Sonic Pinball Party
is a video pinball game
developed by Sonic Team
and published by Sega
. It was released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance
As the name indicates, Sonic Pinball Party
is a collection of Pinball-related
games focused on the characters of the Sonic the Hedgehog
series, along with guest appearances
and Samba de Amigo
. There are five distinct game modes in all:
- The core of the game is "Story Mode", where Sonic must play through a pinball tournament to confront Dr. Robotnik and rescue his friends.
- "Arcade Mode" lets you play pinball on three separate tables, one for Sonic, NiGHTS, and Samba De Amigo.
- "Party Mode" has three pinball-style games for one to four players, including Hot Potato and Hockey.
- "Tiny Chao Garden" is a Raising Sim, where you use rings won in the other games to nurture a Chao.
- "Casinopolis" has three casino-themed pinball games where players can win — or lose! — rings.
In addition to standard playfield obstacles, the pinball tables embraced their video game heritage with wandering enemies, collectable items, and bosses to battle. The game as a whole was highly rated by players, who praised its variety, action, and excellent music. If there is a complaint, it's that the ball physics are a bit too floaty, reducing the element of skill required.
In North American markets, the game was originally released as a Target store exclusive — which stymied gamers in Canada and Mexico,
where Target did not operate. The game was later re-released as part of several compilation packs, increasing its availability.
Sonic Pinball Party demonstrates the following tropes:
- Betting Mini-Game: All of the games in Casinopolis.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: At the start of Story Mode, Dr. Robotnik has kidnapped and brainwashed Sonic's friends and turned them against him.
- The Cameo: Tikal appears on the Angel Island Zone of the Sonic table.
- Cut and Paste Environments: The main "Sonic" table has several Zones to be completed; the only difference between the Zones are the colors, music, and some of the playfield graphics.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In Story mode, the player must defeat Sonic's various companions in pinball to rescue them from Robotnik's hypnosis.
- Evil Knockoff: Metal Sonic.
- Fake Cross Over: While NiGHTS and Samba are prominent guest stars in this game, they don't interact with the Sonic characters at all.
- Inevitable Tournament: The plot of the Story Mode.
- Party in My Pocket: In the Sonic table, shooting the Big Target Hole three times changes the current character between Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose). Different characters enable different minigames on the table.
- Pinball Spinoff: A three-fer for Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS Into Dreams, and Samba de Amigo.
- Plot Coupon: The NiGHTS table requires players to collect Ideyas before he can challenge the Nightmaren of that level.
- Raising Sim: The Chao Garden.
- Rhythm Game: Invoked twice in the Samba de Amigo pinball table:
- During "Song Play", the player must shoot balls in specific directions in time with the music.
- Then there's "Fever mode", a minigame where the player must press the flipper buttons to shake maracas in time with the onscreen action.
- Spelling Bonus: Each of the three main tables has several Spelling Bonuses:
- The Sonic table has S-O-N-I-C to light kickbacks, R-I-N-G to temporarily collect rings on the playfield, and E-G-G to activate Egg Mode and challenge Robotnik.
- On the NiGHTS table, F-L-Y activates Acrobat Mode, and D-R-M-Y raises the bonus multiplier.
- The Samba de Amigo table has F-E-V-E-R to start Fever Mode, while Letter Collect Mode requires spelling the names of various Samba characters.
- Unlockable Content: Most of the games' modes must be unlocked by playing through the main Story.