Sometimes you just want to load up a game, and start playing, not caring how bad the game is, it’s fun enough that you’ll just keep playing.
That’s how I’ve been with Sonic Spinball ever since I first played it.
Sonic Spinball was a game released back in 1993, with its purpose was to be ready in time for Christmas, due to Sonic 3 not being able to be released during that time. With six months of development into the game from concept to finished, it shows.
The controls feel like a tank, while the jumping is almost a precursor to Sonic 4 to me. If you run out of lives, you start at the beginning, while there’s no save feature, so it’s one go or nothing.
The aim is to control Sonic like a ball in a pinball machine, with the aim to collect three or five emeralds, dependant on the stage, in order to reach the boss area. There’s also a bonus stage, which is just like a regular pinball machine, where you have to free Sonic’s friends in three goes,
Granted, it’s a lazy concept. Sonic spins like a ball, so it can fit into a pinball-esque game. But it’s oddly sadistic and addictive to collect the emeralds in each stage and see how far you can go before you run out of lives.
Repeatedly, I still play it at those times when you just want to zone out from the world and the internet, it’s fun but some areas can drive you to frustration.
With the short development, there’s just four stages, but the rise in difficulty with each stage will cause a ‘Game Over’ relentlessly, while the final stage will challenge anyone’s best patience. It’s, in a word that only makes sense once you play it, the tallest of levels. From the depths of lava, you have to collect the 5 emeralds, then once you gain access to the ship at the top of the stage, is where you have to fight Robotnik, while guessing as to whether the switches you hit, will allow you to hit him.
Last week, it took me an hour to complete this one stage. Watching Dan ‘Nerdcubed’ Hardcastle’s play of the game only shows how frustrating it can be.
A sequel could fit well for today’s consoles. Not so much VR, otherwise there would be much nausea, but on a smartphone would be great to pick up and play, especially with a quick save function. Spinball was on iOS, but it was taken off the App Store over a year ago. You can re-download it if you’ve bought it but it simply doesn’t work, especially when I tried it on my iPhone SE and iPad.
You can buy Sonic Spinball off Steam, just make sure you have an hour free.