Recently, I have found that I have had more interest in XBLA games more than I have in the past. When I heard about RocketBowl and its somewhat unique concept on bowling I was ready to check it out. Bowling is something that although relatively simple has always been something you can have fun with in real life. With the release of Wii bowling it seems we aren’t seeing any great bowling games coming onto the other platforms. Can RocketBowl, a combination of mini-golf and bowling bring a fun and simple gaming experience? Keep yours eyes scanning to find out!
D3Publishers were looking to bring a bowling game a little bit of excitement with the combination of mini-golf type courses and some bowling add ons. There are ten pin sets on each course and plenty of courses to choose from. The idea is that you have a pretty open layout with what you can do after releasing the bowling ball. The game has a simple power bar reading in which you aim and shoot towards which ever pin set or special item on the course. You also can use a power boost in the direction you choose when you gain that ability.
With all of this being said and the appealing idea of a bowling game it is disappointing to say that the game turns out to be pretty boring. The first thing you will notice is that the menu and logo are very bland and don’t stand out at all. What really made me wonder where this game was going was the voice that comes on when entering the home menu that says “Rocketttbowwwl!” which quite simply sounds ridiculous. Beyond that the game plays extremely slow and even with your rocket boosts not much excitement comes out of it.
When playing on the courses the open environment seems to slow things down. Sure the first couple of goes the game was pleasantly enjoyable but after around I would say ten minutes it became down right boring. There are times when the ball has no chance of hitting anything and you have to brutally watch it take its course to nowhere. Everything from the game is so simple and slow paced that the title becomes ironic in that the ball moves more like a snail through the courses. I will say there were a good amount of courses and the difficulty goes up slightly, but other than that not much positive was found in it.
Graphically I really don’t have much to say about RocketBowl. They don’t do anything to appeal to the player and the menus quite simply look horrible. The camera follows well as you can control it with the left analog stick, but the courses are relatively bland. The so called “rocket boosts” don’t spark anything special and everything seems a bit dull. Graphically however the game wouldn’t have been much better unless the gameplay held up.
As I said earlier after around ten minutes I was not only bored to tears but not excited to move onto the next courses. The game plays way to slow to bring out any emotions and the idea of the semi-open playing field does nothing to keep you interested. The most fun I had during the game was the opening menu with the RocketBowl chant that I talked about earlier which always made me give out a little chuckle. The developers would have been better off just putting the game in a dark old run down bowling alley and that would have been far more satisfying.
All in all RocketBowl has a great idea of what a bowling game can do to appeal to someone who isn’t a big fan of the sport, but fails to use it at any level. The game really doesn’t have a lasting appeal and never left me wanting to play again. You might as well go out and buy a Wii and play Wii Bowling or if you have a one already I would suggest sticking with that for now.