APP REVIEW: SKEEBALL FOR iPhone/iPod Touch by Freeverse Inc.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ON THE APPSTORE
The very first skee ball machines were put into operation in 1914.
Invented in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, the game was simple. Targets at the end of an inclined lane, and heavy wooden balls which the player rolls up the lane to try and hit the targets.
A Skeeball machine from around the 1950's and an early model variation from around the WWI era (1914-1918)
Fast forward nearly one hundred years and Freeverse has launched one of the most addictive and simple to play games on the iPhone based on skee ball.
Skeeball for iPhone/iPod Touch
The premise of skeeball on the iPhone remains the same. Players are given nine balls to roll down the lane and try and hit a target.
The main game board of Skeeball, showing a glowing target multiplier
Unlike a regular skeeball game, players may aim and shoot for bonus multipliers when a target is lit up. This increases your score by 1x, 2x. 3x etc and the higher your bonus the better your score.
A TICKET(S) TO RIDE
And like many other carnival versions of skeeball, freeverse has included a ticket system. The tickets are awarded at the end of a game and they may be redeemed for virtual prizes in the game.
Tickets are awarded based on points scored, so if you score more points, you win more tickets. You are also awarded more tickets when your multiplier is high.
Tickets will become your new obsession in skeeball for the iPhone/iPod Touch
Tickets quickly become the obsession in the game as they are tracked and uploaded to a global scoreboard (as long as you are connected to the internet via cellular network or wifi) and some items cost as much ad 80,000 tickets to purchase.
The most unrealistically priced prizes ever.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Graphically skeeball will not win any awards. Like most games by Freeverse, it offers bright, vivid graphics and great sound effects.
Slo-mo replay can be a neat gimmick at first, but feel frustrating later.
The slow motion feature for every last ball thrown can become tiresome at times when all you want to do is start another game quickly, but the game is solid in all other aspects.
Thankfully Freeverse has designed a simple user interface with near perfect controls. Balls are thrown by a simple flick of the finger towards the targets. The force used as well as whether you flick straight is taken into account for the direction of the roll.
Freeverse has opted to use a physics engine by graphics card maker nVidia. While there are tech reasons that this is a good move, the player only needs to know that the result is much more realistic ball movement and a different experience every time the ball is rolled.
Players also have the option of tilting their device to influence the way the ba drops, but I have thus feature set to off as I can't tilt a real life full sized skeeball machine, I feel this detracts from the realism.
For me replay factor of an iPhone game is very important. Most people who have purchased an app from the AppStore have had buyers remorse when they stopped using the app mere days (or even hours) after purchase.
Fortunately, skeeball is a game that will have most of us playing for days and days, constantly trying to top their scores and collect more tickets.
The game also includes some achievements to collect, and also online ties with the Plus+ service which can act as somewhat of an online community for games.
The Plus+ Community and in game achievements menus.
If you are a fan of any other casual sports title on the iPhone (the "flick" series of games, for example) then you need to do yourself a favor and buy skeeball.
For .99 cents it is one of the best investments my family has ever made in terms of a fun casual game you will not tire of playing.