In 2013 I stumbled over Pinball FX on , a platform to play games on win, Mac and Linux as well as mobile systems. You just need win XP (and later) with Dual Core 1.6ghz and 1 GB RAM and DirectX 9! Its by Zen studios since 2007. In the free download of steam is hosted the log-in of your account, the community etc.
Pinball FX2 (guess first table was released in may 2013) offered about 32 (new ones are released regular with themes based on film- or action heroes) tables for purchase and getting more. Guess in late 2019 were about 200 pinsims available. Only a handful for free. Prices are from few cents, smaller bundles at ca. 3 to 9,99 EUROS. In your account you see wich of the bundle pinsims you already purchased. You may be lucky and get one in a special offer.
Most can be played offline. Features like www.high-score will be missing. I have played just 48 pinsims (early 2020). The first impression was that tasks and counting are similar.
The installation is rather easy. The start/connection to steam takes a little time. Starting or adjustments are easy to find (keybord or Xbox controller). There are some camera-views to engage (scrolling as well for mobile systems).
The physics are ok the graphics are very good. Just the ball beeing a bit jumpy on flippers lessens the good impression. Nice animations of figures unfortunatly only few animated targets... Tilt is rather strong and unnatural, 3 times in short time may tilt.
The too large display seems overloaded and the score is shown too small. The score of targets etc is displayed directly in the playfield/ near targets. Irritating are special scores for tasks/targets almost not indicated (how much points or where) - on regular pinsims there are usually lighted textboxes/decals/arrows showing the next score or where a special score can be reached.
Without the tasks you won`t get near any high scores. Many scores are 10.000, special scores are >= 1.000.000 but I never notice when. The counting seems to get higher with repeated hits with a high hit-score at the end and start low again. It seems ramps etc may not get more points than bumpers or slingshots until the extrapoints. You may have a ball for several minutes but rather up to no points.
Balls will last in most pinsims rather long. A kick-back (left+right!) can be easyly activated mostly by lightning the in/outlanes. How to increase the bonus multiplier is in many pinsims a mystery for me.
Long games don`t mean necessarily high scores. There are some in game specials but I couldn`t crack many of them yet. So the pinsims start quite interesting with smooth playing, masses of ramps, sparse targets, spinners and holes. After several games it gets boring because you may play too long for nothing. Several MB`s are standard and some tables have small and rather poor extra playfields / bonus tables.
To play those high-scores posted in the web, I guess you play half a day at least! That`s one reason I don`t like the way of counting that seems very similar in all FX-pinsims.
Pinsims of other manufactures (Malzbie, Stern, Gottlieb, Zaccharia or some pinsims that were released on CD several years ago like Timeshock and Worms can be played on steam! The physics are the one of the original pinsim not the one of FX! so beware of what you purchase. Eventually you can play a test table or timelimited.
To see screenshots and reviews of console pinsims I use jalbum with the very flexible
for pinsims on steam (FX2/3)
tiger skin for pinsims on steam (FX2/3)
The earlier skin Fotoplayer was marvelous but was running only with flash playaer so I (had to) changed.
The reviews were done regarding the following aspects:
|# of balls:||The FX pinsims have my favorite 3 balls. Other pinsims running under the steam platform may have 5 balls.|
|graphics:||Very good 3D graphics. Original external pinsims may look like out of the 80+90`ies, some are conversions of real tables (Williams, Zaccharia).|
|table layout:||A boring pinsim has only few targets or bumpers to hit. Not very interesting may be the counting when repeated hit targets always count the same. One needs an increase of action! How many (moving) targets, spinners, holes, ramps or other features to play for? The more the better.|
|lost:||Some tables will kill your ball in seconds=6. As well as bad is a ball that just won´t get lost.
|game:||Do you have a chance with a good ball to hit the jackpot and other features of the table? Are there tasks to play for and/or timers used.|
|fun:||Is it fun playing the table. Even tables with a bad "lost" rating may be fun (with a rare good ball) playing. Many conversions con be played in Visual/Future Pinball.|