The Hobbit

Pinside rating

This game received 359 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.184 /10

8.184

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #33 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.429

Artwork: 8.995

Sounds/Music: 8.496

Other Aspects: 7.9



Rating comments

There are 176 rating comments for this game.


Pinside staff rating

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

7.857

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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 176 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 176 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 8.

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8.528/10
54 days ago
New code will help the rules
8.553/10
69 days ago
The Hobbit is an extremely difficult machine to rate because it is so unique. I see this machine as offering a pinball/film adventure (more so than Indy) rather than a typical pinball experience. This makes the machine both wonderful and very easy to criticize.
__________________________________________________
DESIGN & TOYS
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— The game is a wide-body and offers slower balls speeds than most wide-bodies.
— The double ramp is easy but fun to hit.
— The pop-up creatures are awesome, especially during multiball.
— The holes to the left and right are tough to hit.
— Some see the upper flipper as useless, but it is actually quite useful.
— The alternating drops are super cool!
— The playfield is wide open, but I find it to be a refreshing difference.
— The lock buttons are neat.
— The dragon should eat the damn ball!

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THEME/LIGHTING/SOUND
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— As with most JJPs, the theme is integrated pretty much to perfection.
— The animations and movie scenes are stunning.
— The sound booms!
— The use of LED lighting is done very well, even with popup creatures.

__________________________________________________
GAMEPLAY
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— This game plays very, very, very slow. I find it oddly relaxing.
— The ramps flow nicely, but there isn’t much fast-flow going on.
— The skill shot is super fun.
— Lighting lock is fun but easy.
— Multiballs are fun but easy to achieve.

__________________________________________________
CRITICISMS
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— Ball times, baby. Games often last 30 minutes or more.
— While the upper flipper is useful, it could have been more useful.
— Smaug is pretty, but as a toy it involves zero interactivity. I heard they had licensing issues.
— Some will despise the slowness.
— Some will despise the open playfield.


In the end, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I play this game. I find it difficult to rate as it goes beyond a simple pinball machine; it offers an almost meditative experience. If you approach it knowing this, it is truly a wonderful time. I do not play this game with others as they end up waiting and waiting and waiting. It’s best alone with the sound up. Will it hold up over time? I do not know, but I’ll likely pick one up when the price stabilizes on the low end due to all the haterz, bro. :P
7.972/10
72 days ago
Fantastic artwork and theme integration. Beautiful playfield art package. Good video clips and animations. This is one of the best looking games ever made. Right up there with WOZ. The problem is the game design and layout. The game is far too wide open for my taste and fails to make full use of the widebody design. With all the extra space, it feels like this could have been a standard size pin and maybe it would have benefited. Feels very floaty and slow on location unless the game is set up steep and the flippers cranked up. Also, the rules are not obvious and the 30+ objectives and modes are confusing. I do enjoy the 2 crossing ramps, great design. I hope they utilize that again in another pin. It's weird, JJP nailed theme and art and sound in this game, but gameplay is weak. Then, their next game, DI, is the exact opposite. They nailed gameplay and shot design. They whiffed on theme and music/callouts (in my opinion). Artwork in DI isn't bad, but it's all over the place because theme is odd. I agree this would be a beautiful addition to a collection, and would look fantastic next to my LOTR. However, not for that price. I'm not a huge fan of the trolls in MM, and this game has 4 trolls that pop up all over the playfield. No thank you!
10.000/10
77 days ago
IF this isn’t the greatest pinball game ever made its one of the top 5. It’s fun to play with tons of Fx. This is a must have game.
9.160/10
77 days ago
Great pinball machine. Give the game some time to reveal all it's potential. Sound ,artwork and music are top notch. On factory settings and medium outlane settings the game can be too easy for the decent and good players. If properly adjusted the game will remain challenging for quite a while. To get to the end of "Into the Fire" is not too difficult. To get to the end of "Barrel Escape" is another cup of tea. 5 nerve Wrecking stages and a sadistically difficult superjackpot shot to complete stage 5. I only nailed it twice in 1 year ownership sofar.
To complete "Battle of the Five Armies" seems nearly impossible to me. Apparently this endgame has 7 stages. I've only completed untill stage 4. If I Remember correctly you must by then kill 30!!!!! beasts..... but I keep on trying.
Great game. Third flipper can be very useful. It's not neccesary, just convenient. You'll discover that in fact it's very important to activate and stack the left outlane kickback.
Excellent use of the lcd screen. All info can be found there whenever you need it.
And the beasts get in the way sometimes or even often. But hey, in the 3 Hobbit movies they do the same. It's up to you to get them out of your way. The trolls in MM also block the double super jackpotshot sometimes during multiball madness, nobody ever complained about that.....
Play this game, look at the screen, enjoy the music and sound (play it at home and crank it up to 25 or more...) and try to beat all 3 wizardmodes. If you did let me know and you receive my congratulations.
6.400/10
3 months ago
Ordered this game NIB "blind". I am very happy with my WoZ so I thought the Hobbit be also a wonderful game.
The first week it was fun to play. But afert around half a year it became boring, very boring. The software was final but I have had games where nothing else was to hit or fullfill until the ball dropped out.
In multiballs it was nerving that the bashtoys came up rapidly, no chachance to hit the targets you had to hit.
With my opinion I was not alone and so more and more TH came up for less and less money. So I pulled the brak and sold it , it was a finaciel pat situation. No win, no lost ... everything okay !
Meanwhile I orderd also blind a DI! and I am still happy with that machine.
For JJPOTC I am on pre-order but thinking about leaving the pre-order-club due the new idea to swap 3 discs with one disc and apizza graphic ;-(
5.600/10
3 months ago
Great looking and sounding game, love the smaug dragon, but Not much to shoot at. Widebody and long shots hurt this one. Upper flipper is useless? Lots of multiballs but I find it boring and repetitive.
9.380/10
3 months ago
Holy cow do I love this game. The sound is amazing and the light show is equally as impressive. The movie theme is spot on. When I got it I was concerned about the huge space in the center of the playfield...then up pop the targets. The shots are makeable and the action is fast. I love the many types of multi-balls that are available. I haven't had a ton of time on it yet so my review may change later but my initial impression of this game is great quality and a lot of fun! As a side note, this review is for the LE.
8.880/10
4 months ago
Beautiful game and the most immersive game versus theme that I have played. There is a lot of depth in this game but my main concern is that over all the strategy may be a tad too linear with arkenstones. I think more strategy in the code tying together the modes will help dramatically. Like LOTR it is an adventure game that is meant to have long ball times. This can get a bit old so I removed the center post and adjusted the beast multiball to super hard which helped that problem. I do not feel the game is “floaty” and I like the long shots. Every shot is makeable when needed and the tie in with the movies are excellent.
9.560/10
4 months ago
love it
9.392/10
4 months ago
Boy, was I ever mistaken. I have considered buying a Hobbit many times over the past 4 years but every time I tried one, I wasn't impressed. Same thing for the WOZ. But, last year my liking of WOZ's theme and the many strong reviews of the game and JJP in particular convinced me to give it a try. Wow!! I bought a WOZ 75th and I absolutely love it as does all of my family. Great artwork, game play, sound effects, quality, etc.; what's not to love (unless you hated the movie).
So with all of that as backdrop, I decided to take another look at a Hobbit. I played a Gold LE at my local dealer and again, I was not impressed. I hated the 'slow' ball launch and the racket the game makes when resetting the targets. But, like WOZ, I loved the theme (big Hobbit fan). Remembering my initial feelings about the WOZ, I thought I should really give the Hobbit a fair try. I took the chance and bought a Black Arrow. Update! Having played it many times over the past several days, my opinion of it has changed immensely. It is tons of fun with enough complexity to maintain my interest in it for a long time to come. I really like the cabinet art work of the Black Arrow version and the black wrinkle finish on its metal work makes it a very classy looking machine. With all due regards to theme, the Gold LE and the Smaug LE was just to bright and distracting to me. But each to his own.
So, what do I dislike? The ratcheting noise as the target/mode selections are changed and the selection button on the lock down bar looks cheesy. Also, for $8500, a Topper should have been included. And, the playfield lighting around the ball trough really needs to be improved; I can hardly see the barrel bumpers. These issues can and will be addressed quickly with some readily available mods. There is one sound system problem that I need to try to resolve with JJP. I get a 'low background hum/tone' and static from the speakers which I find distracting. And, at start up, the booting display on the monitor is played out through the sound system such that it sounds like a modem; Annoying.
After the sound issues are dealt with and the mods are added, I think the Hobbit will be close to a '10' in my book. I am very impressed with JJP games and their manuals are superb, best in the industry. Now, if Chicago Gaming/PPG blows it and does not make Monster Bash its next game (I am convinced it will be next and I am ready to buy one immediately), I may have to order a POTC because I really like JJP's games. BTW, Dialed In plays great but its' theme is just not for me.
7.626/10
4 months ago
Playfield is barren. Another physical feature like Gollums cave, barrel escape, shooting the black arrow, etc would be welcome. Best feature is the art and sound. Play is not varied enough.
7.688/10
4 months ago
If the object of your collection is to have a visually stunning pinball machine, then this is the one for you. Almost over-stimulating, visually. That said, I had a few issues with this one. First, the ramps are too far up the playfield. Not a fan. Also, the right-side ramp doesn't factor in to the play nearly as much as the one running down the left. In fairness, I just picked this one up about a month ago, and haven't fully comprehended all of the nuances of the game, so I may adjust the review at some point.

The sound on the game is phenomenal, and the pop-up beasts are great, but this one has a penchant for being a hard-drainer. Even with a center bumper between the flippers, it seems to fall away quite frequently.

I think Jersey Jack has a great future in machines, as they do bring quite a different feel to their brand of pinball, but this one feels a touch primitive, from a playfield perspective. Curious to see how their next release, Pirates, will play.

For reference, I own the LE, and definitely like the look of the machine.
9.820/10
5 months ago
The Hobbit is an epic journey. It is different from other machines and really spices up our gameroom. It drew me into the story, emotionally, in a way that no other pinball machine has. The integration of the three movies is dazzling in a way that flashy lights alone can't do. It does this with movie clips on the big screen, sound clips, use of multiballs, and shaker motor. It is absolutely amazing and surely is one of the nicest under-rated games of all time. I can understand the polarizing reviews of The Hobbit. It is difficult to understand the rules and what is going on at first play or even after a dozen plays. But then everything comes together and the thing just takes you an amazing adventure. I think that this is an unavoidable necessity to allow such a deep story line. There is no way to put enough lights on the table to explain where you are in the game and what every goal is. Fortunately, there is a huge screen and a smaller book-screen to help you along.

UPDATE for Code 2.95:
Before the update, I couldn't believe that they could make the game significantly better. I was totally wrong. The update brought The Hobbit to a new level entirely. There are lots more and more varied call-outs. Much better use of the colored LED's to show what shots to hit and avoid. Better use of light shows as objectives are hit or missed. Reading the book and backbox screen are easier to do as the action ramps up. Everything is much more polished now and refreshed. Absolutely fantastic game!
9.156/10
5 months ago
Can’t stop playing this game!! What an amazing technological feat all around. Plays super smooth. Shots feel great, does not get old. Playing on 2.01 code.
7.605/10
5 months ago
I have to say I was pretty disappointed in how quirky this machine is. From my experience I would say it's not a great choice to be anything other than a part of a private collection. I had the ball get stuck on the play field multiple times once bad enough that I ended up tilting the machine getting it unstuck. The final nail for me was when the ball got stuck in the right ramp return and the pin was rendered unplayable (no one on location had keys to open it up).
8.042/10
5 months ago
played a few games , beautiful pin
7.437/10
6 months ago
I was pretty excited about the hobbit when it was announced and had plans of eventually picking one up for the house but I have played the hobbit at a few different locations now and have decided it is just not the pin for me.

They knocked it out of the park with the artwork, animations and sound package the playfield design and game play just don't do it for me. It is hard to put my finger on why I don't care for it but I think it comes down to a few things.

1. The playfield feels sparse, it feels like all the shots are a mile away and the game play feels really slow to me because of this. Maybe stronger flippers may help a bit but I don't think so.

2. Multiballs are too easy to get and it feels like you just go from one multiball to another.

3. Ball times are very long. Not that is necessarily a bad thing but the difference is when I play the hobbit I am ready for the game to be over because there is nothing game play wise that draws me into the game and makes me want to keep playing it, usually by ball three I am just done with it. I have gotten score based replays on both hobbits I have played and did't want to play it again by the time I was done.

Maybe the hobbit would be great in a home setting if you took the time to learn the complete rule set but to me there are just no "fun" shots in the game and it just feels like you are shooting for the ramp way at the back of the playfield to start the next multiball.
5.770/10
6 months ago
This is a tough one. The hobbit is a beautiful game and I love the theme. I tried to make myself like it but playing it just felt like a chore and I eventually traded it for WOZ.
7.769/10
6 months ago
I recently played a game of The Hobbit for 45 minutes in an arcade. I had no idea what I was doing, but I really enjoyed it.

The game is probably the best looking game I've ever seen. It's simply gorgeous. The massive LCD draws you in from far away and it keeps you there. The playfield is stunning. I love the dragon, and the other playfield details.

The pop up targets a la Medieval Madness are even more fun than MM. The skill shot and the way that JJP plays with the drop targets is brilliant. The light show is among the best I've ever seen. Not the best, but in the top 5.

As I've said, visually, the LCD is all eye candy. But visuals aren't enough. And that's where my problems with the game lie.

As a technical person, I appreciate complexity. I desire it. I own and love LOTR and TSPP for their complexity. But the LCD should not require me to study a manual or pore over FAQs for me to understand what it's trying to tell me.

Having said that, things like multiball I found trivially easy. Keep shooting up the middle, eventually you'll trigger a multiball.

I still have no idea how the hell the game works. It sure is fun though! Someday I'll buy one, but I probably won't put it on route.
8.820/10
6 months ago
I don't understand those who like to bash this game. Maybe it doesn't work as well on location or something but in the home environment it is awesome. The rule set is deep and the drop targets are fantastic. The artwork is some of the best out there. And the sound and animations are top notch. I own 11 pinball machines and The Hobbit Is one of the two I play the most. Hobbit does have long ball times similar to LOTR but the game otherwise play very different. (I own both). It's a great game and hard to imagine it ever leaving my collection.
7.046/10
6 months ago
This is a great looking game, and it has a kind of epic feel to it that makes it sort of a trophy for ownership. But I think the playfield design ended up being a bit of a letdown. How did that superfluous third flipper continue to make it through all the design iterations, without anything for it to aim at? And Smaug just being a little talking head that swivels - compare that with the main toy in Alien, or even Groot. JJP completely recovered from any disappointments this title caused with the all-time-great DI, and their POTC looks like a fun time. This is DEFINITELY not a bad machine by any means. But what was the last actually-bad one? WWE? RS?
8.116/10
7 months ago
Hobbit is a wide body pin and it feels like one. The ramps and loops are super satisfying and the rules are deep but not too hard to understand. The beasts that pop up from the play field are cool but can get annoying when they block shots. The absurd amount of modes (over 30 I believe!!) is cool and playing through all of them is just about impossible. Smaug multiball is also extremely difficult to complete and it a lot of fun to try for.
9.680/10
7 months ago
This game has me shook! I had a premium version of one of Stern's offerings with tons of mods, a good game, but I saw a chance to trade even up for a JJP, Hobbit Gold Edition. Never had a game with these sorts of features & wanted to give a JJP game a shot. I did, & all of a sudden I feel like the newer stern's I've recently owned are just pieces of junk haha. & that isn't a knock against Stern, nor is it true, they do some cool stuff, but more a nod to JJP, TH just feels like its in its own class of game.
I was going to go on about what I think is so impressive about the game in detail, but honestly don't feel like typing up that much.

The game is super customizeable which is great, you really can dial this thing in however you want. Visually just stunning, never seen anything quite like it with the lamp effects, displays, etc. Game is beyond deep, I don't believe I've played the same game twice & there are still modes & features on this game that I didn't even get to yet. But in this case depth doesn't mean complicated. Read for 5 minutes about the basics & pretty well got the hang of it. Unlike some Stern's these days where I feel like I need a degree in cryptology to figure them out. To me that is perfect, depth without overcomplication.

It is true, the game isn't really a flow game & more of a shooters game as others have mentioned. I don't find the game slow at all though, at least not how mine is set up. This game was clearly designed to be an epic shooters game with tons of shots, wasn't meant for flow. Its not like they went for flow & missed the mark. The game plays as it was designed to & it does it well. Lots of ups & downs during gameplay which is fun. Yes sometimes the game does have more of a classic gameplay feel with long shots typical of a widebody & lots of drops & the relaxing background music. & that is fine by me. But when certain modes or multiballs kick in, the tone of the game can shift pretty quickly as the music & lighting change their tone as well. Just a beautifully done game & it does seem like it was built like a tank. Solid, not easy to nudge & it had the be the heaviest game I've moved... so its not going anywhere anytime soon haha.

Oh & a quick update, I saw it mentioned in other reviews that some people think there is too much multiball.... Then Just hit the ring button on the lockbar! It will postpone your multiball! Putting you to where hitting the right ramps starts a mode for you instead of locking a ball. Love this feature! You really do have a lot of choice in how you want to approach each game.
9.900/10
7 months ago
The Hobbit is simply one of the most beautiful games ever made.

The artwork on the cabinet and playfield is second to none.

The overall detail into the design of the game is outstanding. The game has a very deep and intriguing set of rules. The game is very deep with 31 different modes and 3 wizard modes. It is, arguably, the most sophisticated pin ever made.

Between the lighting on the playfield and the LCD screen book in the corner, it is pretty easy for player to figure out where to shoot.

Speaking of shooting, this game is a shooters paradise with shots galore. It has two kickups (one hidden behind drop targets), two ramps, eleven drop targets, a captive ball shot, and four pop up targets. The game puts your shot skills constantly to the test.

Everything about the game screams perfection. JJP nailed it with the theming. The game was designed to make you feel like you are on a quest. There are no other words to describe this game other than, “Epic.”

The game feels and plays like a mashup between Stern’s LOTR and MM, however the Hobbit is better than either of them.

Like MM, you have two ramps. You also have a main bash target on the upper left playfield. You also have pop up targets. However, with the Hobbit, you also have a dedicated flipper and a unique slingshot to bash the main target. You also have 4 pop up targets instead of 2. The hobbit also has far more drop targets besides. The hobbit also has a much deeper rule set than MM that exceeds even the much celebrated LOTR.

In many ways, it is interesting that so few recognize that the Hobbit is basically a very similar layout to MM, but with far more going on.

Like the castle in MM, the main toy/gimmick in this game is a talking dragon, giving callouts directly from the film.

The music and clips are from the blockbuster trilogy. JJP did a fantastic job with the overall immersion factor.

The Hobbit is one of the best games ever made. Personally speaking, it is very similar to MM, but much better. We own both the LOTR and the Hobbit. We have played MM extensively. If we had to choose between the three, the Hobbit would win hands down. It is essentially very similar to MM, but with far more shots, sophistication, and a much deeper sets of rules. Not to mention it is just a much better looking pin altogether with a far more immersive experience.

It is a masterpiece in my humble opinion. If MM and LOTR are both considered top 10 games, then the Hobbit should be there as well.

The only critiques is that the playfield, at first glance, appears to not have as many toys or gimmicks as some other high end games.

However, this is because so much of what is going on with the Hobbit is actually meant to be “hidden.” In a way, the entire game is built like a treasure chest. It is hard to tell what the game really entails without spending time learning it’s secrets.

For example, the hidden cave shot that takes the ball into a hidden subway, the windlance shooter, the one ring ball save, and the four pop up beast targets all add to the element of being a mysterious treasure chest. The LCD book and barrel bumpers are also interesting, with the barrel bumpers splashing water on the LCD screen of the book.

I should also add that in spite of the open feel of the playfield, there are numerous areas to add custom mods or toys should you desire.

Some reviewers say there is no reason for the upper right flipper. In response, that is like saying there would be no need for an upper flipper to bash the main toy in MM (which, you would have to admit, would be awesome if it existed). The upper right flipper and left slingshot gives you the opportunity to bash the daylights out of the Smaug play area, which includes 5 drop targets, two hidden bash targets, and a hidden upkick.

In conclusion, we find it hard to believe that anyone could fail to rate the Hobbit as one of the best pins of all time. It is the only pin in our relatively small collection that will, for certain, never leave. We find it an impossibility for any rational mind to rate MM as being one of the best pins of all time, but at the same time fail to bestow the same or similar honor on the Hobbit. In many ways, the Hobbit is very similar to MM, but with far more shots, far better rules, far more modes, far better design, far more sophistication, far better sounds and callouts, far better theming, far better artwork, far better music, far better animation, far mode modes, far more features, and, overall, a far better experience.

It is one of the best pins of all time.
There are 176 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 8.

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