Pinside rating

This game received 96 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.015 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #51 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.706

Artwork: 8.062

Sounds/Music: 8.398

Other Aspects: 7.937

Rating comments

There are 41 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 2 of us have rated this game.


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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 41 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 41 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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9 days ago
A fun game as is, but likely could have been better if the manufacturer (Heighway) could have seen this one through, finished and polished the code. An odd shape backbox, but that's not important. The video screen in the center of the playfield mirroring the back box display is fantastic. The lighting is too dark. Could have had GI flashing or pulsing lighter and still had the dark and eerie effect. The pop bumpers with their lighting are pretty cool. I played one with the Alien ball lock feature working and that gimmick is really well done. Overall, it was a fun pin to play.
36 days ago
Very overpriced and way over rated. The game play is clunky, and I think many are confused by all the TV’s which I feel they used to mask they didn’t add toys that the game deserved. The alien head is badly sculpted, and the shooter rod coming out with a magnet on the end is really bad theming to say the least.

I love the graphics they did and all the CG work, plus film integration all great.

This looks to me like a game that was almost finished but they ran out of money. Alien is a great theme, but I think they missed out on a lot of obviously opportunities.

Hey this was one of their first games, they get an A for effort, but overall the game itself is just good not great.
45 days ago
I wanted this game for a really long time and finally I jumped in on one of the last version which seems pretty reliable. I think when HP closed down the pin was ready at last. Anyway the gameplay is amazing, the theme integration is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s one of the only pin I had to force myself to stop playing.
This is the best modern game i ve played. I used to be dedicated to wpc 95 and this one make me change my mind. If you can try it, jump on it. Too bad the history behind on the other side but after though, maybe HP wanted too high for this game and didn’t realize the real price they should have sold it to be profitable. Really great game... should be top 5 for me... :)
4 months ago
One of the worst games I’ve ever played. The lcd in the playfield actually made the gameplay worse as who wants to watch movie clips while trying to make shot. Nothing redeeming whatsoever. I’m assuming this game was never completed right as balls kept getting stuck. I was just sitting there hoping and Alien would shoot out of my stomach and end it all

I lowered my rating even further because 3 butthurt people flagged my legit rating. This game is garbage
5 months ago
This is a must have game. Too bad they went out of business. I was in a room with 16 pins going at once and 50 plus people playing and this machine's sound and vibrations stifled them all. The video on backglass is number 1 of any machine. There is another smaller one just above the flippers so players dont have to look up for information. Great game.
5 months ago
Rapidly becoming my number 1
5 months ago
I’ve had the pleasure of playing two of these difficult to find pins. I feel the demise of Heighway as it relates to the premature termination of this pin is a terrible shame. Most of us can not afford one of these now, and unless someone buys the rights and produces more, the price probably won’t come down. I had a chance to buy one about 6 months ago for $8500, and I was very close to pulling the trigger. Only the lack of customer support and possible limitation on parts made me choose Dialed In instead. I wish I could own one of these. The theme is perfect, the game oozes Alien in every way. Sound, game play, toys, lighting, art package. Stellar job. Really fun pin to shoot too, with shots EVERYWHERE, you won’t get bored. If this pin was still being made, or if JJP or another healthy company made it, I wouldn’t hesitate. The rules are very well done, and you can choose Alien or the sequel Aliens to try to complete the modes. Excellent use of video and the lcd screens are cutting edge. This is such a great machine with so much more potential.
6 months ago
Very underrated game. Theme integration is amazing.
6 months ago
From an audio visual standpoint, this game is as good as it gets in my opinion. The merging of the cutscenes with the modes and play is incredible. An incredible feat of pinball technology, theming, and design. As has been said before, its such a shame that it is a greatness that never really was. I've had mine for a few months and acquired it from Nitro Pinball in Abbotsford, BC. Tommy and his crew there did an incredible job getting this thing running, updating the software, a bringing a true piece of cinema and pinball history to life. There are some shots that I've probably only made once on it, and that is a problem in some instances as it makes completing modes INCREDIBLY challenging, and i have a glitch here and there, but if you take that all with a grain of salt, what you have is a pinball machine unlike any other. A rare thing of beauty. I'm a huge Alien/Aliens fan, and always have been, so the theme couldn't be better (unless someone finally pulls the trigger on brining Jaws or Phantasm to life). This pin puts you in the films like nothing ever has. It's tense, taught, and I'm always left feeling like the aliens are in the room with me. I think this is do in large part to phenomenal sound design and speaker pairing. What a game. If you have the chance, PLAY IT....and play it in a dark room.
7 months ago
A true credit to the team that developed this game - the final product is truly exceptional. It is by far the most immersive pinball game I’ve ever played.

Pros - incredible theme/sound/animations make you feel like you are a part of the movies. The modes are difficult, well thought out and have a lot of variety in what you are trying to shoot and when. The cut scenes are well placed and highly polished. The mode instructions displayed on *3* LCD screens are very helpful. The playfield LCD is a great idea as it allows you to see some of the animations and mode directions. The Xeno head is one of the best toys in pinball. The layout is unique with lots of shots.

Cons: The upper flipper is hard to feed - a 50% chance of dropping from the pops is the best option. Feeding it with the upper left flipper or an extremely tight shot from the lower left flipper is harder to control.

If you played this game at a show or you played an early code version, you really need to try it out again on the latest code. The aftermarket community has been phenomenal in remaking parts and shoring up some of the fragile aspects of the design.
7 months ago
This game is near the perfection when it works perfectly. And it does for me currently.
You don’t play Alien, you are inside!
Tons of modes, great toy with xeno, some tough shots, deep rules, very challenging that keep you from coming back again and again.
I can’t believe all this waste
8 months ago
Hello I want to describe my first impressions of the Alien LE here
As a fan of the movies I had always kept an eye on the device.
After the highway bust, I was again in doubt, then have one from the last
Get production .. what should I say did not regret it.
Rarely is a topic so well implemented.
The two displays in the field are super integrated.
The atmosphere in the game is unbeatable.
An infinite number of different shots but sometimes very difficult, combined
with the great sound and the gloomy playing field just awesome.
Of course, the sound contributes to the game and quiet is not fun.

The alien is in no way different devices.
Anyone who likes the movies and likes to flippert should test the device, you will be amazed.
8 months ago
It's so sad that the 'chestbuster' shot and 'vent 2' shot are almost impossible to shoot.
9 months ago
Bought a late Alien and was surprised, out of the box fully working.
In this machine are several very good ideas for cabinet building. The technical aspect is, side by side with Full Throttle, unique ... unique means not bader than other producers.
The game itself creates a perfect atmoshere ... Alien style 100% !!
The gameplay is a mixture from well knowen shots of other pins, nothing really new expect the left outlane.
The game is fun, great sound, great light but .. be aware ... the producer no longer exists. No schematics, no manuals, no spareparts .. expect what the pinside community figures out and reproduces.
With around 200 games a keeper and collectible item. Even the producer does not exist afterall the price of this machine is rainig up.

I never say "never" on keeping a pin. Too many came and went off .. but Alien will stay a little longer. I have a gameroom with 10 games, so Alien fits perfect in the collection. If you own only one game Alien will become a little boring with the time.

There are 2 x 5 missions and 5 x multiballs plus several extra modes. Great animations, great sound but (like on PB2K) you see them repeadly.
1 year ago
I played an early version of this pin in an unfinished form and with some of the settings dialled down so ill have to revisit this review some other time. I love the theme being a big aliens fan. i thought the face huggers were very clever. The dark theme is great. The playability and shots weren't quite there for me. There have been code revisions and play field parts added since then so hopefully I can like it like i want to.
1 year ago
Awesome gameplay the rules the sounds the theme integration is amazing. It draws you in and you want to play it again and again. The Alien team has produced a very addicting game mission accomplished.
1 year ago
after 2 hours i like it , not fast as a got or star wars ( that i love ) , very different slower wide body feeling , excellent theme and ambiance , like the videos on the big screen , some difficult "x men/tron" shots with upper flippers , a good pin ( lot better and original than guardians of galaxy or aerosmith for example )
1 year ago
Alien is a great game. The layout does a good job of utilizing the full space of a widebody machine. There's plenty of shots and most of them are very smooth and well dialed in. The audio is outstanding and well integrated with the game. The rules are a little difficult to follow but just takes some time. The "toys" are very well integrated and pull the theme together - the alien head lock is one of the coolest toys I've seen in recent pinball. My biggest issue(s) with the game is that the upper right flipper does not have a consistent shot to feed it, and that flipper is critical for the extra ball and super jackpots and other shots during the game. you have to get lucky in getting a shot to feed the flipper properly (even a combo of right lower flipper to the mid left flipper to the upper right flipper is not 100% as the ball often will bounce into the pops and out instead of hitting the target and then coming back down to the upper right flipper). The playfield and plastics artwork and animations are really well done. Personally, I can't stand the cabinet though. Aesthetically and functionally this is an issue for me. The lockdown bar/glass has sharp corners, the glass with bezel is very heavy and a PITA to remove, the cabinet while being cool that the art is backlit, looks like there's hardly any art on it with too much black space. The modularity of the cabinet could be a winning notion though if pricing on future modules comes down.
1 year ago logo

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» Forum » Game manufacturers » Heighway Pinball » “ALIEN PINBALL : Review...stop your grinning and drop your linen”


ALIEN PINBALL : Review...stop your grinning and drop your linen

By mnpinball

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16#1 4 days


Pinside member
US Crazytown, MN
12y 88k 3,374 87 8
With all the massive posting on the Heighway Alien thread I figured this post might get lost so I wanted to create my own and delve into the game itself and give it a review from top to bottom as far as the art, gameplay, hardware and the cabinet, things like that.
People that know me personally know that I love Pinball any Pinball, doesn't make a difference who the manufacturer is how old or how new the game is, I can always find something good in a pinball machine so no one can really say that I'm a fanboy of any particular maker, model or manufacturer or genre of game.
I've been watching the Alien Heighway project ever since the beginning when it was talked about at a seminar at Expo about three years ago. Now to be honest I was never a fan of Full Throttle, I really didn't like Heighway's design of cabinets I didn't like the theme of full throttle when I played it at expo it felt clunky and just never clicked with me. However it was still fun to play.
Also with the new company and that company being out of the states across the pond I really wasn't a fan of sending any money to a pre-order considering what happened with Dutch pinball and the Predator project so even though this was a dream theme for me I've vowed not to make a pre-order until I knew games were stateside for purchase.
I've recently taken possession of an alien game and have had it for 10 days in my collection I can honestly say I'm extremely happy with this purchase.
I wanted to wait to share my experience in a review until I've had enough time on the game and let the honeymoon wear off.
I'll rank these topics in sections.
The cabinet is very well constructed and very solid. I'm not a fan of the head design it would be much easier if this was on a hinged platform for the head. There were no instructions included but between me and my son we were able to get the head on and figure it out. Only two plugs needed to be plugged into the head through the access hole.
Not a big fan of the magazine cassette style play field glass and frame similar to what you'd find on an early 60s Bally. It weighs like a tank, it's extremely well constructed but when you're playing the game it doesn't quite feel as comfortable as the other manufactures because the corners are so sharp on your palm. The corners are cut at a 45° angle and beveled instead of the normal lockdown bar that smooth and transitioned with a better feel to your palm.
For the theme everything fits just perfect I really have no negatives about the art it's well laid out, the font is crisp and easy to read. I will also say the play fields were extremely well produced I'm hardly seeing any divots at all in the playfield so whatever quality wood they are using is extremely good.
This here is a strong point with Heighway.
They are using a normal off-the-shelf motherboard CPU set up similar to Jersey Jack Pinball it gives the system lots of muscle and lots of room to work with including the sound. No fear of worrying about fixing or wondering how to get parts later down the line.
The proprietary thing is the driver board and the I/O boards speaking of the I/O boards there are four of them in the Alien and everyone is the same part number unlike Stern with their node boards that are many different part numbers that are game specific.
All of the light boards have through hole LED lights that are easily replaceable and can be repaired by a normal soldering iron and tools and skills.
There are even proximity switches underneath the play field on the left outer drain in the bagatelle area that senses the ball similar to like what you'd find on monster bash for the phantom flip. Very cool feature on Alien. And again these are through hole replaceable parts.
Flippers and coils and mechanisms feel great and not weak.
This right here is the crown jewel and high point in this game. David Thiel in my mind is a master at sound and I think one of the best this generation has seen in coin-op gaming. He has literally created a mind blowing eargasmic overload to give the player a sense of actually becoming part of the game and immersing the player into the theme. Compound that with a very nice hardware system to use and exploit the sound system is a major plus. The subwoofer in this game and the speaker set up is top notch.
Game layout and design:
4 flippers, 3 ramps, a magnet, 3 drop target bank, a saucer, a ball eating toy, the game is loaded.
It's got the goods but is it good ?
Hell yes ! The layout of this game is absolutely fantastic it's got some great unique shots, it's got hella flow, it's very fast and not clunky. I really like that they got rid of the Queen's nest rotating chamber that really did nothing in the upper play field and replaced it with a small LCD screen to give the player some quick information and heads up for starting modes.
All the flippers have nice unique shots, the ball flow to the outer Orbits is fast and smooth. For me it feels like a combination of Steve Ritchie's Spiderman and Dennis Nordman's Demolition Man, Dave Sanders has created a very nice game here.
What's here for the code is excellent thus far, there's five modes for each film which you can choose from at the beginning of the game via flipper button once you complete go through all those you complete the next film. Also there is five multi-ball modes. LCD animations are crisp and very well done, lots of movie clips culled and used integrated very well into the game.
I'm told there's going to be another big update before the end of this year.
This game is priced right around the same price as a stern premium and hands-down this game actually has the better value I feel. There is no reason why this game can't sell the numbers of a typical run say of 3000 units. The game is really well done and fantastic. The heart and soul is in this project, it's got some good people on it the quality of the game as well built.
So upon getting my game everything worked out of the box initially I was having some issues with the Xeno head, I took apart the long tongue mechanism and did some minor adjustments and put a very light film of Teflon lubricant on the slide. It was seeming to be binding just a little bit on the tongue extension the guide itself looks like it's made of a white Delrin material. It's now been working flawlessly since I've done that.
As with playing the demo games at the Pinball events for the last two years I noticed that the kick out hole always was having some chipping issues.
These games from the factory do not have any mylar on the playfield. There should be a Mylar strip on the ball kick out, there should be mylar on the drop holes at the ramps exits and possibly maybe a mylar circle around the magnet and inside the pop bumper area.
The ball launch auto launch ramp feeds the ball directly to the mini plastic ramp to the right flipper inlane. That ball drops on that plastic ramp I believe there should be maybe a spot mylar there or a hyperthin stainless adhesive square just to eliminate spiderweb cracking on that plastic from direct hits.
All the plastics are acrylic and can easily crack that's a negative for me because three days after I got my game one of my slingshot plastics cracked because there was no fender washers on the corners.
They should change to a PETG plastic.
So other than those few minor issues the game has been playing great and has been rock solid.
So really other than missing Mylar and the material made of the plastics I'd give this game a 9 out of 10 based on theme, design, build quality and presentation.
I think the more people get to see and play this game hands on they will be pleasantly surprised. This game is very special and definitely a turning point for the company
1 year ago
I've had my Alien for a while now and it's the best pinball machine I've ever played (and I've played just about everything that's out there). It's the whole package that makes it great...theme, code, sound, video. It just all comes together to scream ALIEN (and ALIENS). 15 modes, tons of shots, four flippers! Every mode is unique...throw in the use of earned "weapons" (fired using the launch button) and it really adds to the strategy. It's not an easy game...the shots are tight and some are at odd angles...but once you figure it out this game can really flow and show some blazing speed as well. I hope Heighway makes it and keeps cranking these out because everyone who wants one should have the opportunity to own one...great game.
1 year ago
I need much more time on this table.
I got in roughly 6 games over an hour.
The game had a few glitches, but I didn't allow those to impact my enjoyment of the game.
I'd rank this in close to playing Embryon.
The shots felt good.
The game overall feels a little clunky, not as smooth as a modern Stern.
The shots are FAR more interesting than a typical modern Stern -- which I greatly appreciated.
2 spinners
4 flippers
many orbit shots
bank of drops
1 year ago
This game is absolutely amazing. Other than the overall lighting for a dark room its almost all 6's for me. The Heighway team has some work to do as far as QC on machines that leave the factory so if you are going to buy this one, you need to have patience when setting it up, but hopefully they can get their stuff together and start shipping games that need less set-up time. Holy crap! This is THE BEST PIN of 2017 and even longer! Great shots, great rules, amazing sound and call outs. more more more...
1 year ago
I'm a few weeks and maybe a couple hundred games deep so here's a more in-depth review:
The game is incredibly immersive with very good flow (when you're on it) and packed with shots. I'm very happy with the purchase. This is my second NIB.

The build quality is better than stern, maybe on par with JJP, probably with a little less polish. There's a few funky things going on with the plastics, the ramps have some holed tabs hanging out. (maybe they took out ramp entry switches?) Wiring on the playfield looks pretty nice overall, you can tell they took out a proximity switch sometime later in dev, the cabinet wiring could be cleaned up a little better. Probably all these things will iron out further in production. I got confirmation plastics are acrylic, although it is much thicker than any game I've seen. The same goes for the metal parts; much thicker than modern stern mechs. Oh, and the backbox. I thought it looked kinda lame in pics, in person it's much more impressive and fits well.
On to the game-
This thing has shots!; easy, super hard, back hand, across the way and (awesome!) combos. The hardest single shot is the chestburster (up the lane just left of the right flipper) it's doable from the lower left flipper, but we're talking Tron gem shot, I doubt anyone can rely on hitting it this way. Fortunately this is easier (but not easy) to hit from the upper left flipper. This leads to combo shots, the best being lower right flipper to mother kickout, to chestburster to upper left ramp. The game tracks endless combos as long as you don't repeat the previous shot (can't go left ramp, right ramp, left ramp, etc.) I've also noticed the game has some combos named, kind of like the Picard maneuver in STTNG i'm not sure if that's more points or what.
The sound-
Probably the biggest factor in how immersive the game is. It's just well done. Seems like it's got a large variety of call outs, I don't think I heard "game over man, game over" the whole first night I played it. I dig fishtales, but if you leave a ball waiting to launch the music get really annoying. Nothing like that here. This game keeps some cool low key music going and drops a random callout now and again. Switch between modes before starting ball one and you get some cool story progression in the callouts.. I think i'm just scratching the surface here guys.
The Art-
I've got a standard with backbox screen, so I can't comment on the large egg or the LE Xeno. Backbox art with the screen looks good to me, the lit sides look really good. The playfield is cool, not super busy, but lots of details you notice over time, if you've seen the reveals from @aurich, you know what you're getting.
1 year ago
Very good theme integration, great movie clips, great toy (Xeno Head) and original ruleset.

Cons :
Odd layout (feeding the upper flipper is not easy), a bit slow (as compared to Full throttle, another widebody), some bugs remaining, dark GI.
1 year ago
Cool game. Left ramp seemed slow to flow.
There are 41 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 2.

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