American Ball Brings Arcade Skee Ball to the Palm of Your Hand

Price: Free     Score: 7/10     By A. PapachristosAmerican Ball - Sigma Game Limited

Thanks to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, classic arcade games have made a comeback, bringing such games to the palm of your hand, no tokens required.  Now, with American Ball by Sigma Game Limited, users not only enjoy a good game of skee ball, but the tickets you win can then be used toward virtual furniture to decorate your virtual arcade room, putting a spin on the old-fashioned experience.

When you begin, American Ball will ask if you’d like to connect with Facebook, to which you may answer yes or no.  Once you reach the main menu, you will see an array of buttons: Start Game, More Games, Facebook Connect, and Ear Free Tokens.  Earn Free Tokens guides users to a page of third party application promotions.  If users install and open any of the apps that appear on this page, they will then earn the amount of tokens marked next to each application’s name.  Free apps reward you with fewer tokens than those you must pay for, awarding tokens according to the cost of the application you installed.  More Games, as expected, links to the developer’s site and their other available games.

To start, users will begin with a turntable that lets them choose to access their 360 Bar, Tournaments and Redeem.  Tap the checkmark, then the tiny start button at the bottom to begin.  Each game you play takes two of the 300 tokens you are initially given, giving you nine balls per game.  Then, just swipe upward toward the end of the lane like you would when tossing a regular skee ball.  The counter to the right will track how many balls you have left for the given game.  American Ball tallies your score at the top, while keeping count of your tickets in the bottom left corner and remaining tokens in the bottom right corner.

Once you’ve collected enough tickets, you may begin redeeming them for furniture to decorate your virtual 360 Bar.  When you connect to Game Center and enter online tournament battles, other players can actually come visit your 360 Bar and vice versa, making the gaming experience quite interactive.  And with over 50 3D collectibles to gather, your virtual game room is sure to look spiffy in no time.

Unfortunately, however, it seems that you will inevitably have to pay for more tokens once you run out.  Yes, users can use the Earn Free Tokens button to gather more tokens, but there’s always something odd about such free offers that makes me a little wary.  Considering numerous applications have been chastised for the way they trick users into spending money with in-app purchases, I’ve become cautious in all respects.  Of course, users are given 300 tokens to begin, but when one considers how few tickets they receive, plus how many tickets it takes just to buy a virtual rug, you’re going to play a lot of games just to decorate your room.  On the bright side, you’ll have a lot of fun doing it!  Despite any issues with tokens, game play is extremely entertaining and I only wish I could play an unlimited amount of games without having to worry about invisible, imaginary tokens.

American Ball [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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