Features & Use
Samsung Nexus S
Android version: 2.3.4
Runs as of: Android 2.2
Permissions: Network communications, storage
Skee Ball is probably most well-known in the States. The gameplay is deliciously simple: balls the size of baseballs have to be rolled up a ramp. The last stretch of the ramp becomes steeper by 45°. There are several rings of various sizes located behind the ramp; you will receive points if the ball rolls into one of these rings, and the most points are awarded for the smallest ring. The ball then rolls into a hole and disappears. The biggest ring (20 points) is framed by a large oval (10 points). There’s a smaller ring located within the large one (30 points), above this one there’s an even smaller one (40 points) and another, even smaller one outside of the large circle (50 points). The smallest rings are located in the top left and right corners and are worth 100 points each.
You’ve probably figured out where the challenge lies: if you want to rake in a lot of points you have to take a risk and aim for the smaller rings.
There’s one more element to Ball-Hop Bowling: items! With each new ball you can collect items which ahve been randomly alloted to rings. There are three items in total:
- Excalamation mark: This item multiplies your score: one exclamation mark doubles the score, two tripple it, etc.
- Green ball: You get an extra ball.
- Violet ticket: You get a bonus of five tickets.
I’m especially partial to the ticket system. Tickets can be swapped in exchange for more balls or tables or in order to receive other rewards. Keep in mind, however, that you will score 15-20 tickets (and that’s if you’ve played a good round) and you need 5000 or even 10 000 tickets in order to be eligible for a table. It takes a lot less time to collect extra balls. WHat’s the master scheme behind all this? Tickets can be bought with cash – this isn’t at all necessary and you will certainly have a good time playing a few rounds without having to buy tickets.
Another cute feature is the flaming balls which appear once you’ve collected three items.
As previously mentioned, Ball-Hop Bowling is the kind of game that fun to play every once in while when you’re between things. It gets a bit monotonous if you play for too long, an affliction most arcade games suffer from.
Screen & Controls
The menu is designed quite nicely as well as easy to use. Ball-Hop Bowling has a great overall look and the physics behind the whole thing are quite realistic.
Speed & Stability
Okay, so there’s room for improvement in this department! Where to begin? The loading times are too long – it doesn’t matter what you want the app to do, it will take its jolly time. You want to open the shop? Get ready to wait because the app has to load. The game runs smoothly on the other hand, although I noticed an oddity at this point, too: the game becomes slower the longer you play.
Scrolling through the shop or the prizes is a bumpy experience at best, and Ball-Hop Bowling doesn’t always respong accurately when you hit a button.
Ball-Hop Bowling is available for free from the Android Market. If you’re tired of the irritating ads you can upgrade the app for EUR1,59 / US$2,25.