Developer: Freeverse, Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Flick your finger to send a duckpin-sized bowling ball up the ramp and into the holes. Tilt the phone to add spin after the flick. That’s it, but be prepared to do it a few thousand times a day. You can’t put Freeverse Skee-Ball down.
Skee-Ball is all about playability. There are great arcade sound-effects and music in this recreation of the classic arcade game. It also features fun “bonus” rolls, which give you extra points for bowling into the lit target hole.
You can unlock achievements, and you win tickets to redeem for an ever-changing assortment of junky virtual prizes – including custom balls you can use in-game. My shop currently features a stapler, an alarm clock, a silly wrist-band, a digital wristwatch, a watch with the traditional dial, a custom ball, a lollipop, and of course, a 42’ Plasma HDTV. To afford this last item, I’ll probably have to play Skee-ball for a full day or more.
Here’s the thing: I might just do it.
Skee-ball the arcade game has been around ever since drunken duckpin bowlers and drunken darts champions tried to settle bar arguments regarding their respective skill levels, then foisted the result on boardwalk arcades across the country. All right, I made that up. Skee-ball is also not an Olympic sport, because the Olympics are full of foreigners. Badminton took its spot. Regardless, the point here is that the arcade game is older than dirt but twice as much fun.
So it was a cinch that someone would replicate skee-ball on the iPhone. The charm of this game, therefore, isn’t ingenuity. The charm is its playability. It’s free of annoying glitches and slowdowns, it scores your efforts reliably, and it provides the same built-in reward system as the arcade version: tickets to spend at the redemption booth. The sound effects, graphics, rewards, and smooth functionality all add up to imitate the feel of skee-ball perfectly.
So grab your memories of cotton candy and sea breezes, and spend a few more pasty-skinned indoor hours and a dollar on Freeverse’s Skee-Ball. Just don’t plan to spend ten minutes on this game. It can’t be done.