Hey gang, Valkor here. I was gonna save this next review for last in the Duo Games trio, but it's such a unique piece that I just had to get it out there. Why? Because I've never seen anything quite like it on the market. Now I grew up with pinball machines and I freakin love them in all forms - from the big machines in arcades, to the console versions, even those cheap plastic ones you can get anywhere and everywhere. But I never would have thought I'd see the day when I company would go all out and create a pinball controller. Enter Discovery Bay Games and Duo Games, who've done well with the Duo Gamer and now the iPad gets another treat in teh form of Duo Pinball, the first pinball controler I've ever laid eyes on.
The Duo Pinball works as an iPad stand with a pinball machine spin to it; on either side you have your flipper buttons and to the right you have your plunger. Simple enough right? You like the iPad through teh top and the device interacts with the tablet through Bluetooth, similar to the Duo Gamer. And like the Duo Gamer, you simply pair the device and you're set to play. At this point, the controller works with only two apps - Pinball HD and Pinball HD Collections. Pinball HD cost 1.99 and offers 3 boards at the jump – The Deep, Jungle Style, and Wild West; if you'd like additional boards you'll have to pay a fee. Now Pinball HD Collections is a free app, and only gives you one board. Again any additional boards must be purchased. With either app, you can "try before you buy" the purchased boards, that way you can see if it's worth it. I'm kinda feelin that AC/DC board, even though there aren't any vocals.
Finally the Duo Pinball can either rest on a table, tray table on an airplane, or even rest comfortably on your lap. And as a stand, you can use your iPad with the accessory for tasks such as web browsing, twitter, etc., so long as the screen stays in the vertical. And after spending some quality time and getting in touch with my pinball roots, it's time to give my verdict in the TOV Breakdown.
The Duo Pinball makes for one unique controller; again there really isn't anything like it on the market that I've seen and I googled it - nothing comes close. The controller really enhances gameplay by giving you that feel of actually playing a true machine. I love the click of the buttons and the pull of the plunger mixed in with all the bells and whistles of the Pinball HD games. The Duo Pinball holds the iPad in position firmly, so there are no slip ups during gameplay and the padded bottoms ensures that the controller won't slide everywhere when things get a little hectic. Overall the Duo Pinball is a unique controller that truly brings home pinball machine experience.
Much like the Duo Gamer, the Duo Pinball only works with select games, namely Pinball HD and HD Collections; you can't use the device for any other pinball app, which is unfortunate because there are so many to choose from. Next there's no on/off switch like the Duo Gamer. So you'll have to wait for your iPad to fully power down before that bright blue light switches off. Or you can switch off the Bluetooth in the tablet. Another annoyance is the lack of an opening to plug in your iPad to recharge. The stand that comes with the Duo Gamer has it, so why not this one? Oh and that cost – 60 bucks? Yikes! I think we can go a little lower than that shall we? I know this is a one of a kind controller, but given how few the tables you can actually play with the controller, I think the cost doesn't match what you'll get in the long run. Unless the device is capable of working with other pinball games, then I'm all in. Finally, my opinion on the look of the Duo Pinball will match that of the Gamer in that it lacks color, pizzazz, and style – something that'll really make the controller stand out. Even if the etched in letters were painted white, it would give the controller some life.
In the end, the Pinball Duo gets mad props for being something truly special and that's being one of a kind – a pinball controller that brings home the big machine experience. And given what few games you get to enjoy with the controller, it's still a lot of fun. Sure it has a few (???) rough patches, but if Discovery Games and Duo can open up the device, allowing it to work with other Pinball apps, then they'll have a beast controller on their hands. But as it stands, out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving the Duo Pinball a 3.5 and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.