For better or for worse, bowling continues to be the quintessential mobile sport. The timing-based gameplay typically used to simulate it is an easy fit for the mobile keypad, and the quick pacing is perfect for the average 20-minute wireless gaming session. Vir2L's AMF Xtreme Bowling adds nothing to the existing bowling gameplay formula, but it does feature impressive polygonal graphics that take advantage of the LG VX8000's spiffy specs.
AMF Xtreme Bowling lets you choose from several characters, each of which has been rendered in three "xtreme" dimensions. You also have a choice of a few environments, ranging from a pleasant jungle waterfall to a lane over a lake of fire. While the alley-surface texturing isn't stellar, the pins and models look sharp, which is what's really important. Furthermore, each shot is shown from several camera angles, which is a great effect that mimics the views used in televised bowling competitions.
You control the ball with several meters. The first meter sets your start position; the second selects your shot power; the third chooses the angle at which you throw; and the fourth sets the ball's spin. Having to deal with so many meters can make the game's learning curve a bit steep, and you'll need to experiment to find which shots work for which splits. This issue is compounded by the game's inclusion of only two difficulty levels. Most players will find rookie mode too easy and the pro AMF setting too challenging. Some online competition would have been a great addition here.
Unlike the trackball-based bowling games of old, in which you have granular control, mobile bowling games rely on strategy over skill. You won't often make timing mistakes, but you may sometimes choose the wrong shot settings. Xtreme Bowling's meters are pretty close to those of other mobile bowling titles, however, and are therefore manageable.
AMF Xtreme Bowling may sport some impressive visual chops, but it doesn't harness the audio potential of the VX8000. It's a given that rocking tunes aren't exactly par for the mobile bowling course, but it would have been nice to see the technological envelope pushed regarding all the relevant senses. You'll hear an opening ditty at the title screen, as well as the sounds of the pins falling onto parquet.
Essentially, Vir2L has given us the same old bowler and dressed him up really extravagantly. Adding a fresh look to some standard gameplay, AMF Xtreme Bowling is a good choice for VCAST subscribers.