Bowling videogames are definitely an acquired taste, but if they're done right, they can offer a good amount of challenge and fun. Bowling has a lot of subtle nuances in the sport that can be targeted in virtual renditions, and some designers have turned in some impressive bowling projects over the years. Ten Pin Alley
, specifically was a successful bowling franchise released back in the PlayStation and Saturn days, where it touted, for the time, some of the most realistic bowling physics in a videogame. Unfortunately, the sequel for the Game Boy Advance is used in namesake alone, and features none of the elements that made the original special back when it hit the market more than a half decade ago. It's a barebones, featureless rendition of the sport that doesn't even come close to providing a complete package...even for the budget pricetag.
Ten Pin Alley 2
- Eight characters
- Four lanes
- Practice and Tournament modes
seems to be a Game Boy Advance rendition of JAMDAT Bowling
released for pretty much every cellphone under the sun. In fact, though the GBA game's been developed by Proto Games, the copyright information credits Sennari Games, JAMDAT Bowling
's development team, for the use of technology in Ten Pin Bowling 2
. But where cellphone owners can get their bowling on for a mere couple of bucks, GBA owners spend a lot more to get a much less playable and way more glitchy version.
It's pretty obvious right from the start that Ten Pin Alley 2 was done on the cheap. The game's incredibly basic in its structure, only offering two gameplay options in its design: you can either practice with up to three other players on the same system, or head into an extremely loose tournament layout for competition against three other computer opponents. Players have the choice of eight different competitors and four different alleys, but that's everything that's in the game...unless you want to watch the Ten Pin Alley 2's credits over and over.
Ten Pin Alley 2's gameplay is a four click affair: first, mark the spot on the lane you want to stand. Then, watch the aim arrow bounce back and forth on the alley. Hit the button again, and set the power of the throw. The fourth button click sets how much or little a hook you want to throw. That's it. No adjusting for oil on the lanes or the amount of weight to the ball...the subtleties of bowling have been scaled back to its absolute basics. Well, except for one: the gameplay definitely changes depending on which of the eight bowlers you choose, but unless you look up their listings in the game's manual you won't know whether they're a righty or lefty, or a straight shooter or a curve thrower. The game's horrible interface fails to offer any sort of breakdown to what these players can do. Definitely a GBA game developed on the quick and cheap.
The game's pin physics, while not exactly thrown together, aren't quite what you'd call "clean." The physics engine is based on the overhead, spinning sprite engine of JAMDAT Bowling, so when a pin falls over it slides and rotates clockwise or counter clockwise depending on how hard and direct the ball hit it. This causes it to, hopefully, fly into other pins to knock them over...but the collision detection is so wonky and the sprite movements so spazzy that pins can actually go through other pins without contact. Results are entirely unfair simply because of the collision detection...the only consolation is, of course, that computer opponents are stuck with the same glitches in competition.
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