Downhill bowling by Game Resort is a strange hybrid of a game. On the one hand you have your typical ten pin bowling, and on the other a downhill racer, akin to the coin collecting 3D sections in Sonic.
There are 10 levels in all and two bonus levels, across your typical themed environments of canyons, snow and ice, and lava and rock… as well as a Star Road-esque bonus level taking place on a route made of clouds and vapour.
For each level you have two options, a regular mode which requires you to collect coins and knock down the most pin sets along the route and ends at the finish line with a random cannonball shooting section featuring a raccoon (don’t ask!)… and there’s also a time mode where you must get the best times possible. Both these modes give you a score or best time at the end which you can view on a local list of an on-line global list.
Presentation and graphics
The game is based on a free online game for PC and Mac. It features full 3D modelled and textured environments, and for the most part looks and runs as good as the online version. When you knock into the pins though, the framerate takes a bit of a hit and can chug for a moment. This can be frustrating if you are trying to line up for coins or the next set of pins.
The music is pretty good, but unfortunately it’s the same on every level and can get annoyingly repetitive. The sound effect are ok too, with whoops and cheers when you knock down pins, and great wind through your hair sound when your bowling ball is airborne. The sound effect of the ball rolling on the ground is good, but it’s the same when you are on ice and even on the cloud based track. When the music is off, the sound effects reveal some clicking sounds, which is a shame.
Rolling the bowling ball down slopes and inclines is fun, a bit of a mix of monkey ball with downhill skiing. The controls work well too, with motion controlled by the accelerometer… it’s pretty responsive. Along the route you pick up coins for added points, but there are also various powerups available such as speed boosts and bombs. These activated by taping the relevant icon. There are also objects that affect your ball such as various toadstools that slow you, or reverse your controls.
Beyond the 12 levels and scoring for points there isn’t much incentive to replay the game, other than the odd play session while waiting for a bus. It’s just not that challenging and a bit forgettable.
Downhill bowling is a fun game, if a little odd. If you want to play bowling then your best bet is flick bowling from freeverse… and if it’s fast platforming come racing action you want then Snail Mail is much better. While an interesting idea, I’m not sure it’s been fully thought out, it just seems to be a mix of too many ideas and a master of none.