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"Goblin Pinball" Review: The Wonderful Collision of Pachinko and Rouge

If there is any game genre that can be called the “king of stitching” in indie games, it is definitely Roguelike.

You see, it can be combined with action games to give players the thrill of ” Dead Cells ” Hades “, or it can be integrated with card games to develop strategic gameplay like” Slay the Spire “. It can even be mixed in with SLG, such as the recent new game” Shining Alien “, which brings a very fresh experience.

Yesterday, another “ship new” gameplay pigeon game was released on Steam – “Peglin”. The game has received various positive reviews from players just one day after its release. As of now, there are over 300 player reviews, and it has received 85% positive feedback.

Upon seeing the introduction, it turns out that the game has brought a new element to the “Meat Pigeon Family” – Baiqing Ge.

When it comes to Pachinko, it is actually a kind of marble game machine in Japan. “Pachinko (パチンコ)” literally means’marbles’. A small steel ball falls from the top and collides with the’nails’ (obstacles in the game machine) in the disk, constantly changing the trajectory of the action. If it falls into the designated position, it can obtain great profits. The unknown temptation and addictive mechanism have brought a continuous stream of players to Pachinko.

So, what kind of sparks can be generated by the collision between the irresistible Baiqing Ge and the meat pigeon game? With this question in mind, I entered the pixel world of “Goblin Pinball”.

Playing Pachinko in the Underworld

When first entering the game, the interface above is a cute and silly “brave” goblin, fighting against various monsters in the process of exploring the underground city .

The focus of the game is still on the “Bai Qing Ge” interface, which occupies most of the layout. In “Goblin Marbles”, the game transforms Bai Qing Ge’s reward mechanism into “damage value”. When throwing a marble, the more “nails” it encounters, the more damage it deals.

Some ordinary circular nails and square plate nails are arranged in the interface. This combination of nails reminds me of the game “Peggles”.

Fantasy Ball 1 & 2

The production team also bluntly stated that the game borrowed some excellent designs from “Fantasy Ball”. In “Goblin Pinball”, when facing different level subjects and monsters, the layout of the plate and the “characteristics” of the nails will change accordingly.

Some are placed in accordance with the shape of the monster. For example, when encountering monsters with prominent shapes such as “bats” and “minotaurs”, the nails in the plate simulate the shape of the monster.

Some of the nails’ functions will also create their own “attributes” with the monsters in the battle. For example, in the second level, when encountering the “Mirror” monster, the interface will correspondingly produce specular reflection (and the damage is also × 2); in the third level, when encountering the “Spider”, the nails can also produce “stickiness”, stick marbles to the nails until they disappear.

Of course, “Goblin Pinball” also made some innovations based on “Fantasy Ball”. Among these nails, there are several that are more special.

One is “critical hit ball”. When the marble hits the “critical hit ball”, all the nails turn into a red “critical hit state”. The damage is doubled.

Another type is “refresh ball”. As the name suggests, when a marble hits this ball, all the nails in the field refresh to their initial state.

Bombs are also placed in the interface, which will cause additional AOE damage when hit twice.

The various arrangements, combined with the collision effect of these special nails, bring an exceptionally refreshing “battle” experience.

Add some seasoning to ordinary marbles.

However, if there is only the above pinball gameplay, it is far from being a meat pigeon game.

In “Goblin Pinball”, some mechanisms of meat pigeon cards were also borrowed, and some ingredients were added to the types of “marbles”.

In the game, ordinary marbles are called stones and have no special effects.

Every time you win a game, you can choose one type of marble from three. These marbles have different attributes, including “Ghost Marbles” with additional AOE characteristics and “Rubber Marbles” with full elasticity.

Like the cards in “Slay the Spire”, each marble has a different attribute. However, these marbles overall have stronger attack attributes.

Most marbles are still very damaging, but there are also more “useless” marbles. For example, this “exploding marble” needs to hit the nail 8 times to increase its damage. However, the overall damage is not high, and the experience of using it is not very good.

Marbles can be removed in case of special events in the later stage.

These marbles with different functions can also be combined with cards to expand various BDs such as “vampire flow” and “stack damage flow”. If used properly, you can even see a scene where one ball kills all the monsters in the game.

Interestingly, in “Goblin Pinball”, the adventure route of the little goblin reversed the order of the pigeon cards from bottom to top, but from bottom to top like the pinball game.

In the level selection of each level, players are also allowed to decide by throwing a pinball. This method often depends entirely on luck. You may want to choose the route on the right, but a bomb will directly hit you on the left, leading you to an unexpected path.

At the same time, the game also draws on the “ruins” element in ” Slaughter Spire “. By opening the Treasure box or some random events, various types of ruins can be obtained.

The relics obtained through the entire process can be said to have a lot of content

Small shortcomings

However, while obtaining different novel experiences, these relics can be said to greatly reduce the difficulty of the game.

As the game progresses, it is no different from playing a “mowing” game. For example, when encountering an “electromagnet”, everything is different – as if the official has given a cheating system, the marbles are attracted and can change their trajectory at any time. Falling becomes much more difficult, and the difficulty of the game is greatly reduced.

Is that you, tracking the missile?

Moreover, as the types of relics and marbles become more abundant in the later stage, the time the marbles stay on the interface also becomes longer. Although our original intention is to make the marbles constantly bounce back to increase damage, the situation where each marble takes one minute to hit also consumes players’ patience to some extent.

Especially with the addition of the relic of “each nail can bounce 3 times”, the later bouncing ball will basically not fall off, missing some of the pleasure


In short, in my experience, Pai Qing Ge and Meat Pigeon games have indeed brought a very addictive experience. “Goblin Pinball” draws on the excellent gameplay of “Fantasy Ball” and “Slay the Spire”. Although it is small in size, the content is exceptionally rich, making me forget that it is just a small game with a few hundred megabytes of pixels.

The game doesn’t require a lot of strategic thinking. Often, there are relatively few types of marbles that can be encountered after one hour and one playthrough. Currently, the game only has three levels, which can be completed in about 1.5 hours. It is recommended to play multiple playthrough for a better experience.

The only downside is that in normal mode, the experience becomes somewhat boring as the number of marbles and relics increases. Perhaps the development team needs to balance the difficulty of the game. However, the game is still in the EA stage, and there has been a significant improvement compared to the previous demo. It is believed that through player feedback and continuous adjustments by the development team, the official version can achieve a better balance.

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