Pinball M – System Shock DLC

Look at you, hacker

The Pinball M System Shock DLC is perfect for hackers and insects alike.

If you had told teenage me that one day I’d be able to play a pinball table based on System Shock, I’d have called you a liar and possibly a drunk. They just aren’t two things I’d think to put together. Then again, I wouldn’t have thought pinball and horror movies would make a tasty combination, and Pinball M certainly proved that they can work well together. Immersive first-person survival horror finally makes the jump to the table of the silver ball and it’s very hard to complain about.

If you don’t know Pinball M, it’s an excellent horror-themed set of tables from digital pinball wizards Zen Studios. And if you don’t know System Shock, then you’re probably a lot younger than me, but, you play a hacker trying to defeat an insane AI by the name of SHODAN. Quite who thought these two should be smashed together I have no idea, but they must be some sort of maniacal genius.

Pinball M System Shock DLC
Lots of cool stuff here, including an upper table area with flippers to hit additional ramps.

This single table on offer for around a fiver depending on your region takes everything that’s so solid in the free table and gives it that cyberpunk horror spin. You’ll be launching your ball into cybernetically altered mutants, flipping your way through cyberspace, and ramping your way directly into a rogue AI’s face in your quest to save the world. Or get a high score, depending on what’s more important to you.

Unlike the Wrath of the Elder Gods table which comes with the free game, there’s an upper layer to the table with its own flippers that will allow you access to some of the trickier mini-games. Getting the timing spot on to get to these is tricky, but rewards you with a whole heap of points. Then there’s the cyberspace mini-game that acts like something of a simple breakout clone. This is the key to defeating SHODAN and getting those really high scores.

As a table, this is really quite an enjoyable one, with lots of interesting mini-games and point scoring opportunities to explore. It’s not an easy one, mind. Those ramps to get to SHODAN are tricky ones to hit, and it took me quite a while to get the timing just right to hit the ramps reliably enough. You get the campaign mode that’s included with the other DLC tables where you play through a story of sorts, scoring points to unlock new cosmetics for your table’s area. I liked this feature in the base game, and I like it here too as it rewards you with a different look to the environment should you lean into the online tournament aspects of Pinball M, as well as something to aim for rather than just a high score.

Pinball M System Shock DLC
There’s a little Breakout mini game you’ll need to complete to progress the game.

The sound scape is something I didn’t think I’d be quick to praise in a pinball game, but the incredibly low-key music track really does capture that isolation that came in the original game back in the 90s, and I have to commend the team who put all this together for managing to do that in such a wildly different genre. Equally, the voice-work for SHODAN is excellent. Visually everything is as good as you could expect, but I still struggle to find a camera angle that I’m really happy with, especially with the new emphasis on the upper section of the table. Maybe my eyes are old and my reflexes older.

The Pinball M – System Shock DLC isn’t something I thought I needed, but it’s an excellent inclusion to an excellent package. If you’re already invested in Pinball M, then there’s no reason at all to ignore this, and if you were on the fence then this may well be the table to tip you over the edge. Digital pinball has come a long way since Space Cadet.

The System Shock DLC for Pinball M is available now on PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation.

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