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Every Wii bowling game will inevitably get compared to the Wii Sport version of bowling, and that is only fair because that is a well done video game.
AMF Bowling World Lanes is a Wii video game made by Vir2L Studios, and it is a bowling game with a few interesting twists to it. Although this particular AMF Wii bowling video game falls short in some areas compared to other games, it is still a lot of fun to play.
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Of course the main game plot to AMF Bowling World Lanes is bowling, but Vir2L comes up with some very different spins on the game of bowling that can make this particular video game a lot of fun for many hours.
This game does not take place in your standard bowling alley, and you are not asked to pick characters from a traditional list of bowling video game characters. There are several settings on AMF Bowling World Lanes to choose from, and not a one of them is a regular bowling alley. You can choose to bowl in a Scottish castle if you like, or on a space station in the middle of outer space. It is a lot of fun to find yourself bowling in the middle of an English soccer stadium, and the graphics help add to the effect.
The characters are none of your typical bowling characters. You have a Scotsman in a kilt, an Italian ladies man, a female Russian spy, and less than convincing magician complete with his own cape. They all have their own catch phrases, and it is an element of variety that makes AMF Bowling World Lanes fun to play.
You also get the chance to choose the look of your ball which can vary from a soccer ball to something with huge eyes all over it.
There are single player games where you can play against the Wii, you can decide to just practice by yourself, or you can get involved in a tournament against other computer generated opponents. There are several multiplayer games as well, and you can play with up to four players.
There are some specialty games called mini games that put obstacles on the lane, or force you to throw the ball at a particular speed in order for your shot to count. These games seem a bit boring until you realize that you can use them to learn how to better control your shots.
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Anyone that has problems getting the Wii Sport bowling game to sometimes cooperate with your controller movements, like me, will have the same problems here.
The only other difference is that it is not nearly as easy to put a spin on the ball with AMF Bowling World Lanes as it is with other Wii bowling video games. You just need to spend time with it and get used to the way you need to snap your wrist to get the ball to do what you want it to do.
Another issue I have with the game play is that the lanes seem too short. There is no gradual movement from your hand to the pins as there is in other Wii bowling video games. These shots seem to happen way too fast, and that can take some of the fun out of it.
The transition between multiple players can seem to take hours. The graphics on this game are quite involved, so it needs to take time loading commands in-between players. You can press the A button all you want, but you will be stuck waiting until the game is ready.
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Graphics and Sound
The graphics on AMF Bowling World Lanes are outstanding. The characters move smoothly, there is a shine and a glare everywhere you would expect it like on the alley and on the ball, and the scenic views are awesome.
The one thing Vir2L did not skimp on during the development of this game was the graphics.
The sound leaves a little something to be desired. The sound of the ball making contact with the pins sounds like someone dropping some wooden spoons on to a kitchen floor. It does not sound like bowling at all. The roll down the alley is adequate but, as was mentioned before, much too short.
The characters all have their little sayings and they are funny the first few frames, but they feel the need to say something after every single shot and the same phrases repeated constantly can get annoying. I always wondered why Wii game developers never try to put more chatter in sports games than just a few canned phrases.
The graphics definitely make up for the short-comings in the audio, but a little more work on the audio could have made this game rival the Wii Sport bowling game.
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The Final Word
For its variety and ability to put a game of bowling in places I would have never expected to see it I give AMF Bowling World Lanes a solid three out of five. It is a good Wii bowling video game, but it is not a great one.
It offers enough variety to make it fun more than once, but it is not the kind of bowling video game that you will want to play for hours on end.
I compare all Wii bowling video games to the Wii Sport bowling game and this falls short because of less than desirable audio, and because of the way it shortens up the game play. Part of the fun of a bowling video game is watching the ball roll down the lane towards the pin, and AMF Bowling World Lanes cuts that experience woefully short.