zaphX's ratings

Pinsider zaphX has rated 10 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms zaphX's personal top 10.

Rating comments

zaphX has written 9 rating comments:

1 year ago
Frequently I get asked if this game is better than POTC, which is my favorite JJP, etc. I find that question difficult to answer because every JJP game is markedly different than the others, and this one is no exception.

I will say there are some "signatures" that you'll recognize from POTC:

- Through-the-pops EB shot (though this time it has an easier drop through the AXL lane)
- The notion of building a multiball stack - this time 4 rather than 6 - with visual indication of each and incentives to run all 4 at once
- Under-flipper shot (though this time it's more like WOZ than the Tia Dalma shot.)
- Remember the 22 characters that changed gameplay attributes? Now those are patches. You can ignore them if you wish, or work towards specific patch sets to gain desired buffs.

That being said, this is a completely new experience and plays far differently from POTC.

This game has an extremely high "one more try" factor that keeps us hitting start. We've already put 2000 plays on it in under 4 weeks.

The prevailing criticism has been "too many multiballs" and I must concede that it is indeed multiball heavy. However, it's not just a simple flail fest (though newbies will enjoy it on that level.) As you start to peel back layers of strategy you'll discover that stashing balls on the guitar neck will clean up the playfield and allow you to make your song shots more selectively.

Each song has a different shot sequence and level of difficulty, offering a lot of variety.

We're loving our CE and it's looking to be a keeper for us.

Lastly, I want to talk about the toys in the game...I've seen some people complain there aren't enough, which is nuts to me! I will say though that the toys are so deeply integrated with the game that they blend in rather than stand out. That is a good thing.

I mean, look at this list:

- Bass guitar ramp return w/ passive diverters
- Guitar lock w/ passive diverters
- Drumstick ramp return
- Crashing cymbal pop bumpers
- AXL sculpt
- Slash hat light assembly
- Record spinner
- Catwalk ramp returns
- Speaker stack diverter cover
- Hotrails!
- Fully articulated spotlights
- LED-lit Guitar Pick Spinners
- Hex Stage Lights
- Jumbotron concert screen
1 year ago
I really wasn't sure about Hobbit.

I am not a fan of the theme at all, and I wasn't sure if the game would resonate. I happened on a pretty good deal though, and I have yet to be disappointed by a JJP so I went for it. I'm very glad I did.

People say Hobbit has long ball times and I agree, it does. This is ok with me; it's a nice contrast with the rest of my collection.

The rules are well structured and there are so many story modes (across varying levels of difficulty) that there is always a new challenge.

I'm really happy with the game and glad we bought it.

This is after a couple months ownership and a couple thousand plays.
1 year ago
So first the good things, and there are a lot:

Could not be better. I love the cabinet, backglass and playfield art. It's colorful and striking and 100% on point with the theme and characters. The butter cabinet is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend getting it.

Also could not be better. Scott Danesi's thumping techno take on the classic RM theme, plus the new compositions and a few TNA throwbacks are a perfect package. The callouts are perfectly on point as well. Perfect score. The sound system in the cabinet is the best I've heard in a pin. However, the subwoofer is so powerful that it makes everything in the game resonate and rattle loudly. I've done some work to pad the glass channel, backglass and metal service panel which has helped a lot.

Perfect score. Full RGB everywhere and used to the full extent. Contender for a TWIPY in my view.

Excellent use of the RM assets and extremely well presented. Perfect score here also.

This game has unusual and challenging shots. The three in the middle (the U-turn and scoop) are all pretty easy to make and hittable from both flippers.

On the left you have a steep left ramp, the garage shot and the spinner shot (both of which can only be hit from the upper right flipper.) The ramp takes a really perfect hit to make the climb. The spinner shot is SUPER satisfying when you nail it, especially if you loop it repeatedly. The garage shot I'm still struggling with a lot.

On the right you have a ramp (hittable from both flippers), the right orbit, and a difficult narrow curved hairpin. Like the difficult shots on the left, this shot is tough to hit but feels great when you do. It does a swift little twist and then feeds the upper flipper.

Speaking to that upper flipper, there are 3 ways to feed it - the left ramp (hard), the right hairpin (hard) or just shoot it weakly into the right orbit for it to fall back down. There are times when you really need a spinner or garage shot and it can be challenging to feed the flipper to perform them.

While the shots are hard to make, the game is not unfair. There's no orbit or return that aims for a center or side drain. The one exception I'd make to this statement is the right ramp return - sometimes there is enough ballspin when it drops that the ball crawls out of the A lane into the M lane for a drain. This is disheartening when it happens. (UPDATE: Waxing the machine seems to have fixed this!)

I find the shots on this game similar to Jurassic Park. They both have 2 difficult West->East shots from the upper right flipper, and they both have a tricky right side shot.

The adventure modes are on point with the theme and the shots are nicely integrated. Each mode has a different enough goal/limitation that they feel distinctly different from one another. The downside is there aren't very many of them. It won't take long before you've seen them all and start to repeat. I realize it's early days on the code but I hope this progresses over time.

That's my hot take after a week of ownership and ~500 plays.
2 years ago
When I first got into pins, WOZ was off-putting to me based on its difficulty.

After a few years in the hobby (and a brutal Wonka machine that forced me to learn better nudge and ball control skills) I find it's a completely different experience.

I bought a mint one-owner HUO ECLE and I'm very happy with it.

The game itself is a stellar package. It has amazing sound, glossy direct printed clearcoat art, and dazzling light shows (probably their best!)

If I had one thing to criticize it would be the shots. It's kind of a two shot game between the ramp shot and castle shot, both of which are the bread and butter of the gameplay. The software does a fine job of mixing in other goals though to make that less repetitive.

This game has the JJP magic I've come to love - stacking multiballs, long-lasting challenge, large over-arcing goals to shoot for.

I doubt this game will leave my collection, but if it does it will be for a YBR because I love that color scheme.
2 years ago
The CE is the greatest version of the greatest game in pinball!

The Davy Jones artwork package is great and the barnacles are a super nice touch.
The motorized "ship in a bottle" topper is cool looking, but noisy - I've disabled the motion on mine.

This is a keeper game for me that won't be going anywhere!
2 years ago
We've now had our Wonka CE for nearly 10 months and 6000 plays. Our opinion of the game keeps improving!

We still play it and we're still not bored by it. We do have other pins, but we keep coming back to this one.

The goal progression (golden tickets) are structured very well such that we continue to get a tiny bit closer with time and practice...just enough to keep us hooked. My wife and I have both gotten 2 tickets a handful of times, and she beat me to 3 tickets just the other night.

We'll be playing this for a long time and it has absolutely earned its place in our home.
3 years ago
Note: This is a revised review after 3 years of ownership.

When I got this game in 2017 it wasn't just my first pin, it was my first experience actually understanding what pinball is about. Unfortunately my skills were not strong enough to get very far. As such my interest waned and after a few months we had the dust cover on more often than not. Eventually the game sat more or less idle for a few years.

During this time I picked up several of the best JJP titles, and the extremely difficult Wonka made me a much better player.

I decided to sell Star Wars and so decided to give it some "farewell" plays. I was surprised to find that the game was MUCH more appealing to me now that I've gained better catch, nudge and aim skills. In fact...I am hooked on it. I've decided to keep it and I'm actually having a very good time playing this game.

So first the negatives: yeah the playfield doesn't have much on it, yeah the toys are weak. But what it does have is outstanding flow and a lot of fun combos. Making the hyperspace hurryup is a rush, as are winning the "planet" modes (Hoth, Death Star, Tattooine, and Endor.)

One of the controversial things about this game is the shot multiplier system. You have to continually bang the 3-bank to juice the multiplier, and it decays back to 2x if you don't keep that up. This was originally a negative for me but I now really enjoy exploiting this! Bump it up to 40X, then hit video mode or a super jackpot to really blow up the score!

In more general terms, the game did a great job with the Star Wars assets. It seems to have TONS of clips.

As my pinball maturity grows, I am learning to appreciate the nuance of different machine play styles. This one is flowy, fast, and fun.
3 years ago
I've been playing Wonka for almost two weeks now - over 1100 plays already - and I feel pretty well positioned to give a solid review.

Pre-release everyone said this game shoots like butter and it most definitely does. The two main ramps flowing back and forth feel great, and the west-east shot into the spinner is rewarding. No arguments about the shots, they are fair and fun.

The complaints I have with the layout are the greedy left lane and the flipper gap. These are not deal breakers, but they do add a little extra frustration. It is entirely possible more skilled players won't be as bothered by this. It's not frustrating enough to make us stop playing, but it's a factor.

Rules and Gameplay
The rules are loosely defined as follows. This is NOT an exhaustive list, just what I’ve figured out so far.

- Collect wonka bars via ramps and super spinner award for bonus
- Qualify kids via colored shots to Qualify them, then do one or both of the following:
- Play their scene from the movie, “completing” the kid if successful
- Collect them via the captive ball
- Multiballs:
- Kid multiball via the leftmost shot, using 1-5 kids
- Gobstopper multiball via locking balls 3 times
- Wonkavator multiball via 3 super locks
- Wizard Modes:
- Oompa Loompa Odyssey
- Wonka’s Office
- Pure Imagination (final mode for collecting all 5 golden tickets)

It’s deep enough to remain interesting long term, and challenging enough that you won’t master it quickly. We still have yet to get more than one golden ticket.

The big Gobstopper mech is front and center, and is satisfying (though dangerous) to hit.
The TV looks exactly as it did in the movie and the Oompa Loompa cameraman is cute.

The overall feeling is a little less toy-packed than most JJPs but what's there is well presented.

Audio and Music
The complaints on Pinside have been:

- The sounds are like a slot machine
- The announcer is terrible
- The music is repetitive
- The video clips don’t have audio

None of this matters.

The audio to me sounds great.
The announcer is useful and gives meaningful callouts.
The music is limited to a few songs, but you really don’t tend to notice when playing. The songs are well orchestrated.
As for the video clips, I genuinely don’t care.

The game gives audio movie clips to denote progress against characters. As such you can get more than one character from more than one scene at a time.
Layering this on top of a video clip with audio (especially if looped) would be a mess.

I’m happy with the sound package and chuckle at the large variety of game start/end Wonka quotes.

I’m very happy with it and still in on the CE when it ships. We have been having a blast and I’m very satisfied with the game.

It definitely has that "one more try" thing going on, even when it gets brutal and pisses you off.
3 years ago
I was really excited about this pin, and had a preorder in place sight unseen. Once the spinner and chest nerfs were announced, I cancelled my preorder, opting to wait and play one first.

It took a while but when I finally found one to play, I was blown away by the fun factor and depth - I ordered one for immediate delivery the next day!

Initially I dinged one star for music, sounds and speech, and 2 stars for theming. This was based soley on the fact that it’s not the music from the movie, the callouts are only one actor, and the movie clips show no actors. After playing nearly 1000 games, I have grown to appreciate just how great the music, sounds and use of theme are.

The music will run in your head long after you stop playing. It is will constructed, “piratey” and fun. The callouts do a very good job of varying so you don’t hear the exact same thing, and the actor who played Gibbs really did a spectacular job delivering them all. I now give full marks for sound and music.

As for theming, I raised this from 4 to 5 stars again after appreciating just how much they worked with what they had. Re-watching the movies helps a lot towards appreciating the chapters and understanding the scene references.

The shots are fair and fun. I never hit a frustration wall where I felt the layout was just bugged. I despise cheap side drains, and both the side drains in this game have a bailout where a skilled nudger can rescue their ball.

The game provides a number of different experiences depending on what you want to tackle. Do you want to blow up the score with ARRR frenzy and multiballs? Do you want to tackle chapters and try to get wizard mode? Do you want to play Liar’s Dice?

I’ve been playing solid for a month and I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of this game.