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SAMPLE OF INDUSTRY OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
A mixture of gimmicks that don't combine into a satisfying whole.
Many of the shots are weighted to the left side (many games have more valuable targets on this side as many players are right-handed). Very few games have so little to do on the right.
The display is a very odd size and extremely hard to read. What is being shown? What's my score? What's the score of the other players?
What is currently available? Text renders on top of text due to the choice of a tiny vertical display and a focus on background illustrations rather than communication with the player. Hopefully updates can correct this issue.
Picking and choosing on the pinbar is ok, though choosing with flipper buttons would be fine. Lockbar screen would be slightly faster for the player if picking disparate items, though however they are cloning the display and providing communication to the rest of the game introduces a lot of lag (you can see it 'catch up' in the demo video at various junctures).
The roto on the left is positioned poorly.
Light show is serviceable.
Music and sound effects are very nice and seem to fit the carnival (Cyclone/Comet/Hurricane) theme.
Up in the air on this one. When I can flip it is the next stage. Looks promising. Let's hope we can find out final pricing. Plus shipment waits.
There isn't a lot here for the casual player, and a lot of decisions actively turn them away, notably using the Pinbar to select skill shots and start modes. Hiding modes behind ticket count makes it difficult for a beginner to figure out how to make any progress.
Layout has some things that are fun and interesting but other things that are very, very problematic. Full plunging or autoplunging into the left outlane is very common. Blocking the mode start shot with a drop target on a timer is frustrating. A repeatable ramp that awards extra balls and specials is a huge problem for location play.
Over all the game seems fun. It has a great art package and I think Steve Bowden is making a good rule set. I really like the idea of collecting tickets. The question is, will people like the theme? Time will tell....
Let's be honest: the overall impression is "that's it?" The game seems OK. Not terrible, but nothing special. If Deeproot had been operating in stealth mode, and this game had popped up out of nowhere, pinball fans would probably be excited about the fun new startup. Instead, we were told to expect Ferrari games at Kia prices. We were told that 5+ years and tens of millions of dollars have been invested into this project. We were told that this is "the masterpiece". So it's hard not to have overall impressions based on what we were told to expect, and in that context, this game seems very disappointing. It boggles the mind to think what this game would have looked like if it had launched as scheduled at TPF in March 2020, which was supposedly only canceled because of Covid-19.
Design/Layout: there are some interesting shots, but the game never seemed to have flow. Putting only a single ramp on a modern game is a curious choice. Is it even possible to shoot the Xenon lock directly? Steve Bowden is an A+ player, and I don't remember him talking about shooting that lock, he seemed happy to get a random bounce in there.
Artwork: the art seems fine. It's colorful and will probably catch the eye when people walk by. The playfield art seems a little too busy.
Rules/Code: it seems like there is a lot to do in the game already, but some of it doesn't seem to make sense in the context of the overall story. On many pinball games that's forgiven, but one of Deeproot's advantages was supposed to be amazing story. (Quinn Johnson is described as "storywriter".) I'm not seeing that storyline. Also deducted a point here because the lighting subsystem appears to have crashed or hung toward the end of Steve's game. (No lamp updates at all for the end of Steve's final ball, through to attract mode.) A major defect like that in just one staged game makes me worry that the code still needs a lot of work.
Display/Animations: again, my feedback may be clouded by what we were told to expect from a team of dozens of Disney/Pixar animators, but nothing on the screen seemed particularly amazing. I did not like how most of the animations and displays were constrained in a sub-panel that occupied only about half the width of the screen. It's like watching an action film on an iPhone 6, the small size kills the impact of the visuals. There were also many times when several status blurbs were on this sub-panel at once, overlapping each other, so that none of them were really legible.
Toys/Gimmicks: the main toy seems to be the Dizzy Doozie spinner, which is fine. Having both Ned and the Ducks be moving targets seems repetitive. We never got to see the Ferris Wheel in action, although we know from Cyclone and Hurricane that it just slows down game play. Speaking of slowing game play, obviously the major gimmick is the PinBar. It's definitely innovative to have a touchscreen there on the lockdown bar, but do players want to spend a lot of time interacting with a touchscreen instead of playing pinball?
Theme: Attack From Mars and Hurricane had a baby, taking the worst aspects of both. Some people will like the B-movie cheesiness of it, but it's hard to imagine many people feeling that this is the theme they've always been hoping for.
Lightshow: Decent. Full RGB lighting throughout the playfield should be the baseline for premium games in 2020, and it looks like Deeproot delivered here.
Music/Sound/Callouts: I love David Thiel's work, so it kills me to not give high scores here, but we just couldn't really hear much of the audio at all.
Most of the innovations on this game have nothing to do with gameplay, which is a pity. The sounds/voicecalls I found too cartoonish for my taste. The lack the humor that can be found in games like MM, AFM, MB. The theme is too much of an attempt to try to throw in as much as possible. That doesn't work for me. If you want to do an Amusement Park-themed game, do just that. No need to add zombies or aliens. It makes the storyline to difficult to follow for most people. K.I.S.S. The lightshow looks very outdated from what I've seen so far. We've had great innovative lightshows on games like TNA, TBL, GnR. The current lightshow on RAZA isn't even getting close to these titles. I'm happy to see deeproot is finally getting their first game out the door (although that still remains to be seen), but I fear this game is trying to innovate in areas that don't need much innovation. I'd rather see the focus be on innovating gameplay first, get production going, and all the other stuff can be innovated once they're cranking out games.
We finally get to see Deeproot's bold vision for pinball. Machine looks beautiful, animations look incredible, Pinbar and Deeproot's vision for it could be a game changer in pinball. Layout just ok, and story of RAZA is a little hard to follow. Hope we get to see more Deeproot titles soon.
This feels like a middle of the road, decent game. I don't look at RAZA as a game and think, "Man, I really want to flip that." At the same time I think I would have fun playing it. It is lacking a wow factor as a game, except for the new innovations of the Pinbar, wrap around backbox, and lighted side art and those innovations don't really add much to gameplay.