Finally! I got an email a few days ago that they put a Hobbit on the floor at Pinball Wizard in Pelham, New Hampshire. So I drove up there after work.
I played about 2.5 hours of Hobbit, and I had a blast! That is a pretty cool game. It has a lot going on, and it has a lot of subtlety as well.
The main Multiball is fairly easy to get. Just like WOZ, it is on the rollover switches, so it qualifies itself. The only time I shot for it was for the last lock, or near the end of a game. I was going for the jackpots at the ramp (alternating).
The orbit shots were pretty tight. Even after playing it a while I was having trouble hitting them.
Modes. Yup, there are a lot of them! Some were fairly simple (hit the right ramp for a hurryup), and some were complex. There is one change I don't like, and that was mode instructions. They seemed more clear on the LCD last year.
Postpone the lock? Yeah. The ring button allows you to switch off the lock light and start a mode instead. I really found that interesting with the strategy. I wasn't sure which was better, carrying the mode into the Multiball, or starting it during. I didn't quite figure out the launch sequence with the arrow and the moving bar on the windlance, but I'm sure I will at some point.
One complaint I had was the left VUK. It still misfires. This was an issue on the prototype, so I was surprised to see it on a production machine. It happened at least 10 times.
The feel of the game is even better than WOZ. It just had a really nice feel to the whole thing. I might have added a degree of pitch and a notch of flipper power. But clean shots hit the ramps fine.
It is a game of long shots. Precise shots were rewarded, and there was a bit of swearing at bad shots. There was nothing unfair though. Plenty of different skill shots, and I enjoyed competing for a few games on it. Overall it was worth the drive. I think it is going to be a good solid game.