I think it is really cool when a developer takes a boring sport, and injects it with personality and flair. Sega even managed to turn the game of soccer into something cool with their Sega Soccer Slam back in 2002 for Xbox and PS2. Now Mediatronic tries to infuse new life into the age old sport of bowls.
To make it easy for myself I snatched the following from Wikipedia:
“Bowls is a sport in which the goal is to roll slightly asymmetric balls, called bowls, closest to a smaller—normally white—bowl called the “jack” or “kitty”. Bowls, either flat- or crown-green, is usually played outdoors, on grass and synthetic surfaces. Flat-green bowls can also be played indoors on synthetic surfaces. Both variants are collectively known as “lawn bowls”.”
In Extreme Lawn Bowls you place the ball on the court, and shoot the bowl using touch controls. Power is easily controlled by dragging upwards, and you get to know how far it will go. I have yet to find a way to add more power than 32 meters. At times I want extra power to knock opposing bowls away but can’t. When the bowl has been released you can affect it by tilting the iPhone. Spin, backspin and extra power can be achieved this way. Super powers can be used once the power meter next to the character is full. These add flair, and are different for the eight available characters.
There are a number of different game modes available:
Tournament mode is the main mode, and lets you choose a character to battle your way to the top with. There are four tournaments with ever increasing level of opponents to outwit, outlast and outsmart. One drawback in playing the AI is that I always have to watch the opponents bowls. The game looses its pace completely, and a speed up time button would be appreciated.
Score attack mode is my personal favourite mode as it is all about trick shots, and racking up points. The more times a bowl touches walls, objects or other bowls the higher the multiplier becomes. Making sure to have a maxed out bowl inside the score zone after the final bowl is a real challenge.
Multiplayer mode lets you play up to six people on the same device. You can also play the AI in this mode, or practise by playing against yourself if you are a lonely person. The pacing of the game makes it really suitable for pass n’ play multiplayer.
The graphics are bright and colourful, and the menus come with score table led fonts. The tables and bowls are a bit low res, and could do with a bit of polish. I like that the developer has created new less stereotypical characters such as the bishop. The music is ok, and you have the option to play your own stuff. Sound effects are good with some funny little one-liners and gags for the bowlers.
Openfeint integration prolongs gamelife by adding global high scores and achievements.
Extreme Lawn Bowls is a fun take on a stale sport. Highlights include good pass n’ play, the fun high score attack and easy to get into controls. Sure I would like the controls to be tweaked, and the physics to be more out there Sega Soccer Slam style. At a buck Extreme Lawn Bowls offers a lot of content per cent invested.
Extreme Lawn Bowls $0.99
Seller: Mediatonic Ltd.