Mario Pinball Land
|Mario Pinball Land|
|Release date(s)||Game Boy Advance
JP August 26, 2004
NA October 4, 2004
PAL November 26, 2004
Wii U Virtual Console
PAL September 11, 2014
JP September 17, 2014
NA November 27, 2014
Mario Pinball Land, known internationally as Super Mario Ball (スーパーマリオボール Sūpā Mario Bōru?), is a pinball video game that was developed by Fuse Games and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance and released in 2004. It is the ninth Mario game for the Game Boy Advance and is a spin-off of the Mario series that began on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
To proceed, Mario must collect enough stars to open specific doors, a gameplay element borrowed from Super Mario 64. There are 35 stars to collect in total. In typical Mario fashion, Mario must explore different areas to reach his aim of saving the princess. There are five different worlds, each guarded by a boss. There's The Fun Fair (the main starting area), Grassy Greens, Frosty Frontier, Shifting Sands, and Bowser's Castle.
When Mario and Princess Peach visit a funfair, Peach steps into a cannon, but the cannon is operated by Goombas. The Goombas shoot Peach from the cannon into Bowser's castle, and Mario must save her. He does this by using a machine that makes him a spherical ball, allowing for the pinball action of the game.
As Adrian Barritt and Richard Horrocks, veterans of the Pro Pinball series, had founded Fuse Games, they decided that, in the words of Barritt "we needed a bit of impact before they would even bother to speak to us". So they thought about a Mario pinball game, and produced a playable demo, featuring both the possible first area and the last one with a showdown with Bowser. Afterwards Barritt and Horrocks went to Seattle to pitch the idea to Nintendo of America executives, and were approved. As the resources were limited, Fuse decided not to develop the game for the Nintendo GameCube, resorting to the Game Boy Advance instead. Barritt added that he considered the portable "[an] ideal platform for a pinball game, something that you can just pick up and knock the ball around for a bit" and stated that "with experience on systems like the Super Nintendo we knew we'd be able to push the hardware of the GBA very hard to its limits". Despite Fuse hiring more people, the whole game was created by a small team of only five people.
Mario Pinball Land received mediocre reviews. The review collation site GameRankings gave a score of 65% with a large number of overall review scores lower than 72%. Most reviews praised the excellent graphics, but criticized the game for being pointlessly difficult and having overall poor gameplay. IGN's review in particular criticized the gameplay for having "bad table layouts with an overwhelmingly annoying 'playfield reset' element". The review concluded that "the gameplay itself is far more flawed and annoying than it is fun to play" and rated it 5/10. Adrian Barritt later admitted that during development they wound up not making the game easy enough for pinball beginners as "you had to take the time to control the ball", which lead to Fuse trying to not repeat the same mistakes in follow-up Metroid Prime Pinball.
Not all reviews were negative; GameDaily.com said that the game "...may irk you on occasion, but it's definitely worth checking out," giving it 6/10. GameSpot gave the game 7.5 out of 10, saying that the game "combines Mario with pinball to create an interesting kind of adventure game". In one of its highest scoring reviews, The Video Game Critic gave the game an A- and said it's "hard to put down."
- Fuse Games on Mario Pinball
- "Mario Pinball Land - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Provo, Frank (2004-10-04). "Mario Pinball Land Review - GameSpot.com". GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Harris, Craig (2004-10-04). "Mario Pinball Land - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Theobald, Phil (2004-10-01). "GameSpy: Mario Pinball Land". GameSpy. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Keefmaker, HP (2004-10-05). "Mario Pinball Land GamePro Review". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2004-10-11. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Bramwell, Tom (2004-12-02). "Super Mario Ball Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "Mario Pinball Land Critic Reviews for Game Boy Advance - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- Bedigian, Louis (2004-10-02). "Mario Pinball Land GameZone Review". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- Ba-Oh, Jorge (2013-09-03). "Interview: Barnstorm Games Talks Pro Pinball, Metroid Prime Pinball and Super Mario Ball". Cubed3. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
- GameDaily Mario Pinball Land review