Published on August 12th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Smash Bowling 3D Review
Review Notes: A code was received for review purposes.
When the words “bowling” and “Nintendo” are used in the same sentence about a video game, it’s hard not to think of Wii Sports. For a game that was essentially a tech demo for the newly introduced Nintendo console, it did however set the bar quite high for a fun-loving bowling video game.
So, how does one bowl on a handheld console while still be innovative? It seems that Smash Bowling 3D might have the answer to that question.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS via eShop
Release Date: Aug. 8, 2013
Smash Bowling 3D is yet another title bearing the “3D” emblem on the glasses-free 3D console. However, the 3D effect does add a certain level of pizzazz to the experience. The game features quite a few selections of alleys in which to knock pins around, some even sporting outer space galactic battle scenes — although, they aren’t as epic as they sound.
The aesthetics of the game are pleasing. As stated, different graphics are available in various alleys. The more games that are played, and high scores achieved, the more variations in both balls and scenery become available. Trophies will notify players that new levels are unlocked, and also award them for other things such as most strikes attained in a row. On a side note, did you know that knockin’ down a strike four times in a row is called a Clover? Well, I didn’t. So, paint me all shades of informed.
There are two ways in which to conquer the 10 pins. So, the question is begged once again: How does a bowling game work on a handheld console?
The use of the touch screen was a near perfect inclusion to the game’s features. The adjustments are made with slide-bars as to what the trajectory and stance of your player/ball. Then, using the stylus, a path must be drawn fir the ball to follow. Completing that sends your ball-a-blazin’ on its waxed way. This method added a level of immersion to the game, however, it was a nuisance with the 3D enabled. This is what actually led me to the mastery of the button options.
The buttons do offer a mechanized feel to the game, but the difference can be seen in your ball accuracy. Meters prompt allowing players to push the ‘A’ button to stop the swivel in the right direction, obtain maximum ball speed or simply give it just the right spin needed. The accuracy was highly improved while not making it too easy with the use of the power meters.
In terms of the games physics, the experience did feel comparable to the real deal. This was particularly the case when taking down that infamous 7-10 split. Watching the trailer you will find that giving the right amount of spin and sending the ball down a bent flight path will allow you to pull a pin to take out that devious and challenging shot. Other times, brute force and a straight line can prove just as successful when lining up your shots.
While the game was fun at times, there was something missing from the overall experience. There are no characters in the game, for one — which doesn’t make it seem less appealing, even if there isn’t an armless Mii to make it seem like something was missing. On the other hand the music and overall presentation of each level did help bump the game up in the presentation department.
But still, I feel like more oomph would have been welcome.
For areas like the western level of Dusty’s Alley, it would have, as an idea, been a neat feature to have a lasso come out and wrangle up a strike symbol. Even busting out 10 strikes in a row would have been cool to have a space freighter blaze across the screen for areas like Thorium Alley. Something that would give your accomplishments more of a high-five via animated showcase. Instead, darkened scenes of bowling highlighted the immersive experience of space travel.
I can see where the consistency of the animation comes into play due to it being the same for each strike, but it does leave the level feeling a little flat. The celebratory prompts for these were actually fun and arcade-y feeling, but stopped there.
With each level sporting its own theme, there wasn’t much for music in the game. The slow-paced guitar plucks paints a scene fit for a lazy elevator ride, not a 10-pin strike down. It seems like there should have been an added song or tune for each level to make it that much more believable, especially with other lanes having games going on as if it was a real bowling alley.
The game did become addicting over the course of play. It was a challenge to beat old scores and your rewards can be seen via running statistics. These can be checked at the main menu and are part of your profile’s career statistics. Points earned, best game and number of strikes are among the various stats tracked.
There is no online multiplayer, so in car/couch co-op is where you’ll get your challenge kicks. It does seem like a feature which would have catapulted it past comparison of the Wii Sports version of bowling, but yet again, the final feeling of finesse wasn’t accounted for.
Smash Bowling 3D offers up some traditional bowling fun. There isn’t much to look at though, given there are only backdrops to levels and no robust sounds to keep the game moving. Even so, the control scheme for the game balances itself out with the use of the touch pad and the mixtures of buttons.
If you are looking for a good game to play while traveling, then here’s your choice. There is enough content to be unlocked with minimal playthroughs and time spent on it.
Summary: Smash Bowling 3D offers up some traditional bowling fun. There isn't much to look at though, given there are only backdrops to levels and no robust sounds to keep the game moving. Even so, the control scheme for the game balances itself out with the use of the touch pad and the mixtures of buttons.