I watched the stream last night. Overall, I liked most of what I saw. The music, sounds, and callouts were all great. The game play seems really fun as well.
A few things I didn't like -
- The left ramp. You hit that thing fast and it curves so quickly that the ball damn near stops before gravity pulls it back down to the flipper. It needs to be a wider curve so the ball doesn't slow down so much. Every time someone hit that ramp with speed, I was just puzzled that they were okay with that design. It seemed so unsatisfying to hit it.
-The ship and ramp shot to it. The ramp shot seems very unsatisfying. It's so short and quick. Those side ramp shots are fun when they are like Tron and then wrap all the way around and come back to the flipper. Then it goes into this ship and physically locks a ball. I LOVE physical ball locks. But then there is this hazy clear dome over the ship covering this magic up. I have never seen a Viking ship with a clear dome over it. There is clearly an ugly mech in there that they didn't want to be seen, and didn't want to re-engineer it to hide the mech. Why not have the mech under the playfield and run the shaft or whatever is needed up through the top, so we can see the balls actually lock. What is the point of a physical ball lock when you can't physically see the balls locked?
-The upper left flipper. It only seems useful for the ship ramp and the stand ups to the far right. The inner orbit around the ship doesn't seem to be at the correct angle for this flipper to work with it. Most shots that hit the inner orbit would rattle around and not make it through.
-Thor's hammer. Seeing this in action was very disappointing. I would have assumed the ball would whip around, then an opto would see it on the magnet, then the hammer would come down with a great sound effect and light show. Not the case. The hammer would just come down and then the ball would reach the magnet. WTF? The hammer doesn't have the illusion of "striking" the ball at all. It seems so odd. When I'm hammering nail, I always get the nail in place, then I slam the hammer down into the nail. I don't slam the hammer down and then run the nail into the side of the hammer.
-The animations or lack thereof. Not really sure what to even say here. Honestly, I like the art style on the game. But there are almost zero animations on the display. They are just taking static images and zooming them in and out or shaking them. That's fine on a home brew game, but not on a production game in this day and age. Other manufacturers knock the animations out of the park. AP really needs to step up their game and hire someone who can handle this, if they want to compete with the big boys in pinball.
All in all, I think I'm out on this one. I was in with an order within the first 30 minutes of release. I was happy to pony up the money and support the company. AP customer service is incredible. I love to support the small guys. I love to support a home brew game that has come to life. But after AP pulled a bait and switch and then upped the numbers 67%, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Now after seeing the game in play, I don't see $8400 worth of game here. Trust me, I WANT to see $8400 worth of game here. I tried all night to justify in my mind that this game is worth $8400. It's just not though. Don't get me wrong, it looks incredible for a home brew game that has come to life. But it's still nowhere near what an $8400 game should be.