Pinball FX3: A Buyer’s Guide

by Matt Roberts

Pinball FX3 has just added Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure to its platform, making it home to 100 different pinball layouts for your purchasing pleasure. You can buy all 100 for just over $300 at regular price, but is it all worth it? Also, is it possible to enjoy Pinball FX3 for under $60?

Let me answer the second question first: absolutely! Pinball FX3 is free to download and has two free playable tables available to everyone! After that, you can purchase more in packs of 2, 3, 4, or more. These packs cover original themes created by Zen Studios as well as Star Wars, Marvel, Aliens, Jurassic Park, Bethesda games, and more, plus recreations of real life pinball machines from Williams.

For under $60, I recommend picking up:

Balls of Glory Pinball

Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles

Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens Pack

Aliens vs. Pinball

Carnivals and Legends

Iron & Steel Pack

Star Wars Pinball (featuring The Clone Wars)

If you wait for sale prices on these, you might be able to add the Williams Pinball Season 1 Bundle on sale too and still stay under $60 for a large variety to choose from. You can also swap in Jurassic Park or the Marvel Pinball Original Pack if you prefer those over others I’ve listed. Finally, you can buy a physical release of some of the Marvel tables for PS4 or all current Star Wars tables for Switch for $20-$25.

Now back to the first question: is it all worth it? Well… maybe.

There are a few small benefits to buying them all:

  • Access to all tournaments.
  • Access to all tables in Match-up mode, giving a slight advantage.
  • Access to higher point values in the Wizard Score and Superscore leaderboards.
  • Access to all G points / trophies.

With 100 different tables, not every single one is a shining gem. Every pack has one or two standout titles, and there are only about 5 out of 100 that I just don’t care for. If you are buying 2-4 games at $5 on sale, that’s a steal.

If you already love video pinball and know you’ve gotta catch ’em all, then it’s a no brainer to get every one, even at $3 each. Keep your eye on the 7 larger season bundles and you can score some deep discounts. Anniversaries like May the Fourth usually bring sales too, as well as occasional discounts like $1.99 for the Core Collection.

Pinball FX3 is also available on Android and iOS with different pricing. I find the touch controls make mobile play inferior, but I suppose a controller and an iPad would work fairly well (and you can take it with you).

Here is the big caveat: a new Pinball FX is coming soon.

Let’s start with a few details about the coming Pinball FX: The new Pinball FX will be available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series S/X, and PS5. Any new releases will likely only be a part of Pinball FX (several have been announced). Purchasing a pack in Pinball FX3 will not give you access to it in Pinball FX and vice versa! Pinball FX should be in early access this month (March 2022) in the Epic Games store and coming to consoles in Summer 2022. Pinball FX will include visual upgrades and new features as described here: https://zenstudios.com/games/pinball-fx/.

So why bother with the old version when a new version is coming in a few months? I’m so glad you asked:

  1. Pinball FX3 is already available, is well known and well loved, and you can get into it now! Get a head start on earning high scores now so that it’s even easier if you want to move to Pinball FX later.
  2. Pinball FX3 has all of its content available now! While most of the tables available will eventually be remastered and re-released in the new Pinball FX, it is unknown at this time what exactly will be available at launch. Portal and The Walking Dead will not be available in Pinball FX, according to Zen Studios.
  3. Because Pinball FX3 is winding down, you will be able to collect many of the tables at a sale price by the time Pinball FX releases on consoles. Also, Pinball FX will be offering tables individually, and with Indiana Jones coming in at $15 by itself, we might see higher prices overall for this service. If you later decide you want to try your favorites in Pinball FX (or the new releases), you can always just pay for the ones you really want. Also, it will be even longer ’til Pinball FX offerings become available at a discount.
  4. Pinball FX3 already has a huge player base to connect with, and content creators have made easy-to-find online helps such as YouTube videos and player guides.
  5. Pinball FX3 will continue to be available and playable on the platform of your choice – PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and Xbox Series S/X and PS5 through backwards compatibility.

In conclusion, Pinball FX3 has been and continues to be my favorite arcade-style, pick-up-and-play game. You can play timed games of 5 minutes, or learn to keep flipping past the 30-minute mark for huge scores. I can think of no reason to avoid downloading Pinball FX3 for free and trying out the free title Sorcerer’s Lair, which is an outstanding table. After that, you can invest as lightly or as heavily as you want in order to expand your video pinball library. The new Pinball FX is exciting, but its value and pricing remain to be seen.

March 20, 2022

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