Well, it’s been quite a wait, but finally a realistic pachinko machine has hit the app store! Sure, there are games in the app store that “simulate” pachinko-like features or ones that add trivia to the mix, but what Mission One delivers is an authentic recreation of Japanese culture that you can’t find anywhere stateside. Now you don’t have to book that ticket to Japan to hit the parlors while risking the chance for lung disease three times over.
So, what is pachinko? Simply, it’s Japan’s version of the slot machine. Basically, what happens is you take a load of metal balls and launch them into a gameboard scattered with pegs, hoping they will land in the “start pocket,” which then starts the slot-machine spinning. Ultimately, the goal is to hit “jackpot” (or “o-atari”) by getting three like numbers together so you can earn more metal balls. However, unlike normal slot machines that give the payout right away, the pachinko machine then demands you shoot more balls into a “jackpot door” that awards bonus balls for each ball you get in. In pachinko parlors, these balls are basically a form of “money” that is used to exchange for goods like cigarettes, electronics, or whatever crazy things these parlors may offer. In Sho Chiku Bai, you are looking to earn more boards, characters, and artwork pieces.
The physics in this game are well implemented and realistic. Gameplay basically consists of controlling a velocity lever to manage the power at which the balls are launched. You also have a start/stop button for the balls, but really there’s no reason to ever stop the flow of shots; it’s not like you’re losing any real money here. Essentially, you want to find a sort of “sweet spot” where the balls fall into the “start pocket” more consistently. Once you do that, you pray for o-atari to hit so you can get the big balls … er, uhm… big amount of balls. What’s exciting about any pachinko machine versus a normal slot machine is that most pachinko games involve some sort of story that you are helping to solve. Sho Chiku Bai has said story and hitting o-atari gets the story to its dramatic conclusion. Sho Chiku Bai also includes a “how to play” section that explains everything you need to know in order to enjoy playing this game. I didn’t list everything that makes up this game, so I highly recommend you read the “how to play” section and the backstory. This section is here because Sho Chiku Bai is mainly targeted at the Japanese market, not the US market.
So that begs the question: is this game a worthy choice at $4.99? It is very much worth it if you are a pachinko enthusiast who has been waiting for a game like this to come along or if you at least know what you are getting into. If you have no clue what pachinko is all about, I suggest you research a little about the game and its history. Don’t expect to win all the prizes in a half hour sitting. A game like this is for people that are really hard core about this form of gambling, which means this game offers high replay value. There’s not much strategy or effort involved, however it is more involving than the basic slot machine. Most of winning in this game is all up to lady luck!
Regardless of your expertise in the area of pachinko, Sho Chiku Bai is a praise-worthy choice for the veteran or an excellent alternative for someone looking for something new and exciting.
Oh, I almost forgot to note that Sho Chiku Bai features, “an original J-Pop single composed by Norihiko Hibino, famed composer from the Metal Gear Solid series!” SWEET!