Two games that are definitely not Sterns . Ordered LOV the morning it was announced and from what you can read I am a fan. Never bothered with the Halloween movies and was not really interested in the title, but ,boy was I wrong ! Anyway my comparisons so far:
LOV: Beautiful game! I for one like the hand drawn art work. The mirrored back glass is excellent. The gold powder works on this game. Side Blades not provided but AP is sending them to LOV Deluxe owners for free shortly. The plastics are acceptable and look better in person.
Topper was provided. Looks nice but no real integration with the game
HW: Also a great looking game. Side blades are provided and they work. Also gold trim with loli pop side rails. Cabinet art is nicely done. The back glass is not mirrored but the pumpkin speaker lights are really cool. The playfield plastics seem a little cheaper than LOV but are also acceptable.
Topper also provide. Moving knife and an integrated light show.
Comparison: Slight edge to LOV. The mirror back glass give it the edge for me
Play field design:
LOV: A fan style design with a great spinner shot. Great use of magnets at the Kraken hole and Thors hammer. The "Dr Who" style side ramp to the ship is very satisfying. An evolutionary versus revolutionary design in my opinion. The left loop shot is makable but a touch "Houdini" tight
HW: Well, three play fields that really seem to work! Typical ramps up the middle, smooth loop shots, and I for one like the three hedge shots on the left. The hidden subways and various ways the ball can travel during play can give a "where is the ball" feeling. This lines up great with the shock em horror title as you never know where Michael is going to show up. Ad far as the upper play fields, I am really enjoying them. You have to be on your toes as to how the ball travels to the play fields. If you are not ready the ball has already drained to the lower play field. A revolutionary design in my opinion and a real fun one at that. Only down side is some air balls. An air ball plastic protector is over the drop targets for a good reason and one can get ai balls off the pumpkin cliffy/shot.
Comparison: Air balls aside, with the 3 playfields that are pretty interesting and not just hit the little ball around the loops ( see Munsters, ACDC). Clear winner HW
Code / Game Play/ Sound/lightshow
LOV: I am a big fan. Very non linear code with a lot of options, mini modes, ship multi ball, use of magnets and shot flow. The music for this game is second to none in pinball. The code is well thought out and in the point balancing/ glitch repair stage. While pretty good, I think there is an opportunity to take the FX sound effects and light shows to another level at certain points in the game such as when battling the Kraken and starting / playing ship Multi ball. This is a big missed opportunity on AP's part IMHO.
HW: Early in the code development ,but I also really like what I see. The game is hard, but as one moves through the game the play is extremely rewarding. The light show is well done and the game seems well integrated / immersive with the title. The sound effects and light shows really work when the game is played as it should be in a completely dark room ( See BSD in that way). The modes seem to be very creative and not just hit the "lit" shots.
Comparison: At this point a draw. However HW has a lot more upside in future code development plans. As those code changes occur , I will most likely lean towards HW.
I am very surprised here. I would have thought LOV would be the winner in this category as I am not a HW movie fan. The Viking title is a winner in my world. However, I got to admit as much as I like LOV, HW is the winner , even with the early code. HW pulls the player in to the game in a very unique way. The mini play fields, the surprise ways the ball moves around the play field, the sounds , creative modes and overall game integration work really well.
Both games are winners. They are both presently market priced at the levels of newer Stern pimped out pro model's or a lesser desirable Premium models. Both are more interesting in a lot of respects and give owners/players a lot of value. HW is in the Pinside bashing/ price discount phase ( See Tron, Iron Man, Ghostbusters, Stranger Things, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc) which actually makes it the value buy with tremendous upside at this point. To those who are dumping their HW games at discount prices, you may want to re consider. This game is a quality game and going to get better.
One last thing, both Spooky and AP are extremely customer oriented. I have had immediate support from both companies on questions. Both companies/ employees deserve big atta boys for their support of the hobby!