(3DS eShop)

Undead Bowling (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Undead Bowling Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

Bowl or be killed

Undead Bowling isn’t the typical ten frames of bowling that you’re used to. There are no spares or strikes, no gutters or pins, and no fungus-laden shoes or hairstyles leftover from the '70s – but you do knock things down with a bowling ball…a bowling ball of doom, that is. And actually, “knock” isn’t an appropriate word; more like, obliterate. You obliterate things with a bowling ball of doom, and those “things” just so happen to be brain-hungry zombies. So it’s safe to say this isn’t a friendly game of bowling – this is bowl or be killed.

Instead of being up against ten inanimate bowling pins, the lane is populated with zombies that lumber closer and closer toward the screen with every turn you take. Not only will you need to bowl down as many of the undead as you can to succeed, but you must also stop them from getting to you and, well, devouring your brains. While doing so you’ll have the opportunity to link together combos, set high-scores, and even play a few mini-games that require that you topple all objects to advance.

There are four types of levels available – which basically just offer different variations of zombies to crush – and each can be played in one of three modes such as Survival, Hunt, and Combo. Survival will require that you last 15 turns without dying, Hunt has you defeating a set amount of the undead to win, and Combo asks that you link together a specific number of hits per turn. Survival and Hunt essentially play the same, and really don’t feel any different from one another; just keep anything from making its way to the red line and you’ll find success. Combo mode offers some variation, but it also comes with a steep difficulty curve when playing on the harder settings.

There is a tutorial “mode” – which consists of three instructional images – to help you get familiarized with the controls, but it’s almost unnecessary as the game only requires the circle pad and A-button to play. Just press left or right to line up your shot, A to release the ball, then simply steer and use A again when you want to make sharper movements. It’s immediately accessible to gamers of all skill levels, that is, as long as you can stomach the sight of a vast amount of blood splattering all over the lane.

Maintaining an agile sense of control over the ball will require persistent utilization of the A-button for tighter steering; the problem is this effect only lasts a few seconds at a time, so you must release and repress the button, rather than constantly holding it down. In most cases this isn’t an issue, but when playing the Combo mode on harder difficulties a skilful sense of precision is integral, and this control mechanic doesn’t always meet the demand. To say these situations were sometimes anger-inducing would be an understatement.

We did have other issues throughout our time with the game, mostly in the form of unexplainable detection inconsistencies. Sometimes we’d knock over zombies that we clearly hadn’t collided with, and on other occasions when we were the same distance away, the target would remain untouched. Luckily this works in your favour more often than it does against you, though it still kept us constantly guessing the hit radius of each enemy. There’s also a slot machine that is your ticket to the game’s few bonus stages, but its inclusion seems quite arbitrary as it appears to match three images every 4 or 5 turns regardless of your performance.

Also, in this day and age it’s baffling that a high-score-setting game would lack online leaderboards. This omission instantly diminishes replay value and leaves very little incentive to conquer any of your high scores. You can’t even enter your initials to brand your personal bests, so if you’re looking to pass the game off with a friend or family member, good luck remembering who owns those lofty digits. It’s such a necessary part of a game like this, and it would add a substantial amount of replay.

And yet for all of the shortcomings and oversights, Undead Bowling is still a decent game. The production is satisfactory, controls are intuitive, and things are weird enough to be entertaining. Sure, it’s not heavy on content, nor does it offer much depth in the way of gameplay, but more often than not we found ourselves unexpectedly enthralled by its chaotic sense of action. This is bloody arcade bowling that’s meant to be a time killer, more than a main focus in your free time.

Conclusion

If the absurdity of slaughtering hordes of zombies with a bowling ball sounds like it would be right up your alley, Undead Bowling may be worth shedding your spare dollars on. It might not be a perfect, and we understand if it initially strikes you as shovelware, but there really is some simple, appropriately brainless fun to be found here. Lack of leaderboards, relatively minor control issues, and an overall shallowness are what keep this from being a surefire recommendation. Even though this zombie may be lacking a few limbs, that doesn’t mean it’s not capable of feasting on many hours of your life.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (31)

ogo79

#2

ogo79 said:

well...
one of those zombies in that pic gave it 2 thumbs down...

Undead_terror

#3

Undead_terror said:

I will get this when it goes on sale, I will be killing my comrades, but it will be worth it!

Gioku

#4

Gioku said:

@ogo79 lol, nice find! :D
Although, the zombies obviously dislike this game, since they're the ones getting killed... although, as compensation, they could possibly win...

Dpishere

#5

Dpishere said:

I too am baffled that there are no online leaderboards in a high score chasing game such as this. There are quite a few good high score focused games on the E-shop and I have yet to get one just because of this simple reason. For me, no online leaderboards = no purchase.

Mk_II

#7

Mk_II said:

killing zombies with bowling bowls? somebody stop this planet, i want to get off

DerpSandwich

#8

DerpSandwich said:

Downloaded the demo expecting shovelware, but it's surprisingly fun. I probably won't buy it, but I won't be surprised if I find myself returning to the demo a few times in the future. If they added more modes and variety I think they could have a pretty good game on their hands.

BlueNitrous

#11

BlueNitrous said:

This game seems like it might be a good way to waste some time; but there is just too many other and better games on the eShop that I still want to get. Plus, $7 is outrageous for the amount of content it comes with. Maybe if it was on sale.

DRLAdmin

#12

DRL said:

@Le_Wario26 Yeah, that's the biggest problem. Had the game been $4.99, it would've been a much easier recommendation. If you're solely looking for something commitment-free, that will keep you entertained for short amounts of time, then this is worth consideration. If not, there are plenty of GREAT downloadable titles for comparable prices that should absolutely be purchased before this one.

DeathlyDarkness

#14

DeathlyDarkness said:

Waiting for a sale, as is pretty much the general consenus.

Played to demo, had alot of fun, but the price is just a bit too high. Only Guild games get my money at that price. Unless it's retail or has lots of content.

Ukulele_Wizard

#15

Ukulele_Wizard said:

I actually really enjoyed the demo and I'll probably pick this up of there's a price drop. If there isn't one within the next couple of moths, I may pay full price for this. This seems like a game I could easily see myself playing when on some form of transportation or right before I go to bed if I'm bored.

RR529

#17

RR529 said:

I may eventually get this to support Japanese eShop games, but it's definitely far down my list, with how far behind I am in eShop games.

Goginho

#18

Goginho said:

Jeez, overkill much?! Mortal Kombat style lol :D I'm jealous of Mr. Bobby's teeth though.

Spoony_Tech

#20

Spoony_Tech said:

I'd say 5 or 6 is about right. It looks good and plays alright but its just limited. Sale for me as well maybe.

Windy

#21

Windy said:

If this would have had Online Multiplayer play I would pick it up in a heart beat! Another great Candidate for online play goes to waste. I might pick it up it does look good for a laugh. Will wait a bit to play some backlogged games I have

grumblegrumble

#22

grumblegrumble said:

A little too bloody for my taste. I'll pass, even though I love bowling games. Just doesn't seem right!

Dpullam

#24

Dpullam said:

At the very least I'll try out the demo. It could end up being fun, but without online leaderboards, I don't think I could warrant a purchase.

AyeHaley

#26

AyeHaley said:

All these fantastic weird games remind me, Wii U needs folders like 3DS. I didn't need them when I first got my 3DS but now I have over 150 games/apps/demo's on it so folders are very useful (though ugly and limited). And now it happening with Wii U...its menu is getting more crowded by the day and folders are needed stat.

MeloMan

#27

MeloMan said:

I actually enjoyed the demo, as it was a pleasant surprise. I don't know if I'd pay the price they're asking for it though. A shame, cause it's seems like a good time waster. Maybe one day if I have NOTHING else to play, which at this moment will be no time soon.

idork99

#28

idork99 said:

Played the demo and had fun. I don't want to undermine the developers of this game but I also think the asking price is pretty steep. $2.99 would've been perfect. $1.99 would be an awesome automatic purchase. But $6.99?! No thanks.

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