A couple of weeks ago we took a look at a teaser video for GameResort's Downhill Bowling 2 [Free], the sequel to the well-received Downhill Bowling [$2.99/Lite] that launched way back in January of '09. Earlier today, the game was released in the App Store as a free, ad-supported download. Downhill Bowling 2 has just about everything you would want from a sequel if you were a fan of the original game, but also has a few drawbacks that are hard to overlook. Still, it's a fun game that will keep you occupied for quite some time before conquering all it has to offer, and is worth a look.
The core gameplay in Downhill Bowling 2 remains the same as its predecessor. You steer a bowling ball using tilt or touch controls as it barrels down an outdoor course filled with all sorts of interesting obstacles and hazards. Throughout each course there are ten sets of bowling pins which you will need to knock down in between collecting coins, gems, and powerups. When you finally reach the end of the line, your score is tallied up based on how many pins you were able to knock down as well as how much loot you were able to collect.
It's a formula that worked well in the original Downhill Bowling, and comes with some enhancements in this sequel. The biggest addition is that you can now jump with your bowling ball, which allows for some more interesting level designs with various platforms and hazards which must be leapt over as you go. It almost feels like a third-person platformer at times, which is pretty cool. There's also some nice powerups you can grab which help you on your plight, like a rocket that boosts your speed or an item that turns you into a disco ball that doubles your collected points.
The game takes place in three distinct environments – Green Mountain, Wild West, and The Cave. There are 10 levels in Green Mountain, but unfortunately only one level each for the other two areas. It's obvious that GameResort will be adding additional levels to these environments, but it's still kind of a tease to only have one level in them currently. Levels are unlocked using coins that are collected during play, or if you are impatient, you can purchase packs of 1000 coins for a dollar each. The environments are much more lively and detailed than the original game, though sadly are not optimized for Retina Display. You also don't ever seem to gain as much speed in any of the levels as you did in the first game, which is unfortunate but just a minor gripe.
By far the thing I like least about Downhill Bowling 2 is the inability to disable the iAds. I'm all for the ad-supported model, but please give me a way to pay to get rid of them if I choose. GameResort has stated in our forums that they will consider this issue, as well as all other player feedback, for future updates. Aside from that quibble there is a lot to like about Downhill Bowling 2. Twelve well designed levels with Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements, and more levels in the pipeline. As a free download, it's definitely worth checking out Downhill Bowling 2, especially if you enjoyed the first.
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