|Reference added: 654|
Hal Laboratory, Inc. recycled many of the ideas from their earlier GB pinballer, "Revenge of the 'Gator" (see entry 654), in this later Nintendo-character-license release, but fortunately they also put in a whole lot more pinball places to visit, and some nice amenities to make the trip less frustrating.
Like RotG, this is still Japanese-style exploration pinball, with multi-screen/section tables and lots of mini-tables, along with a complete absence of Western-style scoring modes. However, this time they threw in three tables instead of just one, and I think many more minigame tables as well to keep you busy. Plus, the ball is a little Kirby, which is so cute.
Come to think of it the graphics and sound have been improved quite a bit over RotG, and for the GB they're both top-notch here. There can be a lot going on at any one time in these cramped little super-deformed table sections, and although you of course get slowdown to go with it, it makes for a bit of a thrill nonetheless. The slowdown can make the mediocre physics feel like really bad physics at times, but in general it moves decently enough.
The point, as in RotG, is to make your way up through the sections of the table to the top section, then clear that one and get to the high-scoring minigame/boss table beyond. Then it's usually back to the beginning to do it again, or warp to another table and do pretty much the same thing, only with different gimmicks in each of the table sections.
Cute and charming though they are, even with three tables it gets repetitive after a while, simply because there is usually really only one thing to do in each table section. Also, because the screens are so cramped and the ball is so big, there are no ramps to hit, and really not much to aim for--generally, you just want to keep the ball in play, and eventually it will hit enough of the right things to carry you up the table. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Unlike in RotG, when you ball falls out the bottom table section, you now get a chance to time a plunger hit and knock the ball back into play. The timing gets harder and harder each successive time he ball falls down, so after three or so losses you have very little chance of saving it, but still, this effectively gives you nine balls and three table sections to fall through, not to mention the minigame tables, so a single game of Pinball Land can last a really long time. Fortunately you can save your game at any point, which is darn handy. The game also saves high scores for you.