"After building on the bowling mechanic we all know and love with a little bit more of a simulation feel, AMF Pinbusters! fails to deliver in every other department. The bowling alone simply isnít enough to sell itself, and when every Wii owner has access to a fast-and-fun bowling game by default, this simply isnít good enough."
Anyone daring enough to develop a bowling game for the Nintendo Wii will inevitably have to face off against the bowling component of Wii Sports. Unfortunately, AMF Bowling Pinbusters! doesnít prove to be a viable alternative. It canít decide whether it wants to be a simulator or a party-game, and ultimately it fails at both.
The bowling component is remarkably similar to Wii Sports bowling and, as such, it works pretty well. Size things up by adjusting the direction and angle of your bowl, hold the B-trigger to start your run, and make the bowling action with your arm. The motion-sensing holds up well, and virtual-bowling veterans will notice that AMF is more sensitive to spin. Unfortunately, this is the extent of positives it brings to the table. Although the bowling itself is pretty good, there arenít any interesting game modes. You can play a free bowl for one-to-four players (any combination of human and AI players) or a tournament, but considering there are no rewards for winning these events, youíve got no real incentive to play them. Due to the relative lack of AI ability (even on the highest difficulty setting), you donít even get a sense of accomplishment from winning. The real killer, though, is the sluggish pace of the game. Load times between games are moderately long and the bowling animation is drawn out (and not particularly pretty). Compared to the brisk pace any Wii Sports fans will be used to, AMF runs at a snails pace. A couple of uninspired mini-games, such as a billiards-style twist on bowling, try but fail to freshen things up.
If you were hoping for a good audiovisual package, you wonít find it here. Dull textures and jaggy edges make it look like a PS2 game, which is a shame, because a lot could be done with the venues to make them more exciting. You can play in destinations like Las Vegas, but for some inexplicable reason, the whole place is empty besides the bowlers. Speaking of which, the selection of characters are stereotypical and have annoying voice-overs. The Elvis-wannabe in particular will have you cringing every time he opens his mouth (not that the voices for the jock and the rodeo girl are impressive), and when your bowler isnít speaking, the wishy-washy and forever-looping background music will drive you crazy.
After building on the bowling mechanic we all know and love with a little bit more of a simulation feel, AMF Pinbusters! fails to deliver in every other department. The bowling alone simply isnít enough to sell itself, and when every Wii owner has access to a fast-and-fun bowling game by default, this simply isnít good enough.
Freelance review by Paul Josua (March 29, 2008)
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