SAGE 2020 is here, so it is time to shine the spotlight on some of the games featured this year. There’s a lot of them, so we won’t be able to cover all of them, but we’ll do as many as we possibly can. First up is Sonic Pinball Panic.
For decades, Sonic has never had an actual pinball-themed table. Sure, the brand has had virtual pinball games like Spinball, and the pinball-like features have made a frequent appearance throughout the main games. But Sonic Pinball Panic aims to give the Sonic IP its own real-life pinball table.
The game is very simple. Keep the ball in play and try to foil Dr. Eggman’s evil plan. Sonic Pinball Panic takes heavy inspiration from the main games, such as a progression of levels through acts and zones. To go from level to level, you have to do a series of tasks in order. This can range from hitting badnik targets to dealing with ramps.
If you’re in Act 1, you have to hit the Sign Post spinner to complete the act and move to Act 2. Act 2 must be completed by hitting Eggman 6 times, then hitting the animal capsule once. There are 6 zones, each with 2 acts. You’ll move on to the next zone after Act 2 is completed.
There are also some bonus modes you can do. A scoop hole on the left side of the table will allow you to try your luck at the slot machine for some rings. A Blue Sphere special stage mode is also included, where some blue sphere targets must be hit to collect one of the seven Chaos Emeralds. You can also unlock Tails. He’s not playable, but he’ll carry the ball over the playfield, allowing you to drop it back into play where ever you like.
Even the loss of a ball takes inspiration from Sonic games. As long as you have at least a single ring, you won’t lose a ball. Yet. You’ll lose your rings if you had some when you drained, but a second drain with no rings will result in a lost ball. 3 balls gone, and you’re out.
Overall, Sonic Pinball Panic is a blast to play, but it’s not perfect. There are a few collision issues that can result in lost balls from the ball passing through the flipper, and the ball can get stuck on the left ramp forcing you to take a tilt warning to free it. But, this is also the best attempt to make a real-life Sonic pinball table. If you have time, I’d recommend playing it. In fact, if you want to do that right now, you can go play the game at SAGE’s site right here.