Pinball Heroes PS5 / PS4 Review

This rusty pile of bad pinball tables didn’t deserve a re-release

Alex Rowe

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Selection Menu in Pinball Heroes on PS5
PS5 screenshot taken by the author.

I love real analog pinball machines, but I also love digital pinball. From older stuff like the 3D Ultra or Pro Pinball franchises, to modern things like The Pinball Arcade or Pinball FX, I’ve played a lot of it.

Virtual pinball has been good for a long time — but if any of the key ingredients are wrong, it turns into a bad video game exercise very quickly. Without the right physics, controls, design, and sound, virtual pinball is laughable and unconvincing.

I had only vague memories of 2009’s PSP game Pinball Heroes before I saw its re-release show up on the PlayStation Store a couple of weeks ago. I remembered it being a totally okay pinball game around launch and thought that maybe I’d write about it as part of my “PlayStation Plus Spotlight” series.

Memories can be deceiving. Pinball Heroes is a terrible game, and it should have stayed buried in history. Some very light improvements for the modern era can’t save it from its awful cheap-looking visuals, kludgy gameplay, or iffy table design. It’s one of the worst first party Sony titles I’ve played across any of their consoles, and I kind of can’t believe that it exists, let alone that Sony decided to put it back out into the world and ask people to spend money on it again.

Why remind people of that bad thing you made?

I don’t use affiliate links and I wasn’t asked by Sony to write about this — which should be obvious.

Uncharted Pinball table in Pinball Heroes on the PS5.
PS5 screenshot taken by the author. Many of the tables are too empty, and combined with slow physics they feel boring fast.

Pinball Heroes is available for PS4 and PS5 for ten dollars (official store page), and it’s also available on the Premium tier of the PlayStation Plus subscription service, which is how I got it. It’s a re-release of a PSP game that you can now play emulated locally on your current PS4 or PS5 console. In keeping with Sony’s other recent PSP releases, if you press the options button on the controller, you can access an added rewind function, save states, and a few different visual filters.

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