Title: Pokemon Pinball Ruby & Sapphire
Developer: Jupiter Corporation
Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokemon Company
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Release Date: August 25, 2003
How we got the game: I bought it
It’s no secret Pokemon is one of my favorite gaming series of all time. This is a game I’ve had since childhood and come back to play once in a while. It’s a classic.
The game pinball is but a simple one. You whack the ball around using the flippers at the bottom and the ball rolls here and there bouncing into bumpers and running over certain things for points. The higher the points, the better you do. Pokemon Pinball Ruby & Sapphire is just like that, but of course, it adds a twist.
There are two boards to choose from – Ruby and Sapphire. Each plays the same but has version exclusive Pokemon along with different bonus stages. I find this to be great since I could spend hours on one board getting as much Pokemon as I can only to pick the next board when I lose and it’s like I’m playing a different game, even though I’m trying to accomplish the same goal.
Each board acts like a normal pinball machine where you try to rack up as many points as possible. There are various modes you can activate if your pokeball hits a certain area enough times. For example, you can hatch a Pokemon if you hit Cyndaquil three times on the Ruby board. The Pokemon will wander around the board and if you can get your pokeball to hit it a couple of times, you’ve got it.
Catch ‘Em Mode works the same way. You’re timed and have to reveal the Pokemon by hitting the bumpers in the back three times and then you need to hit the actual Pokemon three times. When you want to evolve a Pokemon, you need to grab three experience points throughout the board within the time limit. I find this one the most challenging.
Once you’ve captured three Pokemon you can move onto a bonus stage featuring Pokemon like Kecleon, Dusknoir, and more. You can challenge Kyogre and Groudon and, once you catch them, you can challenge Rayquaza.
Just like most pinball games, you have three balls to start with. You can use Latios and Latias to save your ball for a certain amount of time if it gets past your flippers and if it gets stuck on the sides, you can charge Pikachu and Pichu up to shock the ball back out. You can easily spend hours on the same game racking your points way, way up. Which is good, because there are a lot of Pokemon to catch.
The graphics in this game are certainly nostalgic. I played my Game Boy Advance on my Nintendo DS and it still worked really well. The graphics were bright enough and the pixelated images brought back a lot of memories.
The music is a delight. It’s relaxing as you play the game but when certain events happen – such as catch ’em mode, hatching a Pokemon, or simple going into the Poke Mart – the music amps up or has a certain jingle that fits perfectly with what’s going on. The music for the bonus stages are epic and tense as well. I stress easily even in the most casual of games and the music is spot-on for those stages.
The sound effects were great too. I found it pleasing whenever I stopped the ball from going down the pit. Having the ball bounce off the bumpers or getting sucked up into something was satisfying as well. Overall, they did a great job with the sound.
I will always go back to this game. There’s a lot of Pokemon to collect, evolve, and hatch as well as so many places to visit. Even after you collect everything, the gameplay overall is just fun. It’s a great game to play, leave, and then pick back up again after a while. This was the first time I played the game in years and I enjoyed it just as much as I did then.
Pokemon Pinball Ruby & Sapphire gets…
4 out of 5 lives.