Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire is a pinball game developed by Jupiter, published by The Pokémon Company and distributed by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance handheld game console. It was first revealed at E3 in 2003, and was released in the same year – on August 1, August 25, and November 14 in Japan, North America, and PAL regions respectively. The North American release was done to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the North American release of Pokémon Red and Blue. It is based on Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and is a sequel to Pokémon Pinball for the Game Boy Color. In some ways, it plays like a traditional pinball game, where the objective is to get a high score by keeping the ball in play as long as possible and hitting bumpers. In keeping with the theme of Pokémon, it features Pokémon collection, where while the players play pinball, they must also capture the eponymous creatures.
Ruby & Sapphire has received generally positive reception. It was well received when it was revealed at E3 by publications such as IGN and GameSpy. Its release was similarly well received, with Metacritic and GameRankings giving it aggregate scores of 82 and 80.83% respectively. It has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide, and has received significant praise from review outlets such as Nintendo Power, GamePro, and IGN, the latter awarding it the Game Boy Advance Game of the Month award for August 2003. In spite of the positive reception, some reviewers found it to be an inferior pinball experience, such as TechTV and The Guardian, though felt that Pokémon fans would enjoy it.
Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire plays similarly to traditional pinball games, using a similar engine to its predecessor, Pokémon Pinball. It features two boards, each themed on either Pokémon Ruby or Sapphire. They have similar layouts, though they feature some differences, the Sapphire table being noted as slightly more annoying due to its setup. The player launches a ball onto the board, at which point it descends towards the bottom of said board. The objective is to ensure that the ball does not reach the pit at the bottom. Players must utilize a pair of flippers located right above the bottom to hit the ball upward, keeping it from falling for as long as possible. There are two spots located on either end of the board where the ball may fall, rendering players helpless. A Pikachu sits at either side of the board, and if players have filled its meter, it will be able to shoot the ball out of this spot. Under certain conditions, a Pichu will appear, allowing both spots to be blocked. This only occurs when the player has activated the four circles that sit in both the side slots and flipper paths, shown here. Consequently, a gravity field appears in the central hole that starts a “Start Slot” minigame that resembles a slot machine. In the blue field the player is able to utilise a Zigzagoon (shown here on the right side of the board) so that it can pounce on the selected tile and obtain the result. After finishing the Rayquaza bonus stage, a new Start Slot tile appears, which is simply labeled “Arrival”, signifying the arrival of a Jirachi. Activating this tile results in a bonus mode similar to Catch ‘Em Mode, where the player only has thirty seconds to catch Jirachi. This is the only way to add Jirachi to the Pokédex.