The Hobbit

Pinside rating

This game received 550 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.380 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #39 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.771

Artwork: 8.991

Sounds/Music: 8.698

Other Aspects: 8.175

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 5 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 283 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 8 of 12.

List options

4 years ago
A masterpiece! Going to get one.
4 years ago
Really an amazing game, deep rule set, fantastic artwork and sound and a very immersive game. Quality is second to none and there are a lot of little things that have been done that put the game over the top. Only knocks are that it is very hard to figure out for a casual player, the modes may seem somewhat repetitive and the shot variety can feel limited. In a home environment you have much more time to appreciate and try to understand the game. On route, you will never be able to figure it out. Theme integration is about the best out there.
4 years ago
Amazing game. Layout and Gameplay could have been a little better. Also, the Smaug toy/gimmick could have done a little more, but overall. Amazing package, with a price to match.
4 years ago
Have the Black Arrow SE model and absolutely love it. Its a blast to play. Very deep rule set, 31 modes and many multi balls. It's a beautiful looking game and it's built with quality and has lastability in any collection. Can't recommend it any higher.
4 years ago
I picked up Hobbit in a trade but it wasn't really on my wishlist based on the few plays at TPF. I am very happy I gave it a chance. Totally different type of game play as it seems to be heavy on multiball action but it really works well in my opinion. Beautiful art and animations, latest rules are a huge improvement. Don't let the "wide open" look of the playfield fool you there is plenty to shoot for.
4 years ago
Epic pinball's experience! The atmosphere increases with the game, the sound and the animations are incredibles! Deep rules (31 modes and 3 wizards) makes every game different. The next age of pinball are here.
4 years ago
One of the best looking pins out there, the LE is gorgeous. I really don't understand the reasoning behind the upper right flipper, honestly. You can hit those drop targets with the lower flippers, and no upper ramp is designed in the machine. Ball and game times can be very long, and i really have yet to fully understand the ruleset. By far Jersey Jacks best machine to date.
4 years ago
I have had mine about 4 months now. I wanted to give it a while to see how it does. As others have said from a build standpoint it is in a league of its own same with video and audio. It is the game that always pulls people in when they come over and they often keep playing just one more game and stay a while :) . Great game.
4 years ago
overated I don't know though I am not a big fan to begin with.
4 years ago
The 2.0 code has drastically made this game much better. I finally figured out how to defeat Smaug and the first two times I did it was pure luck, now that I know how it is so fulfilling at the hardest challenge in the game IMO - so fulfilling when you do it. Still have not made it to BoFA although close. When Keith finishes the code to include a possible wizard more this game is going to be even that much better. Such a beautiful and fun game, it truly feels like you are going on an adventure.
4 years ago
I have been playing this machine ALOT since it appeared in my local arcade. I will say that I am drawn towards this machine, and I want to love it, but several times have I reached a wall where I feel the machine lack certain things and I as a player, get completely turned off by it.

I do think the machine has great potential when it comes to writing ruleset via the software, so this has made me want to write an extensive review here, both for educational purposes and perhaps also to influence healthy changes for future software updates.

So lets me first list the things I see as PROS and write a little about that - I will keep this shorter than the CONS because I believe this machine has mostly positive reviews, so I don't think I can add much new information here. If you like you can scroll down for the conclusion.

-Interesting playfield, with tons of shots and shot-sequences
-Unique mechanics (atleast in my experience) with these whack-a-mole type of popup beasts embedded in the surface of playfield
-Captures the theme of the movie REALLY WELL
-Really satisfying animations / sound-effects for when you complete something

With emphasis on the first point listed here, I will say that this machine has an overwhelming amount of different things to go for, even before you include the massive amount of different modes to play with. There are 5 different multiballs that I have encountered so far - I don't know if there are wizard-modes in the form of multiball that I have yet to encounter. If you try the machine it speaks for itself in this department; if you are starting out on it with no former knowledge, you will be overwhelmed with all the possibilities.

I will come back to this aspect of the machine under CONS though, and so I will end this section with simply saying that the impressive amount of things to do leaves the machine with great POTENTIAL.

-Weak flippers and a lack of responsiveness. Knocking the ball(s) around just never FEELS GOOD like for example on LOTR
-Inconsistent goals:rewards. Certain goals are fun to try and reach, but the reward nullifies the meaning behind going for that goal. Subsequentely, some rewards might be helpful if one could get, but the goal required to obtain it, nullifies the reward
-The LOCK droptargets (I could swear there are magnets, but they say it is the LOCK-targets!) make the ball move completely randomly at times across the huge open playfield, making predictions sometimes impossible
-Arbitrary tasks that yield no real rewards
-For the most part very linear scoring-system, that give the player little benefit from extensive game-knowledge. Very different from, say, Game of Thrones
-Angles of the walls where the flippers are seated (not sure what the correct term for this part of a machine is. I am referring to the solid, last part of both inlanes where the ball gets fed onto the flippers when it for example rolls down an inlane) are so flat that there are often times where the player can do very little to influence the ball, and whether you hold the flipper or nudge or do whatever; the ball will simply bounce around alittle back and forth and gaining control of it is fairly easy (not much skill involved)
-Ringbutton adds a feeling of another level of strategy being accessible, however most of the time it is not practical and player will often just spam it whenever the chance to mash it comes
-Senseless tilt-system

The feel-good factor on this machine comes from completing objectives, getting to the blinking lights and cool animations. Very few shots make you simply FEEL GOOD playing.

To mention an example of inconsistent goal:reward a good example is one way to light extra-ball. You do this by unlocking ALL modes - WITHOUT STRATING A MODE. If we count the shots needed for this, and we presume that you hit droptargets one by one, this requires 14 different shots across the machine, where 11 of these shots will after a successful shot, return the ball bouncing uncontrollably around on the playfield. After completing these 11 shots (without starting a mode, which essensially is like crippling your run on purpose) you will need to hit a moving droptarget. After hitting the moving droptarget, extraball will be LIT and you will now have to make two more shots into two different holes, where one most likely is hidden behind droptargets so you again need to shoot more droptargets. This is obviously a high-risk strategy, and what is the reward? An extra ball - a reward you would want for SAFETY. So the times that I go for this strategy, I often find that I spend on average two balls getting the extraball, and other times use up all 3 balls chasing this greedy goal. Not to mention, dodging mode-start, which would give much more points, possibly multiball and advance you toward the first wizard-mode. Now this goal is COOL - it is only that the reward it offers makes no sense and so nullifies the whole purpose of going for it. Had it instead given a 2x mutliplayer for the remainder of the ball (for example) in addition to an extra ball, it could be worthwhile to go for it.

Another problem on the machine is that several multiballs come in the way of one another. The smaug-multiball feels much more valuable score-wise than beast-multiball, but you will often find that once your smaug-multiball starts, you will eventually also trigger beast-multiball, making beasts constantly pop up from the board to block jackpot-shots for the smaug multiball. You will try to avoid this of course, and if you play skillfully you can - but most of the time it only comes down to being lucky. Now to emphasize; there is nothing new that player often don't want multiple multiballs, but usually simply for the fact that you blow two of them at the same time. NOT because one RUINS the other one. I will speak more of ways this could have been solved on the software-side under ringbutton.

The LOCK-targets (I repeat, I could swear there are magnets...but they say there isn't so..) will often change the trajectory of a bouncing ball dramatically and randomly. This means that the ball is bouncing from the side of the wall, you nudge gently to avoid draining in the middle - and SUCCESS; the ball is headed for the left flipper - however, "mid-air" the ball suddenly changes direction completely, right above the flippers and gets sucked down the middle, leaving the player baffled and helpless. All pinball machines have a certain amount of luck/bad luck that is part of the equation, but this type of RNG-like behavior in seemingly safe situations, where the player have done everything he/she could to stay in control, makes the machine feel less fun over time

The many different modes have a vast range of objectives to in order to be completed, one is to shoot the right ramp once. Another is to shoot a sequence of many different and difficult shots. The only real way to get real points from mode is to start it with mode-multiball (or another multiball) and keep the multiball going while completing it, in order to be allowed on a treasure-hunt. This is however extremely hard because of the bouncy nature of this machine, and even if you get to the treasure-hunt, it is hard to get anything from it, and some modes yield much more points than others, without there feeling like there is any consistency between difficulty:reward

The linear scoring-system make you feel like it is all about - as another user here put it: "chopping wood". Most of the time, to get a high score you simply have to be lucky with juggling the ball and never draining, so you can collect 500 here, 1500 there, and keep doing that for 30minutes to one hour.

The ringbutton could have had a much more strategic influence on the game, as it does on Game of Thrones, but here if you for example want to postpone the last LOCK because you are on beast-multiball, it means regularely slamming the button because LOCK has been lit again. It would feel much more consistent and strategic if the machine understood what you are saying with that button-press, and for example understand that; "player wants to postpone lock UNTIL THIS MULTIBALL HAS ENDED - okay." Or that you hit the last beast needed for beast multiball and now have a 3-second window to "postpone beast multiball". Instead you will find yourself spamming the button mid-play for no real reason, hoping to collect the 1500p that regularely is awarded on it - or hoping that a ball will be added to your multiball

Some other things I experience regularely that adds to the "feels-bad"-factor can be that you have the gollum-save on right outlane, which give you a chance to save your ball should you drain there. However, during multiball having this lit does nothing for you - so during multiball you can find the end of a ball by draining on the right outlane while if you drained the same way without multiball, you would have a ballsave there. Beast-targets are somewhat inconsistent; a hard head-on hit will often not trigger, while a slight graze will trigger it everytime, and other targets will simply trigger themselves right after popping up. The ballsave on left outlane may be lit, but the ball just rolls over the automatic plunger from time to time for no reason. The exit from bumpers will often consistently feed the ball right down the middle. Some of these issues might be local issues with this specific machine though.

Nudging: The machine SAVES tiltwarnings across balls. So if you have obtained a tilt-warning and then drain, it is often smart to hurry and shake the machine into a tilt just to erase the tilt-warning for next ball. The machine is also so big and clunky that often if you try to go for a hard nudge from the side, the machine will give you a warning on the nudge itself, and then tilt acouple of seconds later from its own wagging back and forth. This might also be a local issue, not sure.

CONCLUSION: All in all, The Hobbit is a beautiful machine, that draws you in, and has a lot of potential - but as it currently is, it is more likely to be a pasttime activity for new players and will not keep professional or skilled players coming back for more, due to its lack of consistency between goals and rewards, and a point-system that is too linear. Most of its problems can be fixed with software updates however, and the machine is fairly new so hopefully this is something the developers are aware of and working on.
4 years ago
Beautiful game but when you start a review with how it looks is not a good sign for game play. Shots are fun but there are too many trolls. Also too many multi-balls . Game time is too long and a bit like chopping wood. Still overall good but would not add to my collection.
4 years ago
Best pin I've ever played, hands down. A true masterpiece from JJP!
4 years ago
I played about 40 games yet on my Hobbit. This game is a blast. Epic! There is no comparison to Stern. Very Deep game. Maybe for pro players is to simple at the beginning but the joy of playing on it is amazing!
4 years ago
Have owned a Smaug for only a short time, but I'm truly blown away by the experience of playing this table. This is what pinball should look and feel like!!
Top Ten all day long, in my opinion.
*EDIT* The Hobbit didn't last long at all in my collection. It's a stunning game, but it's the definition of chopping wood. Took a loss on it and haven't missed it at all.
4 years ago
Really had a blast with this game. More than 2 flippers, lots of critters popping up on the playfield with trap doors, the giant Smaug dragon head turning and looking at you, great effects. Loved the lighting on this machine (as it comes) and felt it was always very clear what I should be doing, something that I can find overwhelming on other games. This is my second Jersey Jack game that I've played and I clearly enjoy their games over all other machines. I also enjoy that the game gives you time to view the video screen on the cabinet in between plays.
4 years ago
Lasted 10 days in my collection. What a let down. Yes, there are LOTS of rules, but very few of them interesting. They are just a list of different things to hit a different amount of times. Too multiball heavy and as great as the sound and vision are, that Smaug MB start gets oooooold. Very few shots and too far apart. Uninspired layout.
4 years ago
Like the frequent multiball. Pop up heads in open playfield add a lot. The game is a good workout.

Update after a year: The lastability is not there. Playfield is too open. I own all other JJP tables. This is the only JJP I just can't seem to get my head around. Part of it may be the theme. Don't hate the movies, just not a fan.
4 years ago
Wow what a game, there is so much to do, on this wide body beast of a machine.
With 4 pop up ‘trolls’ this makes the wide open playfield ‘change’ its feel and alters shot trajectories, adding another dimension to the game.
It also has individually controlled drop targets giving the player a unique moving target of shots, ramps that can fling the ball back down to the flippers, a kickback, a unique ball save feature and the ability to choose the mode you want to play or if indeed you would rather just lock the ball and go for multiball.
There are 30+ modes so this game is really going to keep you coming back for more and has great longevity.
That all said, I am probably just scratching the surface, which is what makes this machine perfect for the home environment and on-site as it really does have that just one more game appeal.
My only gripe is Smaug, yes he turns and speaks, but thats it, oh his eyes light up, but apart from that. Such a shame as this is meant to be the #1 toy of the game I just feel that its not enough.
4 years ago
It's early but so far I think this is a top notch game!! Top 10 in my opinion
4 years ago
When I have the time for it, I can go on an epic adventure with this game. It will never leave my house. But I don't play it as often as my other games cause playing times are very long.
4 years ago
This is the most beautiful looking and sounding game I've ever seen. It is very fun. The ball times are long, which isn't a negative to me. The pop-ups can get old and the third flipper is truly useless. I have the Smaug Gold SE so I am rating the artwork based on that (which is far superior to the original IMO).
4 years ago
Initially an exciting game to play, but the shots don't seem to be as satisfying as they should. The artwork is outstanding. The quality is outstanding. Fantastic light show and video themed animations with many modes. But really not sure if I would appreciate it more or less over time if owned.
4 years ago
Not ad good ad woz but still a great game.
4 years ago
Waited to get my hobbit for 3 years and 8 months after pre-ordering it in December 2012 so it's obvious that it was highly anticipated when it finally made it over my door step. It's a beautiful game, very well presented. Great build quality and visually stunning in all aspects. However, to me the layout is not as great as it could have been and there are honestly no shots that feels awesome. It's still a beautiful and fun game but not the classic I hoped for.
There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 8 of 12.

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

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside