Bowling hits the Playstation 3 care of a nice $9.99 download from the Playstation Online Store (PSN).
Ah yes... the game of bowling. There is nothing like going to the dark, dank bowling alley and renting some soggy bowling shoes that a thousand other smelly, stinky, sweaty feet have worn and hitting the lanes. Bowling is a game that everybody from Grandma to your own children (break out the bumpers) can get into. And for many years dating all the way back to the Atari 2600, bowling has always been transformed into a videogame. The game has reached new heights with Wii Sports (mainly Wii Bowling).
Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii has been one of the most popular games in the last few years. The game has launched the Nintendo Wii into orbit. And Wii Bowling itself has been a huge gaming phenomenon. The elderly/college dorms have weekly tournaments and the game has people who do not normally play game systems putting their moves on for Wii Bowling. Families get together and play. The thing is huge!
So now Sony has jumped in on the bowling bandwagon. And much like the Wii's motion-controller gimmick, High Velocity Bowling uses the PS3 Sixaxis controller as a selling point. High Velocity Bowling sells for $9.99 on the PSN Store. So how does this game stack up against Wii Sports? First, the only thing this game has in common are two things. The first is that they are both bowling games. The second is the fact that you can swing your controller to bowl. Other then those two things thats where the comparisons end.
High Velocity Bowling lets you start out with 2 characters. One is a male character and the other a female character. There are 8 characters total that you can choose from. When you play challenges you will go up against the other 6 characters in the game. Once you beat them you will unlock them and be able to bowl as them. Each character in High Velocity Bowling also has different costumes. And you will also unlock their bowling alleys as well (each character has their own themed alley). You also have a ton of bowling balls to choose from. And you can choose whatever ball you you want before you bowl each time.
The way you bowl in High Velocity Bowling is you hold the Sixaxis controller sideways (kind of like holding a barbell) and you use your fingers to hit the L2 & R2 trigger to put a spin on the ball. The way that you move your character to place him before you let the ball go is you just move your wrist back and forth. This takes a bit of getting used too, because once in a while you will be twisting and turning your wrist and you will not be able to move where you want too. It took me a few games to get this way of bowling down (because I am so used to Wii Sports). The way you throw the ball is kind of like how you do it in Wii Sports. You just fling your hand forward, yet you will not have to let go of any buttons. The speed of your movement also detects how fast you bowl the ball as well. One downfall is that you can't make your own bowler (something Wii Bowling thrives on). But you will be able to download extra characters in the future from the PSN.
High Velocity Bowling sadly does not feature any online play. I think if it did my score would have been somewhere in the higher 8's (8.5). Bowling seems like the most simple sport for a gaming system, but it can be fun as hell when executed right (Wii Bowling and this). And having the option to play online would have taken the game somewhere Wii Bowling could not take anybody. The only Online feature in High Velocity Bowling is the leaderboard. When I checked out the scores online, there was only 1 person that has bowled a perfect 300 game. So that kind of tells me that this game is very hard to to bowl a perfect game. I played many times and I can't even get close to a 200. So in a way I am kind of glad that there is a learning curve and that it is not that easy to knock out 300 games left and right...
The graphics in High Velocity Bowling are actually not that bad. I remember seeing the trailer from E3 2007 and thinking that it was cool that the Playstation 3 was getting a bowling game, but it looked... well... very weird. High Velocity Bowling supports 1080p as well. The game's presentation is very 1970's, which I really dig. Characters all animate pretty good, and the characters are somewhat fun. Some characters do little dances after they score a strike. The bowling alleys are also very cool and they all have a curtain charm to them (fitting the characters). Lighting is also very good as well as the shine of the bowling alley floors (nice and shiny). I am kind of wondering what kind of future characters they will offer in the PSN. But having that option is a nice touch. Overall, High Velocity Bowling looks pretty good, especially for a $9.99 game. The developers of High Velocity Bowling did a nice job and you have the feel that you are actually in a bowling alley...
The Music and Sound:
The music of High Velocity Bowling sounds like something you would hear in a Jerry Lewis flick (The Nutty Professor). Thankfully you can put your own tunes as the backdrop as High Velocity Bowling features a custom soundtrack option. Press the Select button and it will bring up all of the music you have stored on your PS3 system. This is a great option that is a first for a PS3 game and I hope more developers will start putting this feature in games. High Velocity Bowling also has some quirky characters that range from funny to downright strange. Hiro is my favorite character. The mailman character is also pretty funny. The sounds of the bowling alleys are also very nice. Overall High Velocity Bowling is pretty solid and surprisingly very good (with the custom soundtrack option) for a PSN game.
The Bottom Line on High Velocity Bowling:
High Velocity Bowling is actually a very worthy buy from the PSN. At $9.99 (seriously, the game is $9.99... not $10.00 or $10.55... If you put $10 into your PSN account you are left with a penny in your account after you buy this game.) the game is fun and has potential for a worthy sequel (with some online play). High Velocity Bowling does take a bit to get used too in terms of how you bowl, but once you get it down the game is very fun and it is something you can always go back to and try to get that perfect 300. High Velocity Bowling is about a 550 MB download. A very worthy buy for your Playstation 3 system.