Weak ball physics and the lack of a tilt option make this pinball sim less than Ballin'.
So close, and yet so far away. That's the best way to describe IUGO Mobile's iPhone pinball game Freeballin'. It did so much right with its table designs, music and modes. However, the way the game plays, with questionable physics and the inability to shake the tables, may leave some players in a less than Ballin' mood.
In Freeballin', you have four tables to choose from. You can take on a monster-plagued city in Monstropolis, bounce around an African jungle in Tiki Trouble, take on penguins and other weird creatures in Dreams and Nightmares or flip your way through the futuristically designed Neometric. For a two-dollar iPhone app, that's a lot of variety. Furthermore, each of the tables was impeccably designed. The Monstropolis table, for instance, has two huge monsters right in the middle of the table. A Godzilla-like creature's back can be used as a launching ramp for the ball, and a gigantic squid hovers over everything, sitting on top of a building. It's the best designed of the four, although the trippy neon colors of Neometric are worth checking out too.
Furthermore, IUGO Mobile has put together a stellar soundtrack. Each table has great background music that perfectly matches the on-screen chaos. The sound effects are equally polished, although it would've been nice for some actual voice work.
Each of the tables has three play modes: Score Attack, Time Attack and Adventure Mode. Score Attack has no requirements and lets you play three balls in succession, while Time Attack has you shooting for as high a score as possible. Then there's Adventure Mode, which sets specific goals to meet. Adventure Mode is probably the most creative of the three, although some requirements are hard to meet.
Unfortunately, the ball physics feel more mechanical than realistic, with the ball following specific routes each time you flick it with the flippers. As a result, you won't be able to hit some targets no matter how many times you practice. This mainly applies to objects on the lower left and right corners of the screen, like eggs that need to be cracked or an accessible doorway that's anything but. What's even more mind-boggling is the complete lack of a tilt option. The iPhone is motion sensitive, making it perfect to shake the table if the ball gets stuck.
Freeballin' is still worth a look if you're a pinball enthusiast in search of something different for your iPhone (especially for $2), but the controls drag it down.
What's Hot: Uniquely designed tables, a variety of modes, lively visuals and music, cheap price tag.
What's Not: Unrealistic ball physics, some shots are impossible to make, no way to tilt the tables.