Undead Bowling isn\’t your grandma\’s Wii bowling. Being the only M-rated bowling game I\’ve ever heard of, Undead Bowling takes the traditional bowling formula and adds in tons of blood, guts, gore, and zombies in order to make for quite an interesting experience. The game can be incredibly fun to play at times, but unfortunately, its lack of depth and minimal content can make Undead Bowling a questionable purchase at $6.99.
The premise is simple; throw a bowling ball at a scattered group of zombies. After the ball is thrown, players can control the direction in which the ball travels using the circle pad. This unique bowling gameplay mechanic allows for the route of the ball can be changed midway down the bowling lane. More experienced players can even master sharp turns, activated by pressing the “A” button.
Although the premise is brainless (no pun intended), the gameplay is a ton of fun at first. Taking out waves upon waves of zombies with a bowling ball is incredibly satisfying, and the first playthrough introduces the player to several different types of zombies and modes of play. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to go back to after the first playthrough.
The game features 12 levels, each of them different. You may be bowling normal zombies (citizens), super zombies (fat mob), or regenerating zombies (carcasses). The game also features 3 game modes. In Survival, players try to survive for 15 turns without being overtaken by zombies. Along those same lines, Hunt tasks the player with killing a certain amount of enemies. These two modes are the closest to normal bowling, but are still unique in their own right. The most challenging of the three modes is Combo, which requires the player to hit a certain amount of zombies for each roll taken. This mode requires players to master sharp turns and is the only sort of challenge players will face when playing through the game.
Unfortunately, after the first playthrough, the game begins to get stale. Although fun for the initial 90 minutes it takes to complete the game, playing the game for a third or fourth time can be an arduous process. What was once a fun mini game or a unique boss battle is no more; instead, the game becomes a grind. What is even worse is that difficulty levels are only unlocked after each playthrough, so if a player is running through the game pretty easily, they can’t access a harder difficulty until they have already played through the game once.
A few design errors plague the game as well. When killing zombies, often times the blood will scatter all over the screen, blocking the player’s view of the bowling lane. These red stains will render the game unplayable for a few seconds until the blood comes off, as it is virtually impossible to tell what is going on. Aside from gameplay flaws, the music is also horrendously put together. Although sounding pretty good the first time, the 3-song-long heavy metal soundtrack can get quite annoying after the second or third time it is played.
The developers should be commended for one feature, though: the stereoscopic 3D. Although unimportant for the vast majority of 3DS games, Undead Bowling actually uses the 3D mode to its advantage. Since players are looking upon the bowling pins (zombies) from a distance, the 3D really helps to tell which zombies are closer, and which are farther off. Quite surprisingly, when I turned the 3D off, I had much more trouble with the bowling.
Undead Bowling isn’t very deep, or very long, but it can be a blast to play for the first one or two playthroughs. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the game, players will find the title stale after the first few hours. The price of the game makes Undead Bowling an even harder purchase decision. Standing at $7, the game holds a heftier price tag than most of the other games on the eShop. Some gamers will have fun with the simple premise, but most others will be put off by its lack of depth and price.