Version tested: Wii
Hello, readers. Welcome to the latest in our series of Wii Roundups, or as I'm campaigning to have them rebranded, Why Roundups. As in, why did anyone make these games, why would anyone buy them and why do they always land on my desk? The pile is now so big my desk resembles a stall at a jumble sale. If I half-close my eyes I can believe I am in a church hall, surrounded by clothes that smell of sick and dead people's jigsaws.
Or sometimes I pretend I am a princess locked in a dungeon by a mad wizard, forced to chew nugget after nugget of dragon excrement until I crack a tooth on a single tiny diamond. I suspect my imprisonment will last for centuries.
So what's in store this month? There's a contemporary Sonic the Hedgehog game which is as good as most other contemporary Sonic the Hedgehog games, a pisspoor bowling "sim" and some rubbishy old Star Trek tat. Plus two Japanese fighting games I barely understand and care even less about. Let's go!
AMF Bowling Pinbusters
Ah yes, because the Wii could do with another bowling game. It's not as if a perfectly adequate one comes bundled in the box with the console. And it's not as if the other bowling game already released for Wii wasn't spectacular fun to play and well worth the money. OH WAIT.
At least this one has AMF stamped on the box - you know, as in AMF Lewisham, South-East London's premiere bowling venue. I have been to AMF Lewisham many times. As a general rule, the lanes are populated by knife-wielding children and mad people who shout at everything and attempt to pleasure themselves with bowling balls or pins, depending on gender.
Never have I seen the lanes of AMF Lewisham occupied by cowgirls, Elvis impersonators, "surfer dudes" or drill sergeants. Yet these are some of the characters you can choose from in AMF Bowling Pinbusters. You can't just play as your Mii of course, that would be ridiculous. There's also a Latino whore and a gangster rapper, which is a bit more like it, but the realism ends there as the rapper says things like "Mmm, I'm just doing my thang" rather than "Why even lie I know you've got a pay-as-you-go voucher in your bag give it."
Having selected your character it's time to get to grips with the control system, which isn't hard as it's exactly the same as that in Wii Sports bowling. The ball physics, however, are much worse. The sound effects are hilarious. "Effects" is a bit generous, in fact; "A single and endlessly repeated recording of a man throwing a marble into a sink" would be more accurate. The characters' endlessly repeated exclamations ("Whooooo!" "Duuuuuude!") will make you want to take the batteries out of the Wii remote and stab them in your ears until things pop.
There are two mini-games. Pool Bowl is like normal bowling except you must hit an eight-ball positioned in front of the pins to knock them down. Obstacles is like normal bowling except you must avoid a cardboard box with AMF written on it. Neither of these mini-games are worth playing ever.
The tournament mode is utterly rubbish. Up to four players can take part but tournaments require a minimum of eight competitors, so the numbers are made up by AI characters. This means you have to stand around watching each other play against NPCs while waiting for your go. The quick play mode doesn't suffer from this problem, but who cares.
AMF Bowling Pinbusters is like Wii Sports bowling only several thousand times less good. The game mechanics are awful and the presentation is a disgrace. And with a price tag of GBP 19.99, it costs GBP 19.99 more than Wii Sports bowling. Which also comes with free golf, tennis, baseball and boxing games. Next?