Date: 23rd August, 2021

Multimorphic today announced the latest release for their P3 pinball platform, a magical fantasy game called Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

The translite image for Sorcerer's Apprentice
The translite image for Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Designed to work with the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module, Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the company’s first full-featured retheme of existing hardware. It starts the player out as the titular apprentice, getting them to travel through multiple environments such as The Bazaar, The Dunes, The Workshop and The Dungeon.

In each of these the aim is to make specific shots to collect spells they can add to their repertoire of skills and pick up items which will aid them later, while also collecting keys to open the valuable treasure chests discovered on their travels. The inventory of keys, spells and items collected, together with instructions on how to use them, appears above the flippers on the playfield’s LCD panel.

Collecting, using and combining magic spells unlocks future objectives
Collecting, using and combining magic spells unlocks future objectives

Activating a spell involves using the white buttons next to the regular flipper buttons and then making the required shot, although it’s important for the player to use the correct spell in each scenario or it could fail or even work against them.

Each environment features four different modes, at least one of which will be a multiball. There is also a higher-level multiball mode called Black Magic Multiball which isn’t based around a specific environment.

Multiball
Multiball
All eight shots are lit for jackpots
All eight shots are lit for jackpots

The ultimate aim is to become powerful enough to reach the (literal) wizard mode, where they get to challenge the master sorcerer in a battle of magic powers.

Game design and in-game graphics come from Rory Cernuda who has been with Multimorphic since 2012 when he produced the original designs for the Lexy Lightspeed character. Since then, he has been a regular part of the team, creating the art and graphics for the ROCs, Barnyard and Cosmic Cart Racing games amongst others.

Software for Sorcerer’s Apprentice is by Greg Goldy who also created the free Hoopin’ In Up! P3 mini-game and worked on Heist! and Shoot ‘n Scoot. The artwork come from Eric Ridgeway whose previous credits include cabinet art for the Heads Up! head-to-head connected P3 game and artwork for the P-ROC custom game Doom, with voice work by Ryan Tanner who co-hosts the Flippin’ and Mashing podcast. Multimorphic head, Gerry Stellenberg, managed the whole project.

The team never met in person during the entire twelve month development process, working completely online instead. Gerry told us how neither working across disparate locations nor the Covid pandemic caused any real problems for the team.

He said, “Our development team has always been spread out across the globe, so we’re pretty comfortable with the workflow. We do a lot of development using a software P3 simulator for all of our games. For Heist!, we built a bunch of prototype playfields and shipped them to each software developer so everybody could test against the physical game. Since Sorcerer’s Apprentice uses an existing playfield (Cosmic Cart Racing), that made things easier. Overall, the pandemic really hasn’t affected our dev process or schedules, other than presenting various supply chain challenges. Mainly it’s just kept us from getting our newest games out to shows and locations where people could enjoy them.”

The rules are unusual in having both timed elements and the need to maintain the player’s health when facing assorted attackers. If the health bar drops to zero then the flippers die and the ball drains. There are several ways to maintain or build a player’s health including a special ‘shield’ spell which gives them temporary invincibility, but making incorrect shots can bring on attackers who can steal the player’s collected items or be seriously injurious to their well-being.

An attacker is defeated
An attacker is defeated

With nine hundred individually-controllable RGB LEDs and magnetic ball control effects, the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module is especially suited to implementing a magic and sorcery theme. Its artwork may have a space design, but it is pretty generic and doesn’t detract from the magical atmosphere.

The hundreds of RGB LEDs on the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module
The hundreds of RGB LEDs on the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module

With the P3 system designed around multiple games being able to use the same playfield module, we asked Gerry whether future re-theming is a major consideration when developing a new playfield module.

He told us, “Re-theming games isn’t something we spend much time considering when designing new playfields. The artwork and physical features in all of our games are designed to create as much theme immersion as possible. Yes, Cosmic Cart Racing‘s artwork represents outer space, but that’s the whole point of the game… racing spaceships through colorful racetracks (the RGB-lit ramps and loops) in the middle of space. That it was nice for re-theming was a bonus! At the opposite end of the ‘decoration’ spectrum, Heist! is lauded for being a beautiful world under glass and immersive experience. We threw everything we could think into it and made sure it immerses players into the story. Of course, it’s a cityscape, so it’s ripe with possibilities for re-themes and/or story continuations.

To play Sorcerer’s Apprentice you will, of course, already need a P3 base unit with the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module installed, but obtaining the game is simply a matter of buying the software through the Multimorphic on-line store and downloading it. To complete the retheming, a title-specific magnetic apron overlay is available with outline game rules and objectives along with a reminder of the flipper button controls.

The bottom apron artwork for Sorcerer's Apprentice
The bottom apron artwork for Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Sorcerer’s Apprentice is available to buy right now at a price of $499. Here’s a promotional video for the game from Multimorphic.

If you want to buy the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module and the associated CCR game, that bundle costs $2,499. Gerry tells us they have been gearing up production ahead of the release of their upcoming licensed title and are currently shipping new orders for CCR playfield modules in under two weeks.

He said, “A good number of people who buy new P3s for that [licensed] game will likely want to take advantage of our industry-best value proposition, which lets them buy existing playfields (Cosmic Cart Racing, Heist!, Lexy Lightspeed, and Cannon Lagoon) for $1500-$2750, depending on the title. So we expect to be shipping a lot more Cosmic Cart Racing playfields soon, and we’re working hard to make sure we can.

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