This is intended to be a bit lighthearted to reflect a game is as well. At the end remember this game is rated against other available bowling games and the score is dependent on that. On to the review!!
Prior to getting my PS3 there was a title that I played at a friends house quite often. High Velocity bowling. I used to joke that I would get a PS3 specifically for this title? Is this game a perfect 10? Let's be honest, no. Then what is it? Simply put it is the best bowling game around for a console. With this review I hope to detail why.
I may have lost you already. Out of all the great games the Playstation has to offer why this one? I remember browsing the web and coming across the review for this game once it became compatible with the move. The article was writing by a guy over at IGN that didn't really have the knowledge of the game. It felt like I was reading an article by a kid forced by his parents to write a book report on something that didn't hold his interest. It missed the main points, it focused on the wrong things. It was like listening to a guy talk about a movie he had never seen in full. But instead ranted on about what he saw in the trailer. It was atrocious and it was one of the first times where I was both put off by a review and inspired to write my own. In fact it was my plan to make High Velocity Bowling my first review ever. Better late then never.
This is a game that's been around a while first showing up on the PSN back in 2007. Later becoming PS Move enabled. It's a move that makes sense but to be honest I found that the six axis works just fine. It takes a bit of getting used to but I think that's a great way of doing something different with a controller.
Outside of Nintendo's bowling on the Wii have you played any other titles similar? You may not have and for good reason. Bowling games have an unfortunate tendency to be garbage. There are few exceptions to this and I want to touch on those first.
When the Wii was released the bowling game was something you say people playing a lot. Walk into a friends house that owned a Wii and chances are you were playing that. I've seen contests at bar's and I have partook and won in those. The Wii fails in terms variety. You merely load up your Mii and that's about it. Not so with High Velocity. There are a multitude of lanes each with a stereotypical look to fit one of the many characters included.
That should be noted as well. Saying the characters are "colorful" is an understatement. They are each a stereotype of gigantic proportions. They cover all the bases here in a playful sense. There is something for everyone. Each with their own style and attributes. It's nice to play a game with a diverse cast of characters that react and have emotions as opposed to the stale and sterile environment the wii experience provides.
You have the character, you have the lane and now you choose your ball. Something that can be overlooked. I like the fact that I can customize my ball bag. Yep insert ball joke here. I like going into a match with a preset I hand pick for a specific character or situation. The balls handle differently dependent on their ratings and there are a variety of designs for each individual rating. Tired of blue balls? Or perhaps you need something different from your big red balls? They seem to have everything under the sun here. It's a small touch but one that really adds to this game.
This game is balanced nicely and is rather consistent. I've spent time both online and off inspecting the characters and how they handled on various lanes with a variety of approaches. I was curious to see if I theoretically did the same approach every time if the game had any variances. It does but it's rather subtle. That really makes me notice how accurate the game is reading the movements via the six axis.
You may be wondering how exactly that works. Basically you are holding the controller up and down like a hammer. The trigger buttons effect spin, change a ball with a face button and confirm actions with a face button. That's all there is to it. Before your approach you have the opportunity to check oil patterns. Now I am not sure how accurate they are because in real life I am not a bowler. But what I will say is that the mere inclusion of them shows that the games developers put a lot of thought into this. I appreciate that.
As you play the single player you will notice that the computer can be brutal. It may seem like to need a perfect game from time to time to advance and it's rather tricky (at least for me to get in the 200's) That may discourage players at times. But just like in real life the computer (if you keep retrying) won't always preform up to par. Giving you a chance to redeem yourself. We're not talking a difference of a spare here and there as opposed to a strike. I've been demolished by the computer only to see then open up with gutters from time to time. I appreciate that variable.
What about sound? The game doesn't have a huge orchestral score. That really shouldn't come as a huge surprise. We tended to load up songs we felt fit that were loaded on the PS3. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band was often a fitting choice for a bowling alley setting. The ambiance of the lanes, the crash of the pins sound fine.
Honestly this is a great game to play with friends. It's nice to get together and roll a couple on a multitude of different lanes as opposed to other games which will remain nameless. Likewise it's nice to see characters that look like humans instead of Lego guys with floating heads or a cross between a person and a Dr Mario pill.
All jabs at the Wii aside this is a great game. A good social game with friends, A good competitive online player or something to unwind to as you seek to unlock different items. All from something that was developed as a title for the Playstation network. Here's hoping that we see a proper sequel.