In a world where developers are rushing to slap together games that might be the “next Angry Birds”, Bowling Wizards is one those games. Made by NextWave Multimedia Inc., the very same people who brought you such stellar titles as Street Cricket and Parking Escape, Bowling Wizards promotes itself as a Bowling game “with added twists and tales.” The free i-Phone demo gives a hint of what NextWave is promising. The “tales” part is represented by a long winded story about the Bright Lord and an Evil Wiz and their minions. Each of these wizard’s minions, the Bowlons (bowling balls) and the Pines (bowling pins), would spend their carefree salad days playing games together. Then one day the Evil Wiz says to himself, “The game developers say I’m an evil wizard, so I guess I need to do something evil.” So he locks up Bright Lord and puts a dark controlling spell on his own minions (I guess his minions where never all that cooperative.) Now it’s up to the Bowlons to free the Pines and Bright Lord by, erm, playing more games with the Pines. Apparently the folks over at NextWave have never heard of K.I.S.S. theory (Keep It Simple Stupid.) For example, pigs steal bird’s eggs, birds want revenge, or help the monster in the box get the candy.
So what about the “twists” aspect? Here’s where the game shows some promise. In the demo you get seven levels that introduce you to playing field and some of the tools. The object of the game is to use these tools, which I kid you not are called Bowlaids, to redirect and multiply your bowling balls so that they can hit multiple sets of pins. One Bowlaid can change your ball’s direction, one can double up your balls, and one Bowlaid can split off other balls into three different directions. The only thing that makes these puzzles challenging is the time limit. It can be rather difficult setting up your shots in the short span of time you are given. This is especially true on the i-Phone version, where it feels like you are using ham fingers to move and configure these rather small tools. And there’s no way to make this any easier by zooming in or out.
On seventh level a new Bowlaid is introduced that curves the trajectory of the ball, however, they never provide you with a playing field to use said Bowlaid. At this point I was thinking that I couldn’t really do a fair review on just seven levels. The game was just starting to become compelling but there were not enough levels to know the game would get any better or reach a glass ceiling.
So I paid the $1.99 (US) to unlock the full game. And what did I unlock? Ten introductory levels to a miniature golf game that plays nothing like the demo. There are no Bowlaids or multiple sets of pins. Instead you get large windy playfields with a limited amount of visibility and some gimmicky obstacles. Since you can’t zoom in and out there is no intuitive skill to this game. You have to use trial and error to figure out where to aim your ball and discover how the gimmicks react to being hit.
Despite its flaws there’s a hint of promise in Bowling Wizards. If you took all that there is currently in the game and made that a Free Demo, I would give it five out of ten on the Midlife Gamer rating scale. But if I were to grade the version NextWave Multimedia is actually asking money for, then I’m going to have to give it an “Incomplete”, which can only be numerically represented as a zero out of ten.
MLG Rating: 0/10 Platform: iOS Release Date: 22/12/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Bowling Wizards for review purposes by the promoter and the full game was then purchased by Midlife Gamer. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.