Pocket Power: Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire

Though today you can stuff stereoscopic 3D and console-quality graphics into your backpack, that once seemed inconceivable. Handhelds have evolved quickly, but we shouldn’t forget the games that made them great in the first place. Though these games lack raw processing muscle, they have a power all their own.

We all know the amount of influence the Pokémon franchise has over video games. It’s one of the largest, most successful series of games in history and it all started on the Game Boy. Throughout its evolution, Pokémon has expanded its pocket-sized power from RPG to pinball. Pokémon Pinball started out for Game Boy Color but with advancements in technology and new generations of Pokémon, its pinballing also expanded to the Game Boy Advance. This is when Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire was released and came chock-full of more fun than its predecessor.

The original Game Boy version of Pinball was okay, but it laid the foundation for what was to come. In the Ruby & Sapphire version, the core mechanics were the same as there are only two buttons to really use in any pinball game. But with advancements in handheld gaming, we got to have a more enjoyable time when bumping thatpinball Poké Ball around. Brighter colors and more detailed tables gave the game a huge boost over the first one and appealed more to fans of the newer generation.

New fans were turning into pinball wizards all because of addition of new Pokémon from the third generation. New pocket monsters fill both tables offering all kinds of help. Spoink begins the game with a spring-loaded launch, Makuhita can knock the ball up the ramp and Sharpedo will let you catch other Pokémon. This doesn’t mean all our old favorites are absent; many of them are still able to be captured. New Pokémon also bring new tactics for earning the high score.

New modes of play have been added while keeping the old Catch ‘Em and Evolution modes. You can now hatch eggs in Egg Mode giving you more Pokémon to try and evolve which of course gives you more points. Baby Pokémon wander around the screen and you have to catch them with the ball before time runs out. There’s also the addition of mini games with Travel Mode which can boost your score dramatically along with a chance at catching rare Pokémon like Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza and more.

pinball1Some of the basic switches and pathways have been reworked for the better in Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire. Revealing a Pokémon to catch only take three hits instead of six which gives you more time to continue playing instead of watching the seconds countdown when the ball travels all around the board. Letting the ball pass the revolving switch will fill the Pikachu meter allowing for extra help if the ball appears to be lost down the hole; Pichu will even make an appearance sometimes to help out. It just plays much smoother than Pokémon Pinball which is just what anyone wants from a sequel.

Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire was deemed one of the best GBA pinball games receiving numerous awards and titles of recognition. It still stands the test of time as being a great challenge for any level of gamer. Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire is great to play on the go and with it recently coming to the Wii U, is also fun on consoles. Playing this game will turn you into a Pokémon pinball pro in no time.