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Downhill Bowling

  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (78 votes)
Comments (40) | Views (5,403)

PsychotronicDownhill BowlingAsk a 5-year-old how to make bowling more awesome, and you might get a response like this: "Okay, it's like reg'lar bowling, okay? But it's on a volcano. And the ball is rolling down so fast it's on fire! And then the ball learns to fly! And then the ball gets really big and then it gets really little and then it rolls into a tree trunk and a raccoon throws it way up in the air! And the raccoon's brother rides the ball in the air because he can steer it because he is a smart raccoon. Shoot the ball out of a cannon! And that is how I would make bowling more awesome."

Sounds pretty fun, right? You bet your sweet bippy it does. But miraculously, that's exactly how Downhill Bowling plays. Every level starts you at the top of a mountain and lets you hurtle to the bottom, collecting strings of coins for points and toppling sets of pins arranged in traditional triangular formation. Steer left and right with the [arrow keys] and press [space] to use power-ups when you find them.

Downhill Bowling runs on the Unity browser plug-in, which you should already have if you played Off-Road Velociraptor Safari or anything else from the 2008 Unity Awards. If you don't have Unity yet, this is a great excuse to finally download it (the game will link you to it directly). So far, it's a better platform than Flash for great 3D games like this.

Analysis: Downhill bowling is an amazing concept, and GameResort has implemented it with style and whimsy. You get 10 well-designed levels with a solid assortment of alternate paths and challenging pick-ups. You get five checkbox achievements for each level, for added replay value. You can play for either the best score or the best time, and compete in the online leaderboards for each. It's great value for your money, and since this is a free game, that means infinite value and possibly eternal life.

Downhill Bowling plays well, but it would play even better if there were an option for mouse control. The binary on-off nature of the keyboard controls doesn't let you make fine adjustments easily, and downhill racing games like this are all about fine adjustments. I also had issues with the cannons, which can be aimed very precisely; but usually the target is so far away, it's borderline impossible to make an accurate shot. Plus, it's a 3D game, and occasionally the camera just flips out and buries itself in a mountainside.

Don't let any of that stop you from trying it, though. Downhill Bowling is pure fun, a game from a parallel universe where we all walk around on candy cane stilts and bowling is a cross between Mario Kart and cheese rolling. This is my advice for game designers: if you want to improve something, filter it through the mind of a 5-year-old, or remember how it felt to be one.

Play Downhill Bowling


I love the fact that you used "bet your sweet bippy" in the review.

...now I'm going to go play it.

fuzzyface December 8, 2008 3:04 PM

Meh! Non Linux Plugin :-((((

BTW: Who can ever assure harmless or not on a closed source plugin?

[Edit: Flash Player is not open source. -Jay]

[Edit: fuzzyface progably uses Gnash, which is. I'll stick with Adobe's for now, though. -FunnyMan]


"Who can ever assure harmless or not on a closed source plugin?"

I came here to say the same thing. I think that a substantial niche exists for a Free Software flash-like plugin, which is why it always amazes me why no one has done it yet. Also, this game is tagged as "macwinlinux", something it is not.


That was pretty fun. However I don't think I'll play it too much, if at all- it's one of those games that make me nauseous to play.

[Edit: Please submit game suggestions using the Suggest a game form in the menu above. Thanks! :) -Jay]


I really like this. I'm sick right now and I've been looking for a good game that's easy - but fun - to play. No storyline to follow, no puzzles to solve. Just good ol' fashioned fun.

This fits the bill perfectly and I'm sure I'll play it casually for a while to come.


FYI... a very similar concept to this was done years ago on the Nintendo 64. It's called Milo's Astro Lanes. It wasn't downhill, but it was bowling across many different playing fields... up hills, around bends, over gaps. And you had the ability to get power-ups along the way that did a bunch of different things.

Was a fun game. Made in 1998. Still have my cartridge of it.


A throrughly enjoyable game!

The physics is a bit suspicious, but still :)

fuzzyface December 8, 2008 5:04 PM

FunnyMan has said already. Flash is also pretty "decoded" by 3rd parties. Also so far it has been always every ones own risk when installing software. I'm just wary if 3rd persons start to guarantee harmlessness without having any look into the internals. yes I know, its nitpicking, but o well.


All right. I think that's fair. I can't absolutely guarantee that Unity is harmless, so I took that language out of the article.

But I think it's also fair to say that there's no evidence right now that Unity Web Player is malicious in any way.

fuzzyface December 8, 2008 5:21 PM

agreed! toootally :)


GAH! I'm at the screen where it says "press space to play". I press space. I wait. And wait. I press it again. Nothing. I hammer space. Nothing. I systematicly press every button on my keyboard. 'Elp?


It could be that the game is not the active part of the screen for you- what I mean is, click on the game itself somewhere. *Then* try pressing the space bar.


Same thing here, Wisedude. And I clicked on the game and pressed space, nothing happened.


I would really appreciate you or Jay telling us that we need an older version of Flash Player in order to play these games up front instead of us guessing second hand on our own.


Fun game, but the music is quite possibly the most annoying soundtrack of any game, ever.


Corona - Flash Player isn't required for this one, the Unity plug-in is, and it's identified right in the header of the entry.

We do our very best to provide you with all the information you need to play each and every game we post.


If you're having trouble, you might want to try the game in a different browser.

I've tried the game on three browsers. It worked properly on Firefox and Internet Explorer, but it stopped in the same place you guys are describing when I tried it in Google Chrome. I don't have access to Safari. I didn't mention Chrome in the review, because I don't think it's the primary browser for very many people yet.

It would probably be good if people having problems said which browser they are using. That will be helpful, if the developer is having a compatibility problem.


there was a old game that had a flintstones theme called "bedrock bowling". i think it was for either the sega cd or the orignal playstation. it plays a lot like this.


So I'm having a similar problem. It works fine until I start playing. I can hear the sound effects, and see the all of the text, but what are supposed to be the 3D images are just splotches of black and brown.

Note: I am using Firefox 2.Something with Flash Player 10. I was not prompted to install any sort of Unity Player.



That sounds like a different problem to me. Your Flash Player version shouldn't have anything to do with it. Is it possible that you previously installed an older version of Unity?

You can get the latest version of Unity here.

You might also try upgrading to Firefox 3.



I do have the latest Unity player, and I just upgraded to Firefox 3, and it still doesn't work.

This is what it looks like:


On my Mac in Firefox, it would beachball at the loading screen. After half a dozen tries I finally flipped over to my XP virtual machine (VMWare Fusion) and it ran okay, but it seemed a bit choppy - can't tell if it's the game or what I had to do to get it running.

And in the end the chop took too much away from the play to let me really enjoy it. It all became too much when I overshot the last frame and tried to find my way back to the track - with the chop it took forever and I couldn't always tell if I was moving or not...

Not exactly a spoiler, more of a tip, but I'll cloak it just in case:

If you find yourself off-track, you can get brought back to it by falling off a cliff. You'll be yanked back somewhere - not sure how the game decides where to drop you...


This reminds me of those old school bowling games at the arcade that had an actual bowling ball (mounted) that you had to spin to control it.


Well, if everything's up to date, I'm stumped for now. Sorry it's not working. I'll let you guys know if I find a solution.



what you say in your spoiler is surely true, but

sometimes it's not that easy. Once i had to keep rolling for about 2 minutes in a totally featureless "valley" that seemed neverebding. I was about to give up when at last i got to an abyss.

It was on one of the snowy levels.


Some spot in my brain is still eight years old. That's the only reason I can think of for automatically pretending this is one big bonus level for Sonic the Hedgehog. (Oh God . . . I'm dating myself! Quick! I need a pop culture reference from the last ten years -- STAT.)

Considering how well done the graphics are -- y'know, for a bowling ball hurtling down a mostly featureless set of hills -- it runs remarkably smoothly. No stuttering whatsoever, even on a system like mine that seems to regard anything made in the last year as space-age technology. Probably a game best suited for when you have someone boring on the phone who only requires half your attention, but damned if it isn't more than decent for what it does.

I've had no problems whatsoever with the player needed to use this game. It installed in less the time than it took me to blink, and while I generally tend to make faces whenever I'm required to take extra sets beyond "Click this link" to play a game. Comes from a sense of consumerism entitlement, I guess. Still, it's an unobtrusive little app that a Google search will tell you comes from a reputable company. Although if you don't hear from me again, feel free to imagine that my computer was overtaken by a hive-mind, sprouted mechanical limbs, and is forcing me to toil in some mine for personal information.

It's how I'd want to be remembered.


Requires installing something other than the game to play it. No thanks.


hi guys FYI: This does not work on Google Chrome! Bad Form Google, Bad Form.

Kimbo3311 December 9, 2008 1:00 PM

Same problem as tsoup- same image, and I also have the latest versions of both firefox and unity. too bad, I was really looking forward to flaming bowling balls!


Is it just me, or are the controls terrible? whenever I try to steer, either I get no response or I get an extreme overreaction that sends me way off course.


Well, turns out it WAS just me; or rather, just Opera. It works much more smoothly in Firefox.


I, like, just knew that I would love this game, but alas: that Unity Web Player crashed my browsers, both Opera and Firefox, like, instantly. Downloaded, Installed, and trying to load the game - crash! Uninstalled. Redownloaded. Reinstalled. Same thing. Bummer.


If you are having technical difficulties (graphics not showing, crashes etc.) you can contact Unity tech support at [email protected].

Minimum system requirements are:
On Windows, the Unity Web Player requires Windows 2000/XP/Vista.
On Mac OS X, the Unity Web Player requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer.

Google Chrome is not yet supported.


Could it be something with my graphics card, or the computer itself. I also tried with IE6, same problems.

Grant Thurston December 10, 2008 7:28 PM

I LOVE THIS GAME! I wish it was longer, or had more areas, but this is so much FUN! I hope it has a sequel!


Lately this game is hosted by GameResort and the link redirects there. But now I have bad problems with the sound. Before it used to play perfect. Now when the game itself starts I get sound repetitions in the music and the effects. I even downloaded the latest version of Unity Player, but the problem continues. During the game my CPU Usage hits the roof. Pity cause I like this game a lot.


Gameresort is the developer of the game, maybe contact them about your issue? I'm sure they would like to hear from you about it.

For what it's worth, the game seemed to play fine, along with the sound. (Mac OS X)


Thanks Jay, I am first making sure there's nothing wrong with my system and then I'll contact them.


Sorry if I've missed where someone has mentioned this previously, but this game is now available on the iPhone/iPod Touch. It's quite fun on that platform, just as it is on this platform :D. I remember playing this on PC and loving it then finding on the app store and I was like "Yay ^^".


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