Alien (Heighway Pinball)

Pinside rating

This game received 143 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.051 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #72 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.803

Artwork: 8.051

Sounds/Music: 8.369

Other Aspects: 7.968

Pinside staff rating

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


Your Rating?

You need to be logged in before you can rate pinball machines. No account yet? Registering only takes a sec!

Found 52 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 52 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

List options

9 days ago
WOW! This machine is really something else. It looks awesome with the strange cabinet with lights in it and the cool Alien mechanism picking up the ball. The sounds and the sound quality makes you think you are in the movie. Very cool and difficult machine to play. Also a machine you don't see a lot. I do prefer this machine over the PB version since the quality is a bit better and it feels better. But of course PB is still new in the game and might get better.
1 year ago
Played several times at the newly-opened Medway Pinball Club.

Great fun pin. Incredibly immersive with the full-screen graphics and the LCD and callouts mean it’s never unclear what to shoot for. The graphics are appropriately dark and scary. I played some of the Aliens mods and it was a real treat for an Aliens film fan.
1 year ago
I FINALLY got the chance to play this game. Been looking for one for years. Wouldn't you know, it was in a friend's garage...

The Pros:
An interesting layout in a wide body proportion. I prefer narrow bodied games, but there are a few wider games that I like (Twilight Zone, Star Trek:TNG), I think this will be one of those wide body games that I think are of good playing quality. There are interesting shots to be made with good rules and choose-able paths through the game's software. I would even go as far as saying that the different paths are different enough to offer multiple experiences within the same box. BRILLIANT! The artwork on the game is perfect for the theme and while some consider the lighting on this game to be "dark"... it is appropriate to the dressing and theater of what the designers created. Let's call it the "anti-feature". When this game flows, it sings. When the cross playfield shots work, the feed from the upper right to the upper left to the ramp shot may be one of the most satisfying combos in all of pinball.

The Cons:

Andrew Heighway.

Some of the audio and video assets show their age. I don't know if the game feels "clunky" or if the copy I played just needed more love. I do like me some Sigourney, but I also understand why she isn't included in the design. They got her on Ghostbusters, but not this game. Calling Roger Sharpe! The shitshow that this game whipped up is a most tragic story. I know of a few people who put their hearts into it's development only for the house of cards to fall down. Hard. There were a lot of unhappy people who spent a great deal of money for a game that never showed up. The pain, feel it. Ouch.

The Takeaway:
The feel and the tension of this game is palpable. Better than any other horror game I have ever played. Credit for this is specially prominent to David Thiel. He knocked it out of the park with his part of the player experience. The theme is very well integrated and when the alien eats the ball, right off the playfield... WOW!

Credit to Pinball Brothers for keeping this project alive and supporting it after the nonsense that happened with the first verison of production. I may have to find a copy for my own collection. This review was based on the Pinball Brothers game, not the Heighway production model.

After playing the Heighway game at VFW in Ann Arbor multiple times, I had to put this game on the short list. Found a copy. Traded a stern preem for it and man... WOW! This particular copy was the standard version. I like the darker look to the graphics and the feel of the game's suspense. One thing I didn't like... no stage flipping. The good news is that the software supports stage flipping. The not so good news is that I had to add an extra switch for the game to accept the inputs from the flipper buttons. I also don't care for how difficult the balls are to see just above the slings and the inlanes/outlanes. It's hard to defend against what you can't see.

This took a bit of figuring out. Got the double switches, but there was nothing in the man-well to show me what to do. The good news is that Pinball Brothers has an excellent tech support team. With a bit of trial and error (message me if you have any questions about what I did if you want to do it to your own copy yourself...) I got it to fit and work as it should. And man... this game is AWESOME! I usually don't like wide body games. This game and TZ are the exceptions. 4 flippers with multiple cross playfield shots. The shots from the two lower flippers feel GREAT. The shots from the upper flippers are challenging and satisfying. The rules of the game have been thoroughly sussed out and your choice between the ALIEN and the ALIENS mode paths means that you can choose the path of play that offers you the kind of modes that you prefer to play. Get to know this game and it will show it's quality to you. I am still mastering the weapons and when to activate them, but this feature adds another layer of depth to the ruleset.

More than anything else, the Theatre of this game offers a different player interactive experience than any other pinball game that I can think of at the moment. Most pinball game have a relationship of man vs. machine. A few games offer the chance of the experience to me man WITH machine. Alien isn't like that. This pinball game is HUNTING THE PLAYER. Losing to this game has DIRE emotional weight to it. Do you want to have a Xeno bursting out of your chest because your playing came up short? Then you'd better play like your life depends on it!
1 year ago
Just a little too dark lighting for me. The toys seems cheap. I wanted to love it, but just couldn't.
2 years ago
No matter if it is LE or SE - a must have -
3 years ago
During the christmas holiday, I visited a quite large Arcade with ~80 pins. Some old favourites and some new ones.
Afterwards, the one that really stuck in my memory was Alien.

I think I've never experienced a pin that captures the theme so well. At times, it was downright scary. The shots had a good variation and the screens with clips from the movies was very well integrated.

I experienced the playfield as quite dark, which added to that thriller movie feeling but also made it hard to see what was going on with the ball from time to time.

I'll definetley play this game some more when I get the chance!
3 years ago
I have played this game quite a few times at Galloping Ghost Pinball. I know its super rare, but I am afraid I find this game SUPER BORING to play. It also breaks quite a bit. But, I've played it more than a few times when it was working 100%.
The game just to me is ho hum. Sure the cab looks good, what little backlass is acceptable, and the playfield art is decent. Lots of toys and sculpts, and one of the coolest ball lock mechs in all pinball... That might be the coolest thing about this game is the ball lock.
But, it just everything lacks energy. I make a shot, start a mode, mb.... Who cares.
I like the movie, I love Vasquez, but I don't love the movie. Other sci fi and action movies I like better, but I do like the theme. And even the clip utilization is just boring in this game. Just a snoozefest for me. I don't know why that is, its just I don't ever have a desire to play this game, and sometimes when I am at GG I don't play it at all, and I couldn't care less if it is extremely rare game and that's my only place I could ever play it at. I rather play AFM or Black Knight, or insert literally any other game just about.
But, even the art package on this. Its just nice, it doesn't pop. Nothing truly pops. The rules. I won't lie and say I understand the rules. But, I do know there is nothing about the rules that really stood out and made an impression on me.
If you like this theme and you like the game. That's great. To me this pin just hasn't clicked with me. If my opinion on it changes I will alter this review. However, I've played many games on it, and I just don't enjoy it. And that to me is the most important thing about pinball. Enjoyment.
So would I ever own one. Not even in a collection of 50 pins would I want one of these. Too expensive, too much hassle and just no thank you. But, one of the coolest ball lock mechs ever.
3 years ago
Alien is a unique game that should be played in the dark with the volume loud. It’s an eary experience fighting yourself trough the Alien universe. The gameplay perfectly matches iconic scenes from the movies. The soundeffects, music and lighting is phenomenal. The game gets under your skin and puts you in the middle of the action. Great movie callouts from especially Bill Paxton put a smile on my face every time I play this game. If you fail the drop ship mode Bill says “How do I get out of this chicken shit outfit” and Apone replies with “you secure that shit Hudson!!!”
Or the start of the “Save Newt” mode or Ambush multiball with the famous Alien tracking device fullscreen on the display: just great and unmatched in any pinball experience.
Do you like gore? Play the “bug hunt” mode and make the chestburster shot....don’t look up and make sure any youngsters are out of the gameroom.
Alien is a rare, special and expensive pin. For me, who knows almost all 90’s games by heart and the majority of the Sterns after 2000 Alien is a breath of fresh air compared to the usual pin layout.
If you never played one defenitely locate one and give it a try. A well tuned in Alien is a blast to play.
Lcd screen in playfield and backbox.
Sound and music quality
Xenomorf toy: eats your ball!!!!
4 normal size flippers
Some rather challenging shots
Beautifull popbumpers
GREAT callouts
All modes and multiballs have different outcomes: you win or lose but they are true to the movies.
Summary: unique, great, fantastic and challenging game.
3 years ago
Everyone I have every played is either broken or breaks down soon after people start playing. Clunky not fun. I think it has some interesting features that hopefully we will see integrated into other pins down the line. Play it, enjoy if you want, definitely not on my list to buy or play again.
4 years ago
It took me years to get this game into my collection after wanting one since it was revealed. It was way beyond worth the wait and money. This game is absolutely incredible. The theme integration including the video and sounds is simply unmatched by any other game I've played, ever. Is it a perfect machine technically? Far from it, especially lacking the presence of Ripley, but it's as perfect as can be without her. Heighway cut some corners I'm sure, but I'm so fortunate that my LE is in perfect working order and I've snagged a ton of spare parts in case it needs repairs in the future, which I'm sure it will, but I still don't care the challenges involved with that - this game is absolutely astounding and worth the efforts. If you have a chance to play this game in full-working order, give it a chance! The game gets a bad rap and deservedly so in regards to how things went south with Heighway, but the game itself is way better than how it is rated here on Pinside. I literally get goosebumps playing it and I have never laughed in joy so much during any other pinball game experience - it is special.
4 years ago
Great sound and visuals.

Plays a bit slow and clunky with long ball times.

If only this had been a narrow body in a classic cabinet.
4 years ago
A classic already!
4 years ago
Theme is spot on. The integration is very good with the latest code. The main "gimmick" was the alien tongue and of course doesn't work on my game but it still holds the magnet and the lights go out for a great start to multiball. The ball lock is a satisfying shot even though it doesn't "lock" the ball in the traditional sense. Originally I thought that it does play "clunky" but I think it's because the shots are hard to get used to. It's challenging and rewarding when you hit them (hypersleep, chestbuster and combo around the popbumpers). Lots of games shoot the same and there are enough changes in this layout to keep you wanting more. The cabinet design isn't traditional as well but I love the integration of the lite side blades in a dark room. Such a great concept.
4 years ago
There are fun pinball machines, challenging pinball machines, powerful pinball machines, theme-integrated pinball machines... and then there’s Alien.
4 years 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.
4 years 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 years 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.
4 years ago
Rapidly becoming my number 1
4 years 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.
4 years ago
Very underrated game. Theme integration is amazing.
4 years 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.
4 years ago
A true credit to the team that developed this game - the final product is truly exceptional. It is one of 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. The chest burster shot is too tight and is critical.

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.
4 years 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
5 years 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.
5 years ago
It's so sad that the 'chestbuster' shot and 'vent 2' shot are almost impossible to shoot.
There are 52 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

You too can add your own comment by rating this game! Click here to rate this game!

Over the years

Visualizing this game's rating and rank over the years

Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

Donate to Pinside

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, subscribe to Pinside+!

This page was printed from and we tried optimising it for printing. Some page elements may have been deliberately hidden.

Scan the QR code on the left to jump to the URL this document was printed from.