Just like any "editing" game such as Rubicon, Launchball, Eets, or Armadillo Run, you start each level of PuzzPinball with the action frozen and the pieces lined up at the bottom waiting to be placed. Click on an item and place it on the grid, rotating with the icons if necessary. The goal is to bounce, blow and roll the pinball across the stage to collect stars and points before guiding it to the exit. When you're ready to go, click "start" and watch what happens. You can always reset the action and move pieces to tweak the setup, which you'll be doing many times for each stage.
The most intruiging part of PuzzPinball is the game's level of unpredictability. It takes some time before you get a feel for what the ball will do when it hits the items you place. Will this bouncer send it over the blocks or under them? Does this ramp leave the ball with enough momentum to make it to the blower? It adds a little excitement not knowing just what will happen, letting you experiment and gradually master the game's physics.
Analysis: A simple handful of dark colors is all PuzzPinball needs to create its almost futuristic look. While the palette of blues does get a bit bland after a while, it makes running the ball through gates (which flash orange or yellow) even more satisfying. The only sounds are the clicks and pings you'd normally hear from a pinball game, but for some reason they're remarkably satisfying. Maybe I'm just hard-wired to feel good when a pinball game goes right?
Unique but familiar, PuzzPinball is an excellent marriage of a retro game with a great new puzzle interface.