Arcade Air Hockey & Bowling Review– Whowahw

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Icon Games Entertainment previously offered us Arcade Darts, a great mini clamped down by a suspicious control scheme. With their Air Hockey And Bowling, the controls are smooth and absolutely fantastic. Add the robust content, I’m not just talking about the fact that this is a 2-in-1 game, this game is hitting the right notes. And I tell you in advance that these are only a couple of things that make this game incredibly awesome.

The in-game graphics is good, the menu interface is better. Several of the minis out there don’t even pay attention to their menu interface but this game in particular implements an edgy and modern one. Opening the game for the first time, you’ll be asked to create a profile and choose one among a number of varied avatars to represent yourself, and after that it will be all fun.

The background music of the game is good, but there is something wrong. Some people may not pay attention to this however for me the music sets the mood of the game and if I hear a track fade and restart again in an awkward fashion it breaks my suspension of disbelief.

There is no Arcade mode, but you’ll have Practice, Season, Multiplayer and Exhibition. Multiplayer, as we all know, is a hotseat mode which can cater up to 4 participants. Practice, unlike Arcade Darts, is highly recommended. Well, the Exhibition mode can give you a low-level AI (for bowling) if you want to practice but it will waste your time waiting for its turn to finish. I’m recommending Practice vehemently because you’ll need to learn how to control your throw and manipulate the spin of the bowling ball.

For bowling, there are three variables to consider. First the position of the bowling ball, do you want it in the middle of the lane or the far corner beside the gutter? We all know in real life that throwing the ball in the middle of the lane does not necessarily warrant a strike, the game sees to it that it emulates that. After you place the ball, you’ll have to lock it in what direction you would like to follow (by pressing X you stop a fast swinging pointer). It doesn’t stop there since you’ll have to control your throw by pulling and pushing the joystick. The joystick phase will judge the speed and the spin of the bowling ball.

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For Air Hockey, you can choose up to three sizes of mallets: Small, Medium, Large. You can press X for fast speed and O to block the puck away. The latter instantly transports your mallet to defend the goal. Sounds like it will break the game? No, the mallet will be front of the goal, not totally blocking it. And in some cases you’ll be scoring for your opponent if you are too late or too early in blocking. There is a bug in the game when the puck is stuck in the corner. Four out of five, I can unstuck the puck but the AI, they can’t get the puck out of there.

Oh yeah, the AI. Part of the reason why I asked you to play Practice first is the AI is amazing. The low-level AIs are ridiculous, but the mid-level up is fantastic you must master the controls first. During my first event in Season mode (an air hockey event) I was pitted against a good opponent in the first round and followed by incompetent AIs in the succeeding rounds. The championship round, however, was a classic streetfight, it came down to the wire, 6-6 tied, race to 7 for the clincher. And I lost, and I accepted it, it was really a match not outright AI cheating. In the Season mode both Air Hockey and Bowling events are offered, the two are not separated, so you’re both an Air Hockey player and Bowler. By the way, the bowling part has INSTANT REPLAY. How cool is that? How I wish the air hockey do have instant replay also.

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There are lot of trophies to earn, not just by winning the event or taking over the rankings, but also by completing achievements (like winning 3 matches in a row). There are also several bowling balls, air hockey tables etc. etc. to unlock as well. I can’t really say anything else but whowahw-who-wo-wawaw-who-waw-wo-wo-wah-wahw(this is how one of the air hockey’s background music sounds like and it’s stuck in my head).

9/10


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Comments

15 Responses to “Arcade Air Hockey & Bowling Review– Whowahw”
  1. Takao says:

    Not going to lie, at first I was very much under the impression you were being sarcastic. So, I’m really surprised at the score.

    I’ve been itching for more hockey on the PSP since my UMD copy of NHL 07 died. So this might help fill that thirst while I cry over the fact that Take 2 created a new NHL 2K game that could easily run on PSP only on the iOS platforms.

  2. Jasper Nikki says:

    I must change my writing stance, I always sound sarcastic. LOL.

  3. thumbbandit says:

    When I saw this game on the up-comming mini list, I thought to myself “one to avoid”… so thanks to the review, it’s now one to get, defo. ;)

  4. richicon says:

    Cheers guys :)

    The European version is on the way – we are awaiting final Sony QA approval.

  5. pspgamer01 says:

    richicon are you a developer of the game? anyways that’s good! I am probably gonna make a vid of it (which will kina promote you game a little) so the people will know how it plays. :D

  6. Takao says:

    If I guess correctly, Rich is the Richard credit as the Studio’s head in the credits for the game.

    Jasper, did you find that when playing bowling that after you’ve let the ball roll, it’ll just swerve left right before hitting the pins? I’ve never actually went bowling so I don’t know if that actually happens, but if it does, why only a curve to the left?

    Air Hockey is alright, it’s air hockey. The AI level I used (which I believe was the Pro or medium setting, I’m not too sure) had some issues. Usually in regards to face offs, they’d often huddle against the net in a way that only one side was covered. Made for cheap goals, but I’m not complaining, haha.

  7. Takao says:

    *credited

    Ugh.

  8. Jasper Nikki says:

    @Takao, you can actually manipulate the swerve using the analog stick. And yes, I also find that issue in air hockey, but I also “throw” the puck my own goal when I’m placing it on the table. :)

  9. richicon says:

    Yep – I’m the owner of Icon.

    Regarding the bowling question – that is the spin control, immediately after bowling you can apply left or right spin on the ball, which kicks in near the end of the lane where there is little or no oil (in real life) – it is the lack of oil that then increases the spin and causes the ball to curve. This we tried to mimic as closely as possible.

  10. Raymond says:

    Fantastic games!

  11. volcane says:

    These sound like great polished games! Any word on when they’ll be released in the EU?

  12. kevin says:

    how do you throw the ball fast

  13. onmode-ky says:

    kevin, I think your best bet is to contact the developer (Icon Games) with that question.

  14. Which of the bowling games are better and more fun to play? This one or the one from EA, Bowling 3D? I am thinking this one sounds better but someone else is thinking the other sounds like it would be.

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