New game by Astraware for Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC (QVGA)
Select your character to battle against international opponents, unlock new challengers and locations and display your special skills as you attempt to become the Ultimate Bowling Fighter. Choose from Ryo - the skillful Japanese warrior; Kelly - the all-American bowling heroine; Jose - the smooth Spanish hustler; or Maya the bootylicious Brazilian diva and challenge the others to a dual in the bowling alley.
Announcing the new game from Astraware, Ultimate Bowling Fighter! This polished new release features stunning graphics, excellent sound and, best of all, bowling! Seriously though, this game impressed me from first running it. Where some games provide an initial visual fest and then fail to deliver the well rounded and playable game we all crave, UBF manages to combine excellent graphics with an easy to get used to game engine and enough modes and settings to keep you playing for weeks.
After the compulsory splash screen, you are presented with the main menu from which the first stop should be Options to tweak the game. Why? Well because most of us will want to enable the full in game animations by selecting PG. Why PG? Well, the additional animations are described by Astraware as potentially too ‘racy’ for the very young and as a result the game will offer a parental guidance warning on selecting them. The graphics in question are far from offensive and I personally doubt this would be an issue (after all, how many of you are willing to pass your £200+ Pocket PC Phone over to junior and risk getting it back in pieces!?). Still, it’s commendable for Astraware to give the user the choice of toning down (or indeed turning off) the animations. Other options such as displaying a battery indicator during play are just a bonus.
Once you’re ready to play you’ve got a number of choices to make, you’ll first have to choose from the three game play modes. Solo game (a quick start if you will), Tournament (in which you pit yourself against the worlds best bowlers one after the other Street Fighter II style) or Multiplayer in which two players take turns to control their respective bowler. The next choice is which of the four initial playable characters (there’s one more to unlock!) you want to play as. Personally, I tend to choose the Craig David look-alike from Spain but that’s just me!
Finally you will need to decide which of two control methods you want to use. The first will allow you to guide the path and speed of your ball with the stylus and allows for more unusual shots. The alternative is a gauge form of control similar in a way to that used in some golf games. You press first to set your angle and secondly to set the power of the shot. By catching the gauge at full power you will activate your bowlers special hit: the ball will be released as a fire ball for one, an electric shock for another, etc.
One thing you will quickly realise is that this game is packed with attitude. Even the bowling pins have it, and as for the players, well, let’s just say this is an interesting bunch! When controlled by the CPU the Japanese player seems to use moves straight out of the Karate Kid, the American lass can bend them like Beckham (sorry folks!) while the Brazilian lass will convince you she’s heading straight for a gutterball only to hit those pins in just the right place to match your score.
Difficulty level is about right against the CPU. The tournament mode is sufficiently hard that you will take a few attempts at it before beating Boris (the Russian ‘boss’ you face in the final round) while the Solo mode provides a quick and easy fix for when you haven’t got time to focus on getting strike after strike. What is really fun though is taking on a human opponent in multiplayer, or for a different experience, playing against yourself in an attempt to drive up your scores.
In conclusion, this is an impressive release that shows off what the current crop of Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phones are capable of. It should be a worthy addition to any gamers collection and will provide entertainment when you most need it.
The release date for the Windows Mobile for Pocket PC QVGA version is 5th October. An announcment is expected soon of seperate VGA Pocket PC version and a Windows Mobile for Smartphone version. For this release Astraware are kindly offering a $5 discount off preorders. The deadline for preorders is Monday 3rd October so better hurry if you want to take advantage of it…
Visit www.astraware.com here for more info. To preorder visit here