January 24, 2009

Skyworks' iPhone Games Decrease My Need for Dave & Busters

The local Dave & Busters at the Great Mall in Milpitas can practically be called Chuck E Cheese for adults. Combine a sports bar with pool tables, and add a sit-down restaurant with rows and rows of arcade games, ranging from shoot 'em ups to racing games, slots and even simulation bowling, golf or boxing, and you start to get the idea. But no matter how amazing the graphics and simulation of some of the more top-line arcades, I have always found myself gravitating to a pair of old mainstays: Skeeball and Hoops. Both involve multiple balls, simplistic scoring, and the incredibly annoying feeling that you should do better, but you never quite master it.

As with practically all good things these days, Skyworks has moved both games to my iPhone, meaning I can now find myself rolling balls up the ramp in a futile attempt to hit the ever-elusive 100 point hole, or shooting ball after ball, and racking up the bricks.

The Familiar Skeeball In an Unfamiliar Place

Arcade Bowling, for a mere $1.99 will see you playing a lot more on your iPhone than 4 cheap 50 cent tokens at the real thing. The game offers two modes: Classic and Progressive. The Classic mode tabulates your 9 rolls, with points from 10 to 100 on each. The Progressive mode sets a goal of 200 points in the first round, and if you reach it, you go to the next round, and a new goal, as your points accumulate. Also, a fun wrinkle for Progressive has it so one ring is randomly selected for five times its point value - meaning if you need 130 points to get to the next round and the 30 point ring is flashing, you've got to be precise.

You Can Score Big Points in Progressive Mode

Arcade Bowling eggs you on as you make trick shots, saying "Nice Shot" or admiring your "Mad Skillz". It's a trip. And no matter if you nail the highest score, you always want to play again now that you think you've got the hang of it. But you'll never be fully satisfied with a "perfect" game.

Arcade Hoops Basketball, also only $1.99 replicates the rapid-fire feeling one has when they have to make as many baskets as possible in a sixty second period. As with Arcade Bowling, you have the option for Classic Mode, or you can do Progressive, which moves the basket forward and back, giving you the chance to nail some long-range shots for 3, but largely making you feel like a dork as you swipe your finger up and down the iPhone repeatedly.

Make All Your Shots Before Time Runs Out

Dave & Busters still trumps the iPhone when it comes to delivering healthy portions of unhealthy food, so until the iPhone can add to my waistline and not just hang on my belt, it does have that advantage. But when it comes to games, I'm finding I can leave the D&B behind.