Quoted from jbug:
Let us know how you like Houdini. Would you keep the game in the long run? I considered Houdini also but after watching gameplay videos and seeing many shots not making the ramps, I was turned off. Another thing (if I'm correct) is having to hit shots in a particular order. The odds of doing that for someone with basic skills are not good and would contribute to someone walking away after a couple of games. Like, the theme very much though.
Houdini couldn't be more different from MB, but it is absolutely just as fun. MB is my go-to game for a quick one (mine is also set up super fast and no ball save, so games can be QUICK!), and Houdini is much more of a longer game. There is just *so* much to do in it, it can get overwhelming. It has like 14 different modes between the Stage tricks and the movie modes, plus a huge number of hurry-ups, several multiballs, and these combos which grow progressively harder. That's where you really have to do things in a certain order.
The ramp shot is also earlier than on most other games (higher on the flipper), so you really have to power it up there, but it is easily makeable.
There's a ton of complaining about the "tight shots" but IMDN has shots which are just as tight (e.g. left ramp!) and no one's complaining about that. Visually I think the game can get in your head, but once you've spent some time on it, you realize it's no different than any other game from that perspective. Anyway, there's a lot of complaining about the shot geometry, but it's basically just whining because it's not set up identially to a fan layout Bally game. There's some stuff that could be better - it's kind of "slow" as far as the software (meaning load times can be noticeable on rare occasions), and the graphics are more "Stern Aerosmith" than "JJP Pirates", but the game itself is really fun.