For the last couple of years, any party worth its salt has involved: a) alcohol, b) good friends, and c) Wii Sports Bowling. No matter how insensitive the game was, or how shallow, everybody can be bowling strikes within seconds. For those of us who fancy something a little deeper though, High Velocity Bowling is where it’s at. First released in via the PlayStation Network back in early 2008, the game – complete with SixAxis bowling motion – was met with a mixed reception. Some criticised it for being too difficult, whilst others praised it for retaining the fun factor of Nintendo’s megaton hit, and fleshing it out a bit. I’ll admit right off that bat that until now, I hadn’t as much as thought of giving it a go.
The latest patch provides support for Move, and therefore I had good reason to crack on and see what all the fuss was about. I’m glad that I did, for High Velocity Bowling is a solid title, which is incredibly easy to jump in to. You choose where to stand in relation to the lane, press the Move button, choose which direction to aim, press the Move button, and then bowl whilst holding the Trigger, releasing to throw the ball. It really couldn’t be simpler, and it all works very smoothly. What’s different here though, is that you not only have the ability to play online, but that you have a heck of a lot of offline content to get through as well. Playing straight head-to-head matches, winning tournaments and pulling off trick shot challenges all reward you with items such as new bowling balls, new locations, and new bowlers.
These items vary in terms of how useful they are to you. When you first play, you’ll only have access to a mediocre bowler, who in turn only has access to bowling balls with average properties. This makes it somewhat harder to pound down strike after strike, since no matter how well your shot positioning, speed judgement and spin application are when it comes to actually “bowling” with the controller, you’ll be limited as to exactly what you can do with the ball on screen. This is a little strange and tough to get used to at first, as a game that seems to offer one-to-one parity between your arm movement and the on-screen animation shouldn’t be able to put such a false limit on your skills so, but get used to it you shall, until you’re hammering through and winning tournament after tournament. Either that or you’ll get used to it and then get frustrated at how difficult the trick shot challenges are, even when you’ve realised that the shininess of the lane depicts how much grip the ball will have, and that it can really affect the outcome of a trick shot attempt.
Either way, I have to say that I think High Velocity Bowling is a sound investment for the price (£7.99). The addition of Move support will bring in a bunch of new players to bolster the online component, and even if that doesn’t happen, you’ve got a decent amount of offline content and – of course – you can play in an offline multiplayer mode that’s just as easy to pick up as it was with the Wii. High Velocity Bowling certainly isn’t perfect, but it does what it sets out to do, and provides a heck of a lot of fun as it does so.
Review contributed by: Ken Barnes