Momonga Pinball Adventures Review: Classic Pinball Gameplay Infused with Cute Characters and Real Story
As each genre of gaming makes it’s way into the App Store, it tends to take on a new personality thanks to touch controls and limited screen space. In the case of some genres, developers are still looking to find ideal solutions for the platform (ahem, first-persons shooters). And then there’s pinball. Not really it’s own genre, and really not even a videogame… So how does it fare in the App Store? Thanks to the work of Paladin Studios, pinball does amazingly well when played on iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, and their success can be credited to the characters and storyline they deftly brought alongside the classic pinball gameplay.
… Actually, calling anything about Momonga “classic” would be off base. The game’s lead character is called Momo, and he just so happens to be a flying squirrel who lives in a village that gets destroyed by a band of owls. After teaming up with a wandering panda, Momo sets out to find his lost friends and simultaneously “take on the forces of evil.” Who would have thought we’d take even that much space talking about the storyline of a pinball game?
Paladin Studios manages to keep this somewhat-elaborate storyline rolling by disregarding the “rules” of pinball. We’re not confined to any set boundaries in Momonga, and that means Momo can roll and fly his way into different and new landscapes anytime he gets rocketed into the right passageway (which is up to you, the pinballer). You’ll quickly realize the variety this constant motion brings to the gameplay, as Momo’s little rolling body will be backdropped by scenes like underground tunnels, wilderness landscapes, and whatever else you might find on the continent Aya.
While almost everything about Momonga is different from what you’d expect, that’s not the case with the controls. Paladin stuck close to the elements that have made pinball endure, and that means you’ve got two buttons for controlling your flippers, and then a pull-back mechanic that will get Momo (or whatever character) launched into the foray. From there, your job is to aim carefully, and maybe implement moves like stopping Momo in the corner of the flipper as you wait for the right moment to fire… Those basics will you get you through the majority of Momonga, though the game sometimes mixes things up with unique boss fights or flying routines. There’s nothing too pinball-esque about these sequences, but if you enjoy the characters, scenes, and story, they only serve to enhance the whole package.
If there are any complaints to be made about Momonga, they’ll likely relate to the pinball physics—which experienced players will find lacking, given the absence of “finesse” shots that might have been used to send Momo flying different distances. As it stands, he only has one speed. And then, of course, you can’t “tilt” a continent. You might also find that the risk of having Momo go between the flippers is less pronounced than in old-style pinball… Taken on their own, none of these slight differences is much to worry about, but all together, they take Momonga a little further from classic pinball than might have been necessary.
But who said you were buying a game about a flying squirrel and his made-up universe because you wanted something classic? The creators of Momonga made a lot of great decisions in delivering this title to the App Store. There are no in-app purchases or ads, and from beginning to end there’s something very pure about playing some light pinball to help Momo get the job done… With more levels surely on the way, you’ll want to get on board with this one early. The price of $1.99 is beyond acceptable for getting your hands on this new school of digital pinball.
Our Score: 4 Out of 5 Stars