Polar Bowler is the latest mobile game from WildTangent Studios for Android and iOS. It stars P.B the polar bear and J, his penguin pal who have apparently been around since 2004 (we’ve never heard of them either!). PB likes to wear sunglasses and brightly coloured Hawaiian shirts.
Polar Bowler is a strange cross between ten-pin bowling and Angry Birds. The game features 75 levels for you to conquer each with the familiar setup of 3 stars to earn. Your aim on each level is to hit a certain number of pins by firing P.B across a level using a slingshot. The twist is that P.B is sat in a rubber ring, known as a tube, and instead of firing him into the air you shoot him across ice.
Rather than just 2D graphics the game is fully realised in 3D. When you choose a level you are presented with a fly-through where the camera moves around the level to give you an idea of where all the pins and obstacles are. You can also view the level from above in a free-look mode allowing you to take your time analysing everything.
Before you start you also have the opportunity to choose the tube that P.B will sit in. The standard tube is the only one that is free and it’s just a basic rubber ring. You also have the option to swap it out for a premium tube that you own or purchase one at a cost of 500 coins.
The game also gives daily crate rewards based on how many consecutive days you play. A pack of 5 crates can also be bought for $0.99 in which you can be rewarded with a random premium tube.
Premium tubes are the key to earning all the stars and beating many of the levels. There are 10 different tubes on offer each with their own special ability and custom costume for P.B. Examples are a rocket tube capable of travelling faster and further, a magnet tube that can attract pins, a tube with bat wings that can fly over obstacles and even one with lasers.
If you’re feeling flush coins can be bought with real money in packs of various sizes. They start at 3,000 coins for $0.99 up to 1.5 million coins for $99.99. We can understand people who really like the game buying a small pack of coins but the prices for the larger packs are insane.
One you’ve chosen a tube then you pull back on your slingshot to fire P.B and his tube across the ice. You can turn the slingshot to aim and also steer him once he’s on his way. It’s important to avoid obstacles, collect items and stay on the ice until you reach the pins that you’re targeting.
If you’re in a premium tube then you can activate its power whenever you like. Obviously it’s important to use it when you need it though. If you don’t hit the required number of pins before your turns run out then you need to start again.
The game is fun in short bursts but that soon fades when you realise that the key to winning lies with the premium tubes. Unless you’re prepared to drop a decent amount of cash on the coins then the game quickly becomes impossible.
Polar Bowler is a decent little game that is sadly spoiled by the microtransactions. We feel that the developers will soon realise that players aren’t prepared to pay so often for a mobile game. To make matters worse Polar Bowler is also a paid app. It’s only £0.69 but that means that players don’t even get to try before they buy.