I would like to give my .02 on my experience with Oktoberfest, and it may be worth less than that, but here goes...
I am fortunate in that I am able to travel to most shows. I went to Expo, and I went to Louisville last weekend. Oktoberfest has some great shots that are original and satisfying to hit. The toys are fun including the tapper, the target banks, the shape of shots, the habit trails and even Otto. I played it more than any other machine at the show. Despite the lazy narratives about the animations being sub par, I found them relevant, entertaining, and reasonably well done. The code, especially for being this early in the game, was pretty solid. As mentioned, there were some issues with the one that shipped but after Zach updated it, it was relatively trouble free. There is a lot to explore within the modes and it seemed it would hold up well to a home use scenario. I am a dad, with a 10 year old son in the house who I am very protective of. Yes, it features beer. So does prime time TV and sports. I find the theme perfectly acceptable. Beer and beautiful women are part of life in my opinion. I respect a teetotaler or puritan type that refuses such things in their home as long as it is not in lieu of a Walking Dead, Elvira or Big Bang Bar. Pinball is full of violence, suggestive themes and innuendo much less subtle than what this machine has.
Criticisms: I can't say that I would have picked the theme if I were the one in charge of such things, but after spending some time with it, and seeing how it has been implemented, I am warming up to it. I love humor in pinball, and this has it in spades. I am not crazy about the mech that is below Otto being a rehash, but otherwise, the machine seems to have plenty of features for the money, especially compared to what the market leading elephant in the room tends to offer (not hating, I own some of theirs, and I like them, but... it needs to be said).
I have absolutely no dog in this fight. I have not purchased a Houdini. I do not know anyone at American beyond here on the forum. I purchase machines based on their value and merits vs preconceived bias or notions towards what I should like, or what the mainstream does. It tends to serve me pretty well. I am considering a purchase of Oktoberfest for my home. I enjoyed it that much. I will talk about this in detail on our podcast we are recording this evening that should be posted on 3-6-19 of you would care to hear more.