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Elf Bowling 1 & 2 – Nintendo DS

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 – Nintendo DS

51VfHKaVtfL._SX425_Platform: Nintendo DS

Developer: Black Lantern Studios

Publisher: Ignition Entertainment

Release Date: December 1st, 2005

Genre: Sports Compilation (Bowling/Shuffleboard)

Nerd Rating: 1 out of 10

0224 - Elf Bowling 1 & 2 (U)(Trashman)_12_17843

Oh man, I just knocked out a bunch of elves with a bowling ball, how hilarious” said no one over the age of five.

There isn’t much to really say though about Elf Bowling 1 & 2, because there isn’t much gameplay to actually play. Sure, it’s supposed to be a compilation of two games, but each takes about five minutes or less to complete and no matter how many times you hit Play Again nothing about the gameplay actually changes. Oh, except that the so-called “Elf Bowling 2” is actually shuffleboard….Shuffleboard.

In Elf Bowling 1 & 2 you play as Santa as he gives his elves a beating in one of two 5-minute long games; bowling in Elf Bowling 1 and shuffleboard in Elf Bowling 2. Besides working on stacking up a high score, there isn’t much to do besides that. Anything that might resemble fun has been stripped from this version of Elf Bowling to make one of the easiest, crudest, and lackluster Nintendo DS games I’ve ever played.

Woah, how come the DS version doesn’t promise any of these features?!

The controls are simple, absurdly simple. In order to throw the bowling ball in Elf Bowling 1 all you have to do is either tap the touch screen or hit A when the triangles on the bottom of the screen glow in whichever spot you want to aim. In Elf Bowling 2 you can actually move Santa around using either the touch screen or with the D-pad, but launching your elf uses the same “hit A when __ is glowing” mechanic as the previous game.

HAHAHAHA LOOK AT THE ELF’S BUTT!” said no one over the age of three.

The presentation of Elf Bowling 1 & 2 doesn’t get any better. With graphics that haven’t been updated since 1998 and sound that appears to have been recorded inside of an aluminum can, one can’t help but wonder what the developers were thinking. To clarify however, the game has about ten sound effects at most, all of which cut off too soon, while the rest of the game plays in complete silence. And there’s really no excuse for this. The Nintendo DS could-and DID-support some really fantastic music libraries, including that of Chrono Trigger, whose port is often considered the “Best DS game ever.” In fact, the Elf Bowling series spans at least seven games, all of which could have fit on a single DS cartridge, or have been switched out with Elf Bowling 1 & 2 for a better experience. Where this could have been a “bad” port, the inherent laziness of the developers have made it just “awful.”

The “Play Again” button had a habit of not working on my DS’s touchscreen….good riddance though.

When I first read up on this so called “Worst DS game ever” I assumed that the reviewers were simply over-exaggerating, as many do these days. I mean, haven’t you played a game before that was universally critically panned but still found a ton of enjoyment in it? Well, I have, at least….as a child I was really hooked on Turok Rage Wars and Turok 3. I mean, sure, both games were pretty flawed, but as a kid I got a lot out of them, and they even drew me into First-Person Shooters.

But with Elf Bowling 1 & 2 on the other hand, there is no redeeming quality about it. Elf Bowling 1 & 2 won’t get you interested in bowling or shuffleboard, it won’t give you the Christmas spirit, it won’t convince you to wear stretchy thongs, it will only make you angry that you spent money for a game that can be found free-with more features-on the internet. Sounds to me like Ignition Entertainment is up to give EA a run for their money in the “greediest video game publisher” category.

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 may have not been the worst game I’ve ever reviewed on the Bacon (that honor belongs to Maternity Doctor: Newborn Baby on Android), it’s definitely up there with the horde of Vivid Interactive 3DO titles, that one Barney game, the really awful Pac-Man port, and the many other pieces of shovelware that make up the Nintendo DS’s library. If I haven’t turned you off to Elf Bowling 1 & 2 by now, good, because it really is an experience…albeit a bad experience, but still an experience. In fact, if you don’t at least emulate and try Elf Bowling 1 & 2 on the DS once, you’re really missing out. Just don’t actually buy it, because you wouldn’t want to support developers and publishers who create shitty shovelware, especially shitty shovelware that was once freeware.

Written by Doc Croc

Doc Croc aka Kelly is Nerd Bacon’s Editor-in-Chief and resident narcoleptic. In the off-chance she isn’t already asleep, you can find her here at the Bacon!


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  1. I like this game

    • Hey, there’s no denying that there is sometimes enjoyment to be found in objectively terrible games. Glad you had fun with it 😛

      • @ChronoSloth: No, opinions are subjective, not objective. I may have disliked it, but that doesn’t make it definitively terrible.

        @Dorothy: What are your thoughts on it? Have you tried the PC version and its sequels? I’ve heard they’re pretty fun.


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