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Friday, July 19, 2024

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Review: Skee Ball (Switch)

I don’t know why I expected anything else. Skee Ball is exactly what it sounds like: A Nintendo Switch conversion of the arcade attraction. It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that there are two kinds of indie games on the Switch. The first is the kind that has effort put into it, and the second is the kind that is just a glorified few-minute activity hastily put onto the store with an inflated price tag. Take a good guess which category Skee Ball falls into.


Boy, is this presentation bland. It’s not terrible, but it is so static it doesn’t look out of place from the era of Flash games. That probably isn’t something I should be saying about a game that costs TWENTY DOLLARS, but here we are. There are a nice amount of cabinet styles, I will give it that. If only they were more than just static renders. Everything feels mechanical, with no life found in the little animation there is.


The best category of the bunch, the audio department has a neat synthesized soundtrack going on in the background. There is also plenty of attention to detail regarding sound effects; each cabinet has their own variety of sound effects that play out in-game. Examples include the winter chimes of the Christmas cabinet and the electronic scoreboard of the default cabinet.


Throw the ball into one of several holes across the lane to get the highest score possible. If this sounds incredibly basic, that’s because it is. I know it’s easy to provide simple descriptions for even the most novel games out there, but Skee Ball does absolutely nothing to make the gameplay interesting. Have you ever played Skee Ball at an arcade before? Then you’ve played a superior version of this. Even taking into account this is just Skee Ball, it’s not the best game of Skee Ball it could be.


Once you figure out what angle and how much power you could put into a shot, you could score a good amount of points by abusing that position. Motion controls don’t appear to be a thing in this game; the developers claim Nintendo was rather restrictive with such, but then how did Schlag den Star manage to have motion controls as one of its own optional control schemes? Touch controls are at least present, albeit the motivation to use them is deterred by how much easier it is to score high with button controls. Still, I suppose it brings out the best of the game feel; it’s the closest it could get to actual Skee Ball regarding the motions and challenge.


Nevertheless, if you’re going make a Skee Ball game for the price of $19.99, it better be an amazing game of Skee Ball. Yet, this title isn’t even above the kinds of browser Skee Ball games I could find online for free. In matter of fact, this is actually a port of a $3 mobile title. Although the original’s in-app purchases seem to be absent here, they still kept the necessity to grind for tickets; to unlock any game modes or extra cabinet styles, you need to earn big amounts of tickets. That means a lot of games of Skee Ball┬ámust be played just to…get the privilege to play slightly different variations of Skee Ball.

In short, you may as well skip this one.

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