Rocket Bowl Review

Take a videogame style miniature golf course, replace the grass with polished wood planks, the holes with pins, and the golf ball with a bowling ball and you'll have a pretty good idea of what Racket Bowl is like. So ask yourself how much time you've spent with miniature golf and bowling games in the past. Now think about how long games with dull level design keep your interest. If you answered those questions like I thought you would, then just take a pass on Rocket Bowl and save your Microsoft Points for something else. Those of you who are still with me out of morbid curiosity, please read on...

The bowling alleys in Rocket Bowl aren't alleys at all, but rather open 'fields' with undulating hills, ponds, and clusters of pins set in the familiar ten pin triangular arrangement. At the start of each frame your ball is placed at a set starting location and you can select the power and direction at which to launch the ball. Unlike bowling, you get three balls per frame, but no matter where the ball ends up, each shot in a frame begins from the same spot. Rocket Bowl gets it's name from it's rocket boost feature - while the ball is in motion you can press a button to give it a speed boost in one of three directions. You can use it to correct an errant shot at the last or to try to punch the ball into the pins with more force.

One of the features of Rocket Bowl's courses is that they are an open environment. You can try to knock down pins left over from previous frames or knock down pins from up coming frames - this latter feature seams inconsistent though, I've seen the ball bounce off of pins from other frames as if they were made of stone. The feature sounds cooler than it actually is, though. The levels are so large that it's difficult to see any pins other than those belonging to the current frame. Unless you have the level layout completely memorized there's no point in missing the currant frame's pins to blindly shoot for others. It would have helped a bit, too, if the game let you shoot all three balls for a frame every time. It would have been nice if you could use the extra balls as bonus shots to go for other frame's pins if you nailed a strike on the current frame.

In some ways, Rocket Bowl is an interesting idea, but any potential for fun with the concept is completely destroyed by the level design. It's surprising how many frames provide you with little challenge beyond dealing with a slight slope. And as I noted before, the levels are far too large, so most of the time your ball just rolls around and around doing nothing. The game grows boring quickly, which may be why all of the achievements in the game are designed to take hours and hours of play to unlock . Save those hours for a game you'll actually enjoy playing.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 50%. Rocket Bowl takes two relatively boring video game genres and creates an entirely new boring genre from them.