 4 of them (silver and blue NA versions, and white and black imports) but sold them all. STUPID of me. Now they're impossible to find new.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 23:19   Edited:  07/12/11, 23:19
A fatty? Really? Why do you want one? That WAS probably the last sturdy model, though.

I'm not really a collector. I just want to be able to play everything, which is why I kept my OG GBA - Kirby's Tilt'n'Tumble. The Paddle Controller and Mag Kid mouse controller compel me to keep a DS Lite. Plus, GBA compatibility, I guess, even though I prefer GBA games on a GBA.

I even imported a DS Lite Rumble Pak, heh. I am a nerd among nerds.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 23:31   Edited:  07/12/11, 23:32
I imported the DS Lite rumble pack too! I have both the fat-ass one that came with MP Pinball and the sleek Lite one. *high five*

I want the Fat just as a piece of history, I actually though it looked cool, if it wasn't for the dim screens I would have had no problems with the design. Up until very recently I've always sold all my consoles and handhelds as soon as I got bored of them, or a newer model came out. Now I miss them. Consoles take up a lot of space but handhelds are small, from now on I want to save them. And hey, if the iPhone really does kill the handheld as we know it, it might be really cool to have a collection of Gameboys and DSes, in 10 years Nintendo might be making them anymore.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 23:42
*high five*

Can't beat that dual buzz-pack action! Did you import a Taito paddle? Pretty badass. Arkanoid DS sucks, but Space Invaders 1 & 2 and Space Bust-a-Move are great with it. Slide Adventure: Mag Kid is just bizarre. It turns your DS Fat or Lite into a mouse. Which acts in the game as a magnet. Bizarre.

You know, older handhelds are acquiring some value these days, especially since newer models often shed features or functionality.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 23:47
No I didn't get the paddle, I've often thought about it though, Deerock has one and loves it. I barely remember that slidy thing, don't think I was every interested in that one.

I do have the RAM pack for the JPN web browser though, in hind site the paddle would have been a much better expenditure.

Posted by 
 on: 07/12/11, 23:51
Haha, yeah, the paddle probably would've been a better choice. You can still grab one! Hurry!

Mag Kid was, like, $4, shipped, WITH the controller. Couldn't pass that up. I did pass up Face Training, though.

Posted by 
 on: 07/13/11, 00:16   Edited:  07/13/11, 00:17
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