High Velocity Bowling
feels like an attempt to show up Wii-Bowling
in that it can use the motion sensor aspect of the SIXAXIS controller in order to determine how fast and when you are throwing the ball. While the positioning of the controller feels much more like holding a ball than the Wii-mote does, it also puts some controls in slightly awkward places that are hard to handle.
You hold the controller vertically and on its side so that your pinky and pointer fingers rest on the (L2) and (R2) buttons, your ring and middle finger wrap around the front of the controller and your thumb is positioned above the (X) or Down button (depending on whether you are left or right handed). Confused yet? You might want to actually pick up a controller and try holding it like this first in order to get the feel for it. Like I said, it does sort of put your fingers in almost the right place for holding a bowling ball, and yes, it feels just as awkward as it sounds.
Before you lob the ball at the pins, you must position yourself in front of the lane. This is done by tilting the controller left or right to move your character across the lane. Tapping (X) or Down (again based on your handedness) lets you then input the angle. Using the same tilting motion, you change the angle of the throw - tap the accept button again and you are ready to throw your ball. Much like normal bowling, you pull your arm and the controller behind you so that it is now upside down. You will see your character pull back the ball. Then swing your arm forward as if your were throwing it (just don't actually let go) and the game registers the amount of speed and power you put into the throw and displays it on a meter to the right of the screen - if you hit the green, then you have achieved optimal speed.
Now the spin; I was quite a bit disappointed in this aspect of the controls, and this was also the hardest part to get used to. I fully expected the controller to register the way I move my hand as I swing my arm and translate that into an appropriate spin, much like Wii-Bowling, but High Velocity Bowling requires you to hold down one of the secondary shoulder buttons in order to put a spin on the ball (which button depends on which direction you want to spin). Mind you, these are the trigger-like buttons on the SIXAXIS and they have a wide analog range. Holding the button down halfway puts less of a spin on the ball than holding it down all the way. What makes this hard is that you have to essentially lock your finger in place while you rear back and throw the ball. If you let go or change your pressure on the button at all before you swing your arm forward, you will get a different spin than you were going for. I found it really hard to spin the ball to the left because that is the direction controlled by my pinky, obviously the weakest of my fingers. I will say though, once you get the hang of this and start to use it, the game becomes a lot easier and much more manageable.
Since High Velocity Bowling isn't an expensive game and it fits very much into the console casual genre, it might very well be worth looking at for anyone who wants a more authentic bowling feel (at least as far as the controller scheme is concerned). If you just want to see a different way to handle motion sensor-based bowling, it might also be worth a trial, but I don't know if it should go beyond the demo download if that is you're only reason.