Like Pokemon Pinball
on the Game Boy Color before it, Pokemon Pinball Ruby & Sapphire focuses on completing the player's Pokedex
by catching each of the various Pokemon on pinball tables themed around Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
. Pokemon can be caught in a variety of different special modes, usually by hitting them a lot with the ball after activating the special mode and getting them to appear.
Catch 'em Mode
Flipping the ball through the right loop of the table three times will activate the "Catch" slot. Flipping the ball into this slot will make a silhouette of a Pokemon appear in the middle of the table, and a countdown timer in the corner of the screen. Hitting the bumpers at the top of the table will slowly reveal the identity of the Pokemon, and when the image is fully visible the Pokemon will appear on the table. At this point the player must hit the Pokemon with the ball three times before the timer runs out in order to catch it, adding it to their Pokedex and scoring points towards their highscore.
Flipping the ball into the "Hatch" slot will first cause an Aerodactyl
to deliver an egg to the table. Afterwards, the player can either hit Cyndaquil
several times (on the Ruby table) or send the ball through the right loop three times (on the Sapphire table) in order to hatch the egg. Once a baby Pokemon has hatched, it will wander around the table for thirty seconds. The player must hit the Pokemon twice within this time to catch it, else miss out on the opportunity.
After catching a Pokemon, the player will be given the option to evolve if the caught Pokemon has an evolution. Sending the ball through the right loop three times will change the Mart into a designated evolution slot, and hitting the ball into this slot will activate Evo mode, in which the player must hit the ball into three EVO icons on the table, and subsequently into a hole in the centre to evolve the Pokemon within the two minute timer.
The "Mart" slot will allow the player to buy various limited-time abilities, such as a "Saver" for 30, 60 or 90 seconds which involves a Latios
catching the ball if it drops off the table and putting it back into play again without penalty. The Mart can also be used to upgrade the ball type from Pokeball
to Great Ball
to increase score bonuses.
In Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, the Pokemon which appear for capture on each table depend on the location which has been set. There are seven different locations in the game in total, which are set randomly at the start of play. Players can activate "Travel" to change the area or location. On the Ruby table, this is done by hitting the Chikorita
switch on the right side of the table, then the Linoone
on the left, and repeating this process twice. On the Sapphire table the player only needs to hit the Seedot
on the left side three times.
After Travel is activated, players have one minute to send the ball through the loop around the table, then into a hole in the table's centre. Traveling six times in one play sessions allows players to travel to the Ruins and capture special Pokemon Regirock
Five bonus areas exist in the game, two exclusive to each table and one which can be unlocked from both later on in play. Unlocking a bonus area requires the player to light up all three Pokeball silhouettes in the middle of the table through catching new Pokemon (lights up one silhouette) or evolving previous Pokemon (lights up two silhouettes).