Tuesday 28 July 2015

Nester's Funky Bowling (Virtual Boy review)

Developer: Saffire Corporation
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1996

Nester's Funky Bowling was only released in North America & features a character from Nintendo Power magazine's comic section.

The game supports 1-2 players and you can select from either Bowl, Practice or Challenge. In Bowl mode you play a single game by yourself or versus a friend; in the latter the person with the highest score after ten frames is declared the winner. You can select whether you'd prefer a left or right-handed bowler as well as being able to choose the weight of your ball (from 8-16 pounds). The in-game controls are simple as the d-pad moves your bowler while the A or B buttons activate the spin and power meters. Unfortunately you can't change the angle of your bowler beforehand. The animation slides at the back of the alley are entertaining and there's enough of them that they don't become monotonous. The action plays well but without a computer opponent in single player it's not particularly engaging. The only thing to play for is a high score but even these aren't saved to the cartridge. In Practice mode you can set up the pins in any order or choose an existing template which enables you to try out different shots. After three throws you can then reorganise the pins. It's unlikely that you'll spend much time in here unless you really want to master a specific scenario. The animation graphics are also switched off here so it's boring and lifeless. In Challenge mode the computer pre-selects certain pin positions and you're tasked with knocking them down over ten rounds. It's a good place to hone your skills but it's over too quickly; it would have held my attention longer if it was more substantial with different skill levels and missions. The in-game music is very nondescript and seems like it was only added as an after-thought. There's also a few bits of speech but the announcer is less than enthusiastic!

Nester's Funky Bowling is a lazy, bare-bones game that gives you little incentive to play after the first five minutes. If it had a Tournament mode or mission-specific challenges it would have gone a long way to compliment the solid bowling action but unfortunately it's too light on content to really be worth your time.

Random trivia: This was the second-to-last game to be released on the Virtual Boy before it was discontinued; the last game was 3-D Tetris.

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