Duo Pinball is the latest appcessory from Duo, the folks behind the Duo Atari Arcade for iPad. Duo Pinball is an app-supported pinball controller for the iPad that features physical flipper buttons and a spring-loaded plunger. The result is a pinball arcade experience that feels crazy realistic, and a lot more satisfying than playing Pinball with just any app alone.
Setting up the Duo Pinball is a cinch. First you’ll have to put 3 AA batteries inside the Duo Pinball. Fortunately, batteries are included with the package. Then all you have to do is dock your iPad into the device and pair the iPad with it via Bluetooth. The Duo Pinball is compatible with the iPad 1, 2, 3 and even the iPhone and iPod Touch. Once the iPad has paired with the Duo Pinball, a notification will pop up, prompting you to download the Pinball HD Collection from the App Store.
Fortunately, Duo Pinball is smart enough to turn off automatically after 5 minutes of non-use. In addition, you can even connect the Duo Pinball to a TV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter or the Apple VGA Adapter. That said, the physical design of the Duo Pinball is very functional, but dressed in black with blue buttons, unfortunately it’s also a little blah. We can’t help but wish that Duo had spruced it up with a more interesting paint job, like how they did with the Atari Arcade Duo Pinball. However, its simplistic design does help you focus on what’s most important – the actual game. So putting that minor gripe aside, the actual flipper buttons and a spring-loaded plunger are very responsive and they feel very accurate when playing. To tilt you just touch the screen with your finger as if you were pushing the table.
The Duo Pinball works in conjunction with the free to download Pinball HD Collection. The collection comes with 5 free pinball tables – Play Wild West, The Deep, Snow, DaVinci, and Jungle Style. Each one of these tables have their own distinct personality and are rich with detail. And not only are the visuals for these tables vivid, but Duo has done a great job with the accompanying audio too. The sound effects and soundtrack feels very accurate, so that you really feel like you’re playing at a real pinball table.
The physics of these games, combined with the physical flipper buttons and the plunger, make you feel like you’re really playing at a pinball table. Even the ball on the table has detail. The camera does a great job of following the ball around – so much so, that it’s almost like cheating, since when you play at a full -size pinball table, you have to rely on your own eyes to follow the pinball around. Fortunately, you can easily turn off this camera setting.
In addition to the 5 included games, there are several other pinball tables which are available for you to try out, and additionally purchase . This selection is already quite large and is sure to grow over time, so you’re not likely to grow tired of the Duo Pinball at all. And on top of pinball tables, Duo is even developing non-pinball table style games that take advantage of the Duo Pinball form factor. There is one already available from within the Pinball HD Collection app, and more are likely on the way too.
Did we mention how satisfying it is to play pinball on the iPad with physical flipper buttons and a spring-loaded plunger? It makes the experience so much more realistic, and so much more enjoyable! Duo has also done a fantastic job with the actual Pinball HD Collection app. The pinball tables are rich with detail and are tons of fun.
The Duo Pinball retails for $59.99. And while that might seem a bit pricey, it’s actually a lot cheaper than buying a real pinball machine. Not too mention it takes up a lot less space! It also offers tons of gameplay value since there are so many pinball tables too choose from, and more are likely to come out. All in all, the Duo Pinball is a must for pinball fanatics, as well as anyone who appreciates some good old school fun with a modern day twist. This would make a great holiday gift for just about any iPad user.
The Good: Easy to set up, feels like the real thing, lots of pinball tables to choose from, pinball tables offer rich detail, great sound effects, works over Bluetooth so shouldn’t have have to worry about future dock connector compatibility issues
The Bad: Requires 3 AA batteries (which are included), design isn’t as cute as the Atari Arcade