Bowling is a fun way to spend your time in real life, and software from the likes of Nintendo has proven that bowling can be a fun and intuitive way to spend your virtual time, too. But while bowling is considered to be one of Wii Sports' more alluring activities, I'm afraid to report that High Velocity Bowling uses the PlayStation Move in a fairly clumsy and typical manner. If you liked this game before it was patched for Move, you're still going to like what you see and play. But a Move-enabled High Velocity Bowling simply isn't enticing enough to reel in most gamers who weren't interested the first time around, especially when sports-oriented games on the PlayStation 3 like Sports Champions use the Move in a much more artful manner.
When High Velocity Bowling was released on PlayStation Network back in late 2007, it was considered something unique and novel on Sony's newest system, fully utilizing the console's chronically underused (and rightfully so) SixAxis motion control scheme. Our reviewer liked it, but it was never a game that I wanted to download on my own. I had never played the game with or without Move, and when I tried it as-is, I found the SixAxis controls to be about as sloppy as one may expect. I only played it for a brief time to get my bearings on how it used to control before testing out how they intended for it to be controlled in the Move era. After all, that's what we're here to learn -- how does this game play when patched for Move?
While bowling in High Velocity Bowling, PlayStation Move is used very formulaically. As you would expect, the general idea with the Move here is to bowl with your arm as you would in a bowling alley. You don't have to run up to the line or exert yourself too much, which is nice, but at the same time this means that you're really only swinging your arm in an arc while pressing a combination of buttons to toss the ball where you want it to go. Lather, rinse and repeat.
Naturally, you'll be expected to hold the Move in your bowling hand. Upon pressing the Move button on the motion control, you'll be prompted to place your bowler where you want him or her to begin by pointing the controller. After that, you'll have to repeat the process as you aim the ball, controlling where you want it to go once released. You'll then have to hold the trigger to walk up to the line while arcing the controller with your arm and releasing the trigger to throw the ball. Some gamers might find this fun (such as a more casual crowd or those who enjoy bowling games or the real-life activity), but it wasn't much of a thrill for me.
As I played a few games of High Velocity Bowling with the Move control scheme enabled, I quickly realized that I was running headlong into a rut of predictability. But you can't really hold too much against a control scheme that takes a predictable (albeit fun) activity like bowling and translates it to a gaming console as best it could. Rather, what really took me out of the experience was how the game was telling me I was bowling wrong when I seemed to be bowling right.
When I took things nice and slowly, deliberately throwing the ball as I slowly approached the line, I would hit a few pins and sometimes get a gutter ball. But when I'd rush through the process and arc my arm wildly forward, part of the game screen would turn red as the game buzzed, scolding me for doing something wrong. Yet, time after time as I did the latter, I'd get seven, eight or nine pins, and even the occasional strike. What the game was telling me simply didn't make any sense, and after a few times of bowling well while the game told me I was doing something wrong, I was sucked out of the experience.
What it really comes down to is this: if you liked High Velocity Bowling the first time around, you might even like it more with the Move controller. And fans of casual sports games, bowling simulations or cheap downloadable titles with a degree of depth may find themselves interested enough to give High Velocity Bowling a go. But we're talking about a game that's three years old, and if it didn't interest you when it was released in 2007 with SixAxis controls, its Move-enabled form is probably not going to go very far in changing your mind about the game.
The good news is that if you really, really want a new game to play with your Move, starting with High Velocity Bowling is going to be your cheapest choice, and thus perhaps your safest as well. Just be warned that, if anything, this game is a potential television screen destroyer. Learn the lessons of the Wii and wear your Move's strap if you find yourself playing this. Begin to play, and you'll find out exactly what I mean.
And remember, if you want more in-depth impressions on High Velocity Bowling, be sure to check out our proper review here.
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