Skee-Ball for Prizes
Skee-Ball for Prizes is a perfect example of how outside-the-box thinking can overcome questionable source material to create something compelling...
Skee-Ball for Prizes was a pleasant surprise, for me. The mobile gaming space seems to have a lot of tolerance for really, really bad titles, and come on... this is skee-ball. It could have been truly awful. Through genuine creativity and ingenuity developer Infospace has managed to create a skee-ball experience that's fun, surprisingly varied, and packed with replay value.
Skee-Ball for Prizes offers up a dozen standard gameplay variations across three unique skee-ball boards. One mode gives every potential hole a point value (2, 9, 11, etc.), and you have to come as close to totaling 52 as possible, with your nine balls. Another features 20 holes and gives you 20 balls, tasking you with coming as close as possible to sinking a ball in every hole. The other 10 options are equally varied, and although I did end up with some favorites and some a didn't much enjoy, I give Infospace lot of credit for thinking outside of the box and coming up with so many skee-ball concepts that work well.
Skee-Ball for Prizes' pass 'n play multiplayer options are also generously robust, with six unique modes included, some for up to four players. Most of the game's multiplayer modes mix strategy as well as skill, requiring gamers to sink specific holes to hinder their opponent or help themselves.
Gamers aim their ball left or right (to make the all-important bank shots) with the up or down arrows. The left and right arrows are used to change your ball's launch position. Shot power is determined by a natural-feeling meter that swings up and down. My only qualm with this setup is that where your ball is aimed is only displayed when you make a change to your aiming position. The rest of the time it's invisible. Sometimes I'd want to double-check that I was lined up perfectly, and have to move to do so, then throwing off my previously-perfect aim. It's a minor issue, however.
The game's "for prizes" element is accomplished via networked tournies. It was extremely easy to hop online and into one of the daily tournaments, but the rules and organization could have used some more explanation. There was no problem with network lag, being matched against an opponent, or anything else, tech-side, but it was a little unclear to me as a newcomer how the tournaments operate.
Believe me, I was as skeptical of Skee-Ball for Prizes when it came across my desk to review as you probably are now, reading about it. It certainly isn't fair to compare it to some of the big action/adventure titles currently being developed for mobile, but it's a bigger and more enjoyable experience than I thought skee-ball could be.
What's Hot: More skee-ball variations than I knew were possible. Opportunity to win prizes.
What's Not: Aiming could be more clear. It's still just skee-ball