Canned Pokémon Pinball DS game would’ve been the perfect spin-off

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Pokémon Pinball DS Pikachu sitting and smiling

If you’re a hardcore fan of the Pokémon franchise, you’re bound to have heard of Pokémon Pinball. A spin-off series for the Game Boy, these cute monster-collecting Pinball games were essential parts of the late 90s Pocket Monster hype machine.

The pinball subseries only received a single sequel — Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire — in 2003. However, a third entry for the series for the Nintendo DS was planned, but eventually scrapped.

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Revealed in a video by DidYouKnowGaming, Pokémon Pinball DS was planned to tie-in with 2006’s Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl. Unfortunately, the title would never be released on the DS system, and the series never continued.

However, a sequel was in active development for the Nintendo DS. Helmed by Fuse, the studio behind the fantastic Metroid Prime Pinball, the game aimed to be a massive expansion over its GBA predecessor.

Following work on its Metroid game, Fuse put together a demo for its Pokémon spin-off. In the demo, three tables were made: a countryside, a city and a gym. These tables would link together to create routes and journeys similar to a standard Pokémon adventure.

Compared to previous games, this Pinball title would’ve included a lot more Pokémon. To catch Pokémon, you would have to hit a Pokémon with a Pokéball and then tap the touch screen to catch it. There were even plans for an evolution system that would allow you to collect higher powered monsters.

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Most impressively, the game also managed to design gym battles against other trainers. These would take place on a double-ended board that would see you fight gym leaders in competitive pinball.

“The Gym was a double-ended table with your Pokemon between your flippers,” revealed artist Matthew Nightengale. “As you completed ramp shots you would charge up your Pokemon’s powers, get the ball into the lock shot and it would then blast the gym owner’s Pokemon that was between his flippers at the top of the table.”

As we now know, this game was not meant to be. While details of its cancellation are sparse, it was supposed to release close to Diamond and Pearl. However, that never happened, and the Pinball spin-offs have never picked back up for the franchise. Perhaps, one day, we’ll get to play a pinball spin-off again.