Quoted from skov:
It seems like on mine that when the ball exits the pops without hitting any other switches the kickback will fire - lit or not.
I kinda like this as the ball sometimes take a bad bounce out of the inlane when going through the "four post guide" just below the pop area.
I always felt this was by design of the software, it does not always give you the kickback, maybe designed to help a player not doing so well?
Quoted from TheLaw:
Tonight I noticed on my third ball that the ballsaver timed out as soon as I plunged the ball.
Never played the game, to my shame, but are you sure that's not just a Lawlor thing? He's not known for timed ball saves.
It is very consistent on third ball, I think it is by design as well, like TheLaw points out, P-Law is not really known for ball save timers or gimmes, I think if TAF had ball save timers, the game would be a touch too easy.
Overall I think NGG is a pretty polished rule set, another update would have been nice and may have, as the OP stated, pushed this game into the top 10-20, but I think it is the theme that keeps it down.
Change the theme only slightly to Caddyshack, easy top ten. The voice of Rodney Dangerfield alone would have propelled this game to beyond greatness, imagine Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Ted Knight quotes as well. The quotes from that movie were awesome, Bill Murray chasing the gopher, priceless!