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Competitive pinball player-turned designer Keith Elwin had made a name for himself at Stern Pinball with his past three designs – Iron Maiden, Jurassic Park, and Avengers Infinity Quest – that took innovative approaches to playfield layouts, with many unique and tight shots that vary wildly between his games. Following the release of Avengers in 2020, a tightly knit game known for its complicated rules, players were wondering what Elwin would design next. The answer, in some ways, contrasts with the game that preceded it; but proving that experimentation isn’t necessarily bad in the field of pinball, his next game would be regarded by some as a modern classic.
Godzilla, inspired by the iconic 50s and 60s entries of the famous Kaiju franchise, was released in late 2021 to almost instant acclaim from players of all skill levels, providing a wide range of challenges and implementing deep rules that aren’t required to understand to enjoy the game. Players take on the role of Godzilla as they attempt to take down the mind-controlled monsters that have been resurrected by the Xiliens while destroying the military’s attempts to thwart the “savior of Earth”, eventually taking the battle to Planet X to defeat the Xiliens once and for all.
In this guide, we'll cover the Godzilla pinball rules you need to know to be competitive in your next game.
About Godzilla Pinball
Godzilla is a pinball game manufactured by Stern Pinball Inc. in 2021. Design and code by Keith Elwin. Mechanics by Harrison Drake. Art by Jeremy Packer (Zombie Yeti). Music and sound by Jerry Thompson. Callouts by Rick Zieff. Animation and graphics by Chuck Ernst. The game features an LCD display, 4 players, 10 multiballs, 2 ramps (3 on the Prem / LE model), and 3 flippers.
While there are several aspects of the game that might confuse newer players, Godzilla is a game that can be appreciated on a basic level and a much deeper level for those aspects. For the sake of this guide, I’m going to discuss my strategy for the game, focusing on battles, multiballs, and Planet X progression. This strategy guide was written using a Pro model. It should be noted that while the Premium trim offers more opportunities for skill shots, the super train loops mode, and easier Mechagodzilla progression, gameplay and scoring will be largely the same as a Pro model.
Godzilla Pinball Rules
Check out the community guide on Tilt Forums for information on late-game progression, including the elusive mini-wizard modes. This guide will cover the rest.
Godzilla Pinball Playfield Overview
The bottom of the playfield has the typical flipper and slingshot layout, but very atypical shots directly above the slingshots in the form of the Maser Cannon target to the left, the scoop to the right, and the game’s sole pop bumper. The bumper takes the form of a flying saucer that can send the ball out of control but is worth going for when lit for the extra ball after destroying 3 saucers. The scoop is particularly important, as this shot will start your Kaiju Battles when lit and is required to shoot to change cities. Try holding the ball on the left flipper and shooting for the “Z” in “GODZILLA” (above the flippers) for a consistent way to nail the scoop.
The left half of the center playfield is wide open with most shots being far away from the flippers, though some shots are closer including the difficult left spinner that takes some practice but is important for high scores, and the three shots for Mechagodzilla Multiball on the right side. The upper two Mechagodzilla targets can be difficult on some copies but aren’t as bad if you shoot the center spinner and hold up the upper flipper to bounce the ball into them.
The upper half of the playfield is occupied by the building, two orbit shots in the center and upper loops, and the entrances to the game’s two sprawling ramp shots. You’ll want to shoot the building to destroy it and start Godzilla Multiball and get used to the timing for the ramps as they are used to light Kaiju Battles and used during many of those modes. The center spinner is also useful as spinning it enough times will light the action button for Heat Ray, a powerful feature that collects everything currently available on the playfield and can make modes far more lucrative.
Scoring on Godzilla is typical of this era of Stern releases. A good starting point would be 100M to 200M, but great players can break a billion, and the very best have broken 10 billion!
Keys to Godzilla Pinball
- There are lots of different skill shots to go for. Try scoring a variety of different skill shots for more points and more ball-save time. The most valuable and reliable ones to me are the lane behind the upper flipper and the upper loop.
- There are four tasks that must be started to access Planet X:
- Shoot the ramps to light Battle at the scoop, then use the flippers to select one. You can start another battle by shooting the scoop to change cities and then making both ramps again.
- Shoot the flashing blue targets enough times to start Tesla Strike. Rip the center spinner to increase the points scored at the flashing blue shots.
- Shoot the captive ball when lit to destroy the bridge and eventually light the right ramp for Bridge Attack multiball.
- Shoot the lit green tanks around the playfield to light the scoop for Tank Attack multiball.
- Shoot under the building to start Godzilla Multiball. Make the flashing shots for jackpots and shoot the building for super jackpot.
- Power up Mechagodzilla at the right spinner and flashing light blue targets, then shoot the right spinner again to start Mechagodzilla Multiball.
- Power-Ups, Destruction Jackpots, Allies, and RAMPAGE letters light as you make game progress. Power-Ups are perks that last the rest of the game and can be chosen by the player; Allies offer chances for ball saves and 2x scoring; and RAMPAGE letters start the lucrative Monster Rampage mode.
- Jet fighters and flying saucers can be encountered as you play through the game. Destroy them when they show up for awards and extra balls.
- Shoot the center spinner to charge up your Heat Ray and hold the action button to use it. The Heat Ray collects everything lit on the playfield!
Godzilla Skill Shots
Many skill shots are available at the start of each ball; some easy (the ones near the bumper), and some more difficult (ones near the upper flipper). Making any skill shot scores some points and adds ball save time, which can be a game changer in tournament settings where ball save is traditionally disabled. Try scoring a variety of different skill shots to increase their multiplier – they can be worth way more than you’d expect.
While there are many side tasks to complete in each city, I primarily focus on playing out the four Kaiju Battles and let the side tasks happen naturally. Kaiju Battles are lit at the scoop by shooting either ramp twice (or, if one has already been started, shooting the scoop to change cities, and then shooting the ramps). There are four “tier 1” Kaiju Battles to select from, with additional battles being unlocked if the player makes sufficient progress through the game:
- Ebirah: Shoot the lit spinners and score enough spins at each, then shoot the bumper to finish off Ebirah. This can be a difficult mode if you’re not dialed into the left spinner.
- Titanosaurus: Shoot the blue targets from left to right, then the Maser Cannon target, and finally the captive ball. Dangerous on its own, but with a multiball you can score huge points by completing this mode quickly.
- Gigan: Combo the ramps to deal damage, with 8 ramp shots required to defeat Gigan. This is a great mode in the early game as ramp shots will also advance towards lighting Godzilla Multiball; I always play this first.
- Megalon: Shoot the random flashing shots; if one times out, you will lose the multiplier gained by scoring them in a row. While arguably the most difficult tier 1 mode, this is also the most lucrative.
After the second, third, and fourth Kaiju Battles, the player will be able to access three more lucrative tier 2 battles:
- King Ghidorah: Shoot the flashing shots three times each to light the scoop for a jackpot and “fight or flee” to keep building the value or cash it out. This is a great time to use the Heat Ray.
- Megalon & Gigan: 3-ball multiball, shoot the flashing shots and nail the right spinner for super jackpot. Low scoring, but safe.
- King Ghidorah & Gigan: Collect switch hits to light five major shots, then shoot the building and “fight or flee” to keep building the value or cash it out. If you’re dialed into the center spinner this can be a lucrative mode.
City Selection & Starting The Next Battle
Once you’ve started a battle (it doesn’t need to be completed), “city select” will light at the scoop to allow you to start another battle. This is the only method of accessing the tier 2 Kaiju Battles described above and can help increase points scored later in the game.
I like to choose London as my first city for the +6M boost to destruction jackpots, which seems small but can add up over the course of a long game.
Other Godzilla Pinball City Objectives
The other tasks required to access Planet X are relatively simple and incidental to the point where you might not even know you’ve made progress on them:
- Tesla Strike: Started after enough flashing blue target hits. The center spinner is lit to juice up the value of the flashing blue shots. Alternate between center spinner shots and the flashing blue shots to complete.
- Bridge Attack Multiball: Switch hits light the captive ball to attack the bridge, with enough hits lighting the right ramp for 2-ball Bridge Attack Multiball. All lit shots score jackpots. Shoot the flashing captive ball for 2x jackpots and a chance at a timed, unlimited super jackpot at the right ramp.
- Tank Attack Multiball: Shoot the green tanks around the playfield to light the scoop for this 2-ball multiball. Defeat the tanks before they reach Godzilla at the captive ball to light the Maser Cannon target for super jackpot. The fewer tanks that attacked Godzilla, the higher the super jackpot.
The shots that were used to start each task are available after their completion for “annihilation bonuses” worth part of their total, increasing in value drastically if multiple tasks have been completed in one ball!
The ramp shots and building shots you make throughout the game all deal damage to the building, with Godzilla Multiball lighting at the building with a green insert once the building has been destroyed. Shoot the building once more to start Godzilla Multiball, with one of six choices of music that can be rotated by using the action button.
Godzilla Multiball is a hectic 3-ball multiball where you’ll want to focus on making the flashing shots for jackpots and shooting the building for super jackpots once enough have been scored. An add-a-ball is available by shooting the green Mechagodzilla targets, then making a shot to the right spinner, and the grace period for the add-a-ball is quite generous so don’t sleep on it.
Mechagodzilla Multiball isn’t as prominent as the main multiball from the building but can be worth a lot if you know which order the shots light in. Shoot the right spinner to charge up Mechagodzilla, then shoot the flashing targets to take down its shield followed by the right spinner again to take on the robotic beast.
Jackpots alternate between the two ramps/building and the three Mechagodzilla targets, including the two difficult upper targets that are best hit by shooting the center spinner and holding the upper flipper to bounce the ball into them. Once all six jackpots have been scored, rip the spinners to build up the super jackpot, which can be scored at the right spinner or at 3x value by making the “tail whip” shot from the upper flipper.
Many features in Godzilla light seemingly randomly, but there is a rhyme and reason to their occurrence. For the sake of this guide, I won’t go into detail about why they occur, but you’ll want to keep an eye out for any of the following:
- Power-Ups: These light at the scoop after making enough game progress, often by completing modes or tasks. You’ll be given a choice between two awards, with the chosen award remaining active for the rest of the games. Determine which ones best fit your play style. At levels 4 and 8, if you scored a super jackpot in either Godzilla or Mechagodzilla multiball, you’ll gain access to a mini-wizard mode.
- Destruction Jackpots: Lit at the building after major events occur (like a battle starting or after a task has been started). Wait for the countdown to finish and nail the upper loop to score the Destruction Jackpot, which increases in value with each battle you complete and resets with each new city visited.
- Allies: Most often lit by advancing through battles, these are collected at the scoop and can be changed by pressing the right flipper. Mothra and Anguirus are left outlane ball save & add-a-ball respectively; while Rodan is 60 seconds of 2x scoring goodness, perfect for some of those more lucrative modes.
- RAMPAGE letters: Lit as you advance through the game at the left spinner. Complete RAMPAGE (with 5 letters at the start of the game) for the high-scoring Monster Rampage mode, with one shot moving from left to right. Repeatedly make this shot to earn extra balls and increase the multiplier for subsequent awards.
- Jet fighters: Wondering why all those shots are flashing red after enough return lanes? Quick, shoot them, jet fighters have invaded to thwart your plans of destruction! Destroying enough will light allies and award extra balls.
- Saucer attacks: Roll through the lane near the bumper to light it for a saucer attack. Extra ball is awarded after 3 saucers and a unique saucer attack multiball is lit after 6 saucers.
The Heat Ray
After shooting the center spinner enough times, the action button will begin flashing blue to activate Godzilla’s heat ray. Hold the action button in for about 5 seconds to instantly score everything lit on the playfield, a lifesaver in modes and multiballs with many lit shots, and enable super spinner at the center spinner for one shot. Even if it seems like not much is currently lit, points are points, so use your Heat Ray whenever possible!
My Godzilla Pinball Gameplay Strategies
- At the start of the game, I always try to play out the Gigan Kaiju Battle first so I can make progress on lighting Godzilla Multiball. After this, I shoot the scoop to change cities to London (for higher destruction jackpots), making shots to the building to light Godzilla Multiball if required, and then bring the Titanosaurus battle into Godzilla Multiball.
- I treat incidental modes like the other objectives and jet fighter attacks as they are: incidentals, not worth going for on their own, but still worth playing out for extra balls and points. I know some players have found a lot of value in them, but I’ve yet to find it in my play style.
- Keep your allies close; I like to prioritize Mothra for left outlane ball save and then focus on Rodan, with the occasional Anguirus for good measure.
- Keep your Heat Ray lit and use it whenever you can. I used to not really use the Heat Ray unless there were situations where using it would be lucrative but recently shifted to prioritizing points above all else and try to use it more often. Not to mention, super spinner points especially with Rodan can be very worthwhile.