I don’t want to drop a huge wall of text, so as I finish my write ups for my site, I’ll link to those later. For now, here’s my basic assessment of what I saw:
Houdini - It’s got a lot of interesting stuff going on, and it has some challenging shots. That lock shot is VERY tough to hit consistently, but it’s a fair shot, just difficult. The game looks a little rough, but should be a fun game when it’s been given more time to cook. Joe Balcer is doing a great job there.
Alien - Lots to shoot for, but everything felt just a little bit off. The odd shot geometry was tough to adapt to, but that’s way better than facing a cookie cutter layout that you instantly are dialed into. The game looks and sounds great, so hopefully Heighway can start getting production games shipped. This game has a lot of potential. It’s also been a very long time when a game has had so many things to shoot for, especially from the upper flippers.
Dialed In - Easily my favorite of the new batch of games, Dialed In is incredibly smooth game with plenty to see and do. While I plan on setting it up steeper with more open outlanes, I think the combos and modes were already offering a decent challenge to complete. If you like Lawlor, this is more of that. If you’ve never clicked with Pat’s designs, this might be the one to work for you. It’s just such a clean shooter.
Aerosmith - Not a bad game by any means, but it feels very, very familiar. The ramp shots are great on both models, and I’m really happy with the ability to delay multiball. I think that the lock shot is pretty terrible though, as 90% of the time it will slop in there from the magnet or another sort of ricochet. The ball finds its way into that shot constantly on accident, but making it deliberately isn’t so easy. I’m also getting a little bit of magnet in front of the bash toy fatigue. That said, they’re doing cool stuff with the lighting and the display, and the release code is fairly complete. Pretty vanilla experience, but it’s well done.
Total Annihilation - This is just a pure joy to play. The music, the lights, the ball locking system, and the sheer speed of this game just make it a rush. I really had fun with this and I’m hoping we see more from this in the future.
P3 - It’s looking ready. It’s ultimately not for me, but I’m thinking that people who go in on one are going to find plenty of cool things with the platform over time. I really like what Gerry has created and what’s it’s also allowing other people to do in the hobby.
AFMr - Plays very close to the original, just much faster. Obviously that speed will come down as it ages, but I think they put together a good product and it’ll sell in big numbers. I didn’t like the huge display until I saw it in person. After getting eyes on in person, it looked nice.