Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2
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Skee-Ball 2 makes it feel like it’s 2009 all over again, what with me being addicted to Graveck and Freeverse’s Skee-Ball again. Just the other day I was wondering if we would ever see another entry in the series, and well, here we are!
The goal is simple: swipe upward to roll a ball into one of the seven cups. Each one is worth a certain amount of points, and higher point ones are riskier shots. This time, a token system is used to enable short-term boosts, like a point doubler, multi-ball, or a shot repeater. High scores earn tickets, which can be spent on trinkets like new player icons, new balls, and new ramp designs. Oh, and there’s an asynchronous multiplayer mode that pits players in a best-of–3 competition. There's a fine balance of play here: the home player gets to use their customized court design but has to go first, so the visiting player gets to strategize their token usage based on what their opponent did. It's a basic mode, but it provides a great change of pace, and a way to throw down with friends.
The ball-rolling mechanic is pretty much unchanged from back when it was introduced in 10 Balls 7 Cups (which still has the best iOS game trailer ever), but years later, it’s still as fun as ever. The touch controls to swipe and then tilting to adjust the ball in midair work extremely well, and it's just so simple to keep doing it over and over. Thanks to the challenge of trying to get high scores, and the precision needed to hit those 100 point cups, the game just does not get old. I still get suckered in to playing this for way too long at a time. Send help.
Yes, the tokens are an implementation of modern mobile gaming monetization, but they’re handled well. They can be earned for free by scoring in the glowing cups. They do come in handy during multiplayer, especially when going second, to try and get the advantage over one’s opponent. Thankfully, the game is also modern in that it is a universal app and syncs up data between devices. No need to lose tickets just because I wish to ball some skees on the iPad instead of the iPhone. Freedom!
What Skee-Ball 2 proves is that there are some gameplay mechanics that are timeless. This game is just as incredibly fun in 2012 as it was in 2009. Welcome back, Skee-Ball. It’s been too long.