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.


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Found 283 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 9 of 12.

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4 years ago
I got the Hobbit 4 days ago and have been playing it almost nonstop. It has many skill shots and is very deep. To echo another reviewer... why the third flipper? There is nothing special to shoot with it. Odd little quirks, but overall, an excellent game.

Now for my beefs. JJPs quality control leaves much to be desired. The small LCD screen arrived DOA. Worse, the speakers are muffled and the sound quality clips, even at fairly low volume. The only way to enjoy this game is with headphones. I also had many quality problems with WOZ. Unless and until they can fix these QA issues, I will not be buying or recommending any more JJP titles.

Update: I'm selling my Hobbit. I almost never let go of a game, but the game is very repetitive and there really isn't much to do. I already got rid of my WOZ. The games by JJP are gorgeous, but beyond 'good looks', not much there. Sell, sell, sell!
4 years ago
I need to put more time on this deck, but wow. I was not expecting this.

When you look at the layout, Hobbit looks ridiculously simple and boring. But once you start playing, you start to see the little details and uniqueness of this game. The music, the rules, the animations: all brilliant. While some of the callouts get a bit old, I REALLY liked this game (and honestly didn't want to!). I liked it more than LOTR and WOZ, and that's saying a lot! Play before you buy, but definitely play!!

UPDATE: put more time on this deck and while I really do like the game, it just Not sure exactly what it is, but the modes feel repetitive, the rules aren't all that clear, and after putting 30 minutes or so on the deck, it leaves me feeling wanting. I love some of the features, like "pick your skill shot" and the LCD animations, but overall it just feels very repetitive. :(
4 years ago
Problem for me is the empty playfield. And what about that third flipper? Why is it there, what shot can you make with that. Now normally film theme pinballmachines are one of my favorites, but this does not work for me. I expected more toys than just a dragon, the modes are really hard to get into. The pop ups are fun the first time but start to annoy pretty fast. I love the artwork and quality, although the widebody felt a bit 'clunky'.
4 years ago
I've owned the Hobbit for two weeks now so I feel I am ready to post a review. I may come back as I own the game longer and as the code gets updated to tweak this review. This review is as of code version 1.90.

I will start with non-gameplay aspects. The machine is gorgeous. The cabinet art, the playfield, the bright white GI, the RGB LEDs, the HD Monitor, etc are all top notch. I am really impressed with what they have done with the display. I like the layout much better than how JJP did it with the Wizard of Oz. Lots of information always available. The sound is also great with lots of variety.

What can I say, the game is super fun to play, especially once you start to learn more and more the rules. There are 5 main objectives (runes) you need to collect in order to start one of the main movie multiballs. The runes are: Smaug Multiball, Beast Multiball, Feast Frenzy (collect all the Dwarves), Spinner Frenzy (Advance to Erebor), and complete a mode. There are 31 unique modes to play with several ways to earn extra bonuses on them depending upon the order they are played in, how far you advance in them, how much time you have left, and how far you have advanced to Erebor. There is a ton of other stuff to the rules which I recommend you research if you are interested in the machine. I imagine the code will continue to be tweaked with new additions and refinements, so it will only get better from here.

The machine is super fun to shoot. Before I bought my machine, I played it at a couple shows and on location, and how this machine is setup really makes a difference. It can be slow and floaty if not steep enough, but crank up the pitch and give the flipper coils a power boost and the game flows much better. It can still slow down a little a times, but my machine plays pretty quick. There are some easy shots (the ramps), but the VUK holes and orbits are not easy shots (at least for me). The individually controlled drop targets are SO cool, and make for a lot of unique modes and shots. I read a lot of complaints that the machine is empty and there are not enough shots, but these 11 drops targets alone are so unique (including the stand ups behind them) that they are like 11 unique shots in my book. I like the 4 beast pop ups, but I do feel they are used a little too heavily, primarily when Beast Multiball is running. Hopefully future code will allow Beast Multiball to be completed and that mode will end.

The three main wizard modes/movie multiball modes are challenging and fun. I wish that there were different ways to qualify the three main wizard modes, but instead they are all started the same way - by completing the 5 runes. From what I understand, that will not change.

There is always a lot going on, and the extra monitor on the playfield is helpful, but it currently does not always have details about what you need to do next (like in the wizard modes). I am hoping that more call outs will continue to be added, as well as instructions for the wizard modes on the playfield monitor.

I think my biggest personal concern with this machine could be longevity in my collection. Games can be quick, but when you are on a roll game times can be VERY long. That is needed on such an epic machine to progress, and works for this game. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite games of all time, but that also has really long game times and can be a commitment to play. In my small collection we will have to wait and see if The Hobbit can last for the long haul. It certainly has the potential to.

JJP really made something special here with this game. In it's current state it is awesome, and will only get better as the code continues to mature. I keep thinking about playing it, and once I start a game it is hard to stop. I don't see that feeling going away anytime soon...but we will see in a year or so from now if I still feel the same way.

If you cannot tell, I would recommend this game to anyone who is interested :).

08/2017 Update: Well, after owning the game for almost a year, it did not last the test of time. The game has sooo much potential, and I think will continue to get better with future code updates, but despite being really deep I found myself bored with it. The real problem is there is almost too much going on all the time, and it is a bit of a multiball fest. It is hard to follow the story/progress in the game when there are always tons of frantic multiballs going on. I love multiball, but in this case it is too much. I still think it is a great game, but not a long term keeper for me.
4 years ago
What a great pinball ... the movie definitely deserves it!
4 years ago
It's a wide body but the playfield seemed barren until the guys popped up from the playfield. It felt clunky and I feel the quality was not near the newer sterns. They feel a lot more solid.
4 years ago
A very different playing pin. It has an open layout similar to AFM, except TH has pop monsters(like MM) that you shoot. There are drop targets all over the playfield that the rules incorporate very well that you must shoot for. Sniping the drop targets while following your visual & audio call outs, never gets old! Several different skill shots that actually require skill to complete. Several different multi-balls including Smaug multi-ball that are all a lot of fun to play.
The audio & video on this pin are second to none! This pin is as visual & audio stimulating as a pin can be! Just a tremendous job by David T, Keith J, & crew!
When you are playing well, The Hobbit feels like a constant multi-ball. It can get very intense when you have a mode running, Smaug multi-ball going, & Beast frenzy all going at the same time! Super Happy Fun Time!!!
I've seen several comments on The Hobbit being "floaty" & "slow". Well, they didn't have their pins set up right! It's anything but a slow game! It's a fast paced, mode based, multi-ball Madness! Go try one out!
5 years ago
This pin is epic and it will be for along time to come.
5 years ago
I tried to like it...but the theme is weak. Let's face it, the Hobbit is a very weak license of a failed franchise. Not even close to the Lord of the Ring movies. Especially after the 3rd hobbit movie...omg is was bad. I sort of find the larger playfield makes the game slow. The pop ups on the board of goblins or whatever they are cool. But the game just don't pull me in. I know everyone likes the color monitor, but it really does nothing for the game when you can't look at it.

I will say the lighting is good. The yellow lights are cool. I would have to say the 1st JJ Game, WoZ, is much better. And I don't like WoZ movie at all, but the game is very good.

Overall, the game seems deep. Hard to see what is going on the screen above and the playfield, but maybe I need to play it more.
5 years ago
This one (far) exceeded my expectations. For me, Jersey Jack is a welcome addition to the (somewhat) struggling pinball industry. While their machines kind of have a thick, sluggish feel (even more so than Gottlieb machines) to their gameplay, they seem to make it work to the benefit of the game. Wizard of Oz is a pretty good machine that had some very cool features and well-implemented new ideas. That sluggishness made gameplay seem plodding at times, but very interesting and fun nonetheless due to the potentially innovative features that they integrated into the gameplay and onto the playfield.

When information for the Hobbit title began trickling out, my expectations were quite low due to the more traditional, (and simplistic) playfield design and features. All things considered, I thought it would be a very bland gaming experience. What I didn't anticipate was the software programming as well as the play modes and feature-sets implemented through the game programming. If the programming is the reason for the delays on this title, it was well worth the wait. Wow, was this a fun game to play! They even had the presence of mind to include nods to Medieval Madness with the pop-up trolls (in this case an Orc, a goblin, a spider and a Warg) as well as LOTR (frenzied multiball).

They also have improved some aspects of their WoZ innovations. The video and graphics from the LCD monitor is better integrated with gameplay and much easier (or less confusing) to follow. The overall ball flow and gameplay is just better than WoZ and I attribute that to the game programming. I absolutely loved playing it and I hope that this title is a success for Jersey Jack and they produce many more pins to come. If I had any complaints, it would have to be the lack of usefulness the upper playfield flipper adds to play and the oddly washed-out look of the trans light over the LCD screen on the back-box. But those are not actual problems and are inconsequential to overall game play and the clear build quality of the machine.
5 years ago
I really like this game. The integration of the play to the screen is unsurpassed. This is currently my highest rated game. Very difficult game to master. (For me anyway). The multi balls get a little bit much sometimes but that is ok with me. Extra balls are more difficult. Pop bumper integration is great. Love the shots to move thru the game. Lot of elements to the game to master. (Not a drainer)I come back to it a lot. Does not play like other games. And that is good.
5 years ago
Much better than Wizard of Oz. Still just a mediocre pin to me. Main features include four pop-up trolls like from MM, but they are WAY more active. I'm not sure that was a good thing. Ends up playing more like Whack-a-mole than pinball. The two ramps are just like the boat ramps in Fish Tales. I don't think this pin is anywhere near those two, but certainly better than Jersey Jack's first effort.
5 years ago
I bought the LE and love this game. It is totally different to WOZ which is nice.

The game code is coming along and after one or two more refinements should be sensational.

I have a similar comment to others in that it is not overtly obvious what needs to be completed next (particularly for novices), but this will become clearer with code adjustments.

The build quality is 10 x better than the Stern machines I own, as they are getting to look like plastic toys in comparison!
5 years ago
It is amazing. Easily the best of the machines we have played out of 300 or so. If there is a weakness to this machine I can't find it. The third flipper is in fact useful and plays a role in many elements of the gameplay. And as for quality, put this next to the best currently produced Stern and judge for yourself. It is so vastly better than any one of them. I am tempted to describe its rule set as perfect too and the LCD use is masterful. It looks as good as the movie. And it really feels while playing like you are in the hobbit world. That's a real accomplishment too.
5 years ago
Awsome game but i think is a must to have it at home for really appreciate. A lot to do, very deep, its easy to keep ball in play and ideal for long game, but in same time, its not an easy pinball. A lot of good and new idea in this machine. Its one of the best pinball i have played(i prefer a little bit WOZ). The higher score of the day in addition of the high score is a fun idea and offer possibility to less good player and guest to write name in the machine.
5 years ago
Best Pin I have ever seen.
5 years ago
This pin is my "top dog". As I went through each of the ratings, to me The Hobbit is the best game currently out there. Great theatrical presentation with all the video, music, and sound. The rules are deep and fantastic. The rules allow several different strategy approaches. Lastability - there is so much to try to figure out and try different combinations of approaches that it will keep my interest for a very long time. Because of this, it would make a fantastic HUO pin. It may not do as well out on location because of the complexity in understanding the rules as soon as you walk up to it for the first time. There is nothing bad about this pin and I know of nothing that falls short of a perfect grade for it in these categories. The only thing that is not "perfect" was the roll out of the pin when first in production. There were a few flaws that became apparent, but JJP came up with and distributed fixes for those flaws. That is great for a pin company to do that.

The play of this pin puts you into a type of quest and keeps your interest (instead of just banging into targets and toys in a meaningless way to make lights flash and score points). As a result, there are very long balls/games. If you are more of a person that just likes the quick games with a game designed to drain the ball and beat you, this is not that kind of a game.

I love this game and I have one on order. It will be a keeper in my collection until I die.

Update 12/27/16 ... Have had this pin for over a month, learning rules and strategies and this is STILL the best pin out there in my opinion. You really need to play it several times to give it a chance. Once you start to figure out the game play and get beyond just knocking down drop targets and targeted holes, you will see that the modes are what you play for and have to target specific things in a specific order as indicated by the playfield flashing lights and call-outs. I really recommend it to those that like this kind of a challenge.
5 years ago
The most beautiful machine ever designed.
These big screens are the futur of our favorite machines
About the gameplay, this is one of the deepest ones, more than 30 modes! The pop-up targets are well used in this empty playfield, it was necessary.
No difficult shot except Maybe the lowest drop targets. Skillshot is quite tough whatever you choose.
The Hobbit gets a great flow, much better then woz. This game is also faster than i thought. It can be fast with a good set-up of the legs.
Now i have 3 complains. First, i consider that the third flipper is a support flipper, it is not very used, Nothing that can be shot with bottom flippers. The second complain is coming from my personal tastes, the ball times are very, very long. outlanes must be wide open ( remove the central post too). The last one is toy, was disappointed with the animation of the dragon. I was expecting better
toys for a top class pinball machine.
5 years ago
Great Game
5 years ago
The Hobbit is a game I wanted to love. It's a game that does keep getting better bit by bit as they update the code, but ultimately, it's a game that is hobbled by the design.

I own both a WOZECLE and a Hobbit Smaug Gold SE. Side by side, it's clear that JJP cut a few corners with their second offering. The backglass isn't mirrored, and the translite substituted for it is washed out. The game is relatively barren in the middle of the playfield, and there are comparatively fewer toys than WOZ.

But, even so, it is a pretty machine. The lights aren't as fetching as WOZ, but the lighting is competent. What isn't so pretty is the build quality. Like switches that stop registering after 20 plays? Like fixing one problem, only to have another one crop up next game? Like a major playfield toy that completely stops working, despite it being one of the least-abused toys on the playfield? Like pop bumpers that just randomly fire no matter how you adjust them? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, the Hobbit may be for you!

Shots are OK, but again are limited by the design. The criss-cross ramps would be fun to nail repeatedly if the inlanes they feed didn't cause a troll to pop up every time and block your next natural shot. The right upper flipper has yet to demonstrate its utility. The lock rollovers are better at causing the ball to skip and drain than they are at lighting the locks, and the drop targets, while prominent, as also loud AF. In fact, the entire game is so loud that you have to turn up the volume just to drown out the mechanics.

All in all, the Hobbit is a disappointing second offering from JJP. From lesser build quality and reliability, to a playfield layout that will take some masterful coding to exploit, the Hobbit just feels like a misfire.
5 years ago
The first time I played it I had to have it and ordered it the next week. The build quality, theme, animations and overall quality of design and manufacture is far above anything else currently available as a new pin today. And after seeing how JJP treats their customers and responds to issues discovered after their pins are released is outstanding. They are the leader in the evolution of pinball. Kudos Jersey Jack!
Update. I've sold my Hobbit. Got tired of the long ball times the repetitive play and waiting for the promised final wizard mode. It had such promise . . .
5 years ago
My take on the Hobbit; it is a fantastic machine loaded with innovation and quality…it is an absolute beauty and is FUN to play. The Hobbit can be slow at times quickly evolving to a fast paced game. It will certainly test your “marksmanship” at long shots and your reflexes at the short ones. There is a lot going on and until you can actually spend some time on it, a player may not fully appreciate the layout nor the game play…suffice it to say, this game is different. The rule set in my opinion is deep (playing code version 1.21) and broad. The games objectives/modes can range from simple to very challenging…it is certainly not a “Live, Die, Repeat” style of game…my high score to date is only 1,277,086 and I have only made it to “Into the Fire” twice…no further. I played the Hobbit at a show a few times…loved the looks but was on the fence about owning. In June I made the decision to purchase the Hobbit making it my 14th machine in my collection. That said, the above content is my opinion after 2 weeks of daily playing. Given the quality of build, the above mentioned innovation, my satisfaction with gameplay, coupled with Jack’s dedication to his customer base, I can conclude that the Hobbit was a worthy investment.
Update: So, after having the Hobbit in my collection for a little over a year I found that the "newness" had worn off and I just wasn't playing it any longer...I was no longer enjoying the incessant battle with the beast pop-ups and numerous had unfortunately became a chore of "chopping wood" is still a beautiful machine with an absolute superior quality in build...but is no longer a machine for me. I would caution anyone rating a new pinball machine, that is, new to your collection to wait several months before posting your ratings here...let the "star-struck" emotion wear off then give an objective assessment...unlike my initial opinion/rating of this machine...lesson learned.
5 years ago
This machine is special. A shooter's game for sure and super deep so lastibility is high. This machine just feels solid and luxurious. The best way to describe it is imagining a contemporary B/W, that kind of feel. Ramps are great, drops are one of a kind, monitor is what pinball should be in 2016, playfield is great quality, on and on and on...
5 years ago
Have played this 10-15 times at shows. Not my favorite game but also early code and limited play. Perhaps it is too son for me to add my rating and it will change when and I get some more time with the game. It just seems like a very difficult game with not obvious objectives. Cool look and awesome LCD but game play seemed hard enough for only really experts to enjoy.
5 years ago
I had to update my rating. When I first got my NIB Smaug I LOVED it. Just gorgeous, built like a tank, and I loved the theme being a fan of the movies. But after just a few months, I got REALLY tired of the game. Their just isn't many shots, and after a while, tons of monster pop ups and multi balls gets really old. I think the sound, the lights, the video is fantastic, as good as any game I've ever played. But the lack of shots can't be overcome long term. In a big collection, it probably wouldn't matter as much, but in my smaller collection, I got to the point I never played it once I started killing smaug every game and going through all the modes. Looks great, plays average at best. I traded my for a STLE and it was the best decision I've ever made in pinball.
There are 283 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 9 of 12.

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