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Review: The Pinball Arcade: Doctor Who: Master of Time (Nintendo Switch)By ringlord71 At 28.03.2019 14:05

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It probably doesn't need to be said, but to state the obvious, this Doctor Who: Master of Time is a table that can easily be enjoyed by those who are fans of British science-fiction show of the same name. While being a fan of Doctor Who is not necessarily a requirement, it is hard to stay as engaged with the lore, sound-bytes, and the villains themselves, without knowing their context - but being a fan does bring even more enjoyment to this experience.

Designed in 2016 by FarSight Studios themselves, this was modelled off the original Doctor Who table from 1992. The revised edition does include new recorded audio from Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez, who play the Doctor and Missy respectively. Then sound-bytes are grabbed from the TV show for the other Doctors and companions. The main point of difference from the original table is that while the original table focused more on the different incarnations of the Doctor, Master of Time puts the focus squarely on the different villains instead.

While shifting the focus to the villains is a good choice due to the large variety of iconic villains, they do lack their motif sounds. For instance, the Daleks never screech "EXTERMINATE" - which is puzzling when that is the exact line they are known for. The Cybermen are OK, but rarely say anything memorable, and more could've been done with the Weeping Angels to maybe convey the fear they put into people.

Of course, the biggest omission from this table that is sorely and regrettably lacking is the famous Doctor Who theme music. Not hearing that "woooo oooo oooo" is a hugely missed opportunity at making this table more playable - The previous table, the Ghostbusters one, for example, was hugely fun due to it's use of the theme song. When these pinball tables are meant to be played in hourly chunks, the theme song really needed to be there. Maybe it was licensing issues that caused the omission, though it barely makes sense if the table was allowed in.

...But for all the glitz and glamour of Doctor Who, from the sci-fi sound effects and the Sonic Screwdriver plunger that changes colour on each new ball, the gameplay is still the simple playstyle from the older model. Which is fine - though because of it, this digital remaster lacks any innovation apart from the pop-out Cybermen which wouldn't be possible on the older tables due to the lack of "slots."

Because this table was FarSight Studios own original creation, it felt like much more could've been done in terms of table innovations and design. For instance, looking at what Zen Studios has been able to create with their own original table designs should've been a great starting point for FarSight. While they are limited with bringing real-world tables to the digital front due to the design limitations of the real tables, and their aim to be as close to the original as possible, the Master of Time table should've been their licence to let their imagination run wild with over-the-top and outrageous animations that only a digital table could've gotten away with.

But it wasn't to be.

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[i]Doctor Who: Master of Time[/i] feels like a missed opportunity for FarSight Studios to bring their own creative juices to the fore for [i]The Pinball Arcade[/i], but alas they missed the mark on what could've been one of the more memorable tables. Based off the original real-life table of 1992, this digital remaster puts the focus on the villains of the hit show instead of the different incarnations of the Doctor - but a lack of the theme song or the Dalek's screaming "[i]Exterminate[/i]" lessens just how awesome this table could've been. It's good enough, but it's hardly the showpiece table that FarSight would've liked to have had.



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