Pinball can be a fairly easy game if you don’t care about high scores. But if you want to score more points and work your way up the leaderboards you need to put a bit of time and effort into learning the right techniques. This is where our top 10 tips to play better pinball come in.
The top 10 tricks to play better pinball are:
- Live catch
- Drop catch
- Stall catch
- Dead flip
- Rolling pass
- Post pass
- Bounce pass
- Satching flipper
- Death save
- Inlane friction
Employing each of these tips is the best way to get better at pinball, fast. Practicing each one is key, and so it will take time and effort to really become good at pinball. But before we get into the tips, it’s worth considering different aspects of pinball you can work on to score more points.
Different Pinball Techniques
In pinball, catching the ball is very important to regain control over the ball. It lets you take a minute to regain your composure and it allows you line up your next shots. Catching is very helpful if you’re losing control over the ball and it’s just bouncing around the playfield. Learning how to catch is very easy, but there are a few different techniques you can use to help you catch a high-speed ball.
Passing the ball between flippers can be very beneficial for aiming. This allows the player to control which flipper will shoot the next shot, hopefully leading to a better shot at the desired alley/ramp. As it’s hard to hit every area with just one flipper, passing between them will come in handy to send the ball to tricky spots.
Other Pinball Tricks
The last few tips on the list are just general tips you can use to improve your score. Nudging isn’t on this list, but it’s a great thing to learn to use properly. You can learn more about nudging in this article. But now let’s get into the top 10 tricks to play better pinball!
Top 10 Tricks To Play Better Pinball
1. Live Catch
A live catch is used when the ball is coming towards a flipper at a pretty high speed, and you can’t just lift the flipper at any time to catch it. In order to perform a live catch, the player must lift the flipper the ball is heading too, right before it hits it.
This will send the ball up the in-lane, so it will slow down and roll back down to the flipper while it is still in the up position. When done successfully, you should be able to control a fast-moving ball with ease.
2. Drop Catch
A drop catch is the opposite to the live catch technique. With this trick, the player allows the ball to roll towards the flipper. As you have the flipper upright, you release the flipper right before the ball hits the flipper. This will slow the motion of the ball immediately, since it hits a dead flipper.
This can lead to you being able to catch the ball with the same flipper or, depending on the timing, it may send it to the other flipper where you can catch or cradle the ball, ready to take your next shot with more control.
3. Stall Catch
A stall catch is very similar to a live catch except you do not send it back up the inlane. To perform a stall catch, you let the ball come towards the flipper and you time the flipper to make contact with ball right as it hits the upright flipper. This will stop the ball dead in its tracks instead of sending it back up the playfield.
4. Dead Flip
A dead flip may or may not be considered a pass, but it does move the ball from the flipper it’s heading towards to the opposite flipper. This is very easy, but the ball needs to have a decent amount of speed behind it or else the ball will go to the drain.
As the ball heads for a flipper, you don’t do anything, and it bounces to the other flipper. Let the ball hit the dead flipper and bounce towards the opposite direction where you now have control of the ball.
5. Rolling Pass
A rolling pass allows the player to move the ball going down an inlane from one flipper to the other. As it rolls through the lane heading towards the flipper, you lift the flipper so that it ramps over the drain to the next flipper.
6. Post Pass
In order to do a post pass, the player must have the ball already caught in one of the flippers. As the ball is caught, you release the flipper and quickly tap it up again. This can be hard as if you use too much pressure it can send the ball into the field. But if done right, you’ll let the ball roll slightly and just tap it across to the other flipper.
7. Bounce Pass
A bounce pass is similar to a post pass but without having the ball already caught. As the ball rolls down towards a flipper you want to give it enough of a push to just bounce it off the flipper to move it to the other flipper.
This is similar to a dead flip but usually the ball doesn’t have enough speed to bounce off the dead flipper. So, you use a little momentum of the flipper to bring it over to the other side, where you can then regain control.
8. Satching Flipper
The satching flipper is definitely one of the most nerve-wracking moves in pinball, but it could lead you to a lot of extra points. The idea of this trick is to move the ball back and forth between flippers, sending it up the inlane to hit extra high rollover targets.
To carry out this move you have to let the ball roll down the flipper with a decent amount of speed and then flick the flipper when the ball is on the very edge of it. This will allow the ball to shoot right over the other flipper and up the inlane, hitting targets that are usually a little harder to aim for. If you get very good at this move, you could continue to go back and forth for minutes on end.
9. Death Save
A death save could come in handy if the ball is heading for the outlane and going for the drain. As the ball is heading there you move the machine to have the ball bounce off the sidewall to bounce it back into the playfield.
Some will use a kick to the machine’s foot while nudging to add extra force and increase the ball’s momentum. This could damage the machine, so you may want to ask the owners before trying this move. But if you do want to try it, you can try straight nudging to see if that applies enough force, but it may not be enough, and that’s why kicking the leg of the machine is usually done.
10. Inlane Friction
This move can come in handy when the ball is rolling down the inlane with too much speed. If you are attempting to catch the ball or going to attempt “satching” it may help to slow the ball down a bit first. As the ball is heading down the inlane you nudge the machine back and forth, bouncing it off the walls. This will cause the ball to lose a lot of speed, and you can have more control.
These tips are designed to cover various areas of your pinball game. Getting good at catching, passing, and nudging is the best way to improve your overall playstyle. Practicing each of our top 10 tips will allow you to score consistently more points on your favorite pinball machines.
I have an included an article for beginners to learn how to play with skill here.
I mentioned about nudging but did not add this in my list because I have an article on how to nudge and whether or not players think it is allowed. That will go over nudging and shaking the machine for different purposes and how to do them.