Unboxed the Hobbit LE over the weekend with some friends. We played it for about 5 hours straight then my wife and I played it a bunch the next day.
tl:dr Game is stunning in person. After seeing lots of photos and gameplay videos, the sound and animation quality was still better than expected. As was the fit and finish. The modes require you to play all the shots, they are fun and beg to be explored. A real shooters game, fast and fun when set up steep. Seems like many of the modes and rules are in place with the current code and there is plenty to explore, but needs mode completion and dwarf collection awards, more Smaug speech and other polish to elevate it to the next level.
1) Game was very fun to me and my wife. Friends also seemed to enjoy the game and kept getting back in line to play. It has a good mix of easy and difficult shots, many satisfying to hit. Fantastic sound quality, content and animations. Also fun to watch others play to see all the cool animations and try to figure out what's going on. Layout seems somewhat forgiving, ie. missed ramps don't go SDTM, though don't let the spider tempt you into hitting it straight on from the right flipper, it can be death. Thus far, ball times are generally short.
Ring button is integrated nicely and used often. Golem outlane ball save is fun and challenging.
2) I think the Hobbit is unique in the quantity and variety of modes offered; ie. single shot, multiple shots, multiple stages, hurry-up, go for points, to name a few. All choreographed to events in the movies with accompanying sounds and animations. Like LOTR on steroids. Mini LCD and playfield lights do an excellent job of guiding you. Also like LOTR, you don't know how many shots are needed to complete a mode until you've played them enough to remember the requirements and use the sounds, insert lights and animations as indicators.
I really like the mode where a gap in the drop targets is moving around the playfield and you have to hit the yellow stand-up targets and avoid the drops. Hit a stand-up and the gap moves faster. I think it takes two or three shots to complete.
Also like the way time is indicated on the mini lcd and how time can be added to extend a mode.
3) Fit and finish is very good. Glassy smooth clear coat on playfield. Armor is a beautiful mottled dark copper color. Standard decals look great, semi glossy and very high res.
4) Game plays fast but I set it up steep (front levelers all the way in, about 3/8" of the rear leveler's threads peeking above the inside of the leg).
5) Pop-up covers and rollovers can affect the trajectory of a slow moving ball at times (for good and bad) so you have to stay on your toes.
6) Out of the box adjustments:
a. game was DOA. Removing and reinserting the power box fuse got it working.
a. ball bounces out of the left outer wireform when it hits the end.
i. bending the end loop up a bit mostly eliminated the bounce outs.
b. once, ball got stuck in pop-up as it was closing. Ball search could not raise the pop-up to clear it.
i. believe I read elsewhere this can be adjusted. Will experiment with it and report back.
c. sometimes the goblin pop-up goes up then immediately drops back down.
i. suspect needs more debounce to the switch in software.
8 ) Code Status - too early to comment much, but most noticeable things missing.
a. nothing happens after completing a mode (no bonus points).
b. no obvious reward for completing dwarves.
a. Still in the honeymoon phase but I'm very happy with the game and I want to keep hitting the start button.
Edit: Let me add that I'm biased towards games like the Hobbit because I prefer games that offer new things to see and hear as you advance over games that have mostly scoring based objectives.