Skee-Ball from Ocean Media is an officially licensed game on Nintendo Switch based on the popular arcade machine. Learn more about it in our Skee-Ball review!
In Skee-Ball, you have three control options available to you. You can use the gyroscopes of the Joy-Con ever so slightly left or right to aim where you will shoot the ball. Then, while holding down the ZL button on the left Joy-Con, you can start from a neutral position to swing your arm back and then swing it forward to send the ball down the lane. You should always press the – button between shots to recalibrate your aim. You can also use the left and right analog sticks to aim the ball and send it down the lane. The final option is for when you’re playing in Portable or Tabletop Mode since you can use the Nintendo Switch’s touchscreen to swipe with your finger to throw a ball down the cabinet.
Skee-Ball has different gameplay modes, but only the first one is available when you start. There is Classic which offers a regular round of Skee-Ball in which you have nine balls in total to roll down the playing field to get the highest score possible. Call Your Shot presents you with a specific sequence to get a high score with the nine balls you have. Speedball is an interesting twist since you will have unlimited balls and two minutes of time to score as much as possible. Horse has you follow a sequence to spell HORSE, and you get 500 points if you score out of sequence, but you 1,000 if you score within the sequence – be careful since if you miss your points will be lowered by 100 points.
Along with the above, you also have Hangman where your goal is to save the hangman by following the sequence. Ring the bell has you aiming at scoring a minimum of 1,000 points with 25 available balls, with any remaining balls added as a bonus score once you reach the 1,000 points milestone. Countdown has you starting with 1,000 points, and that runs down to zero with each ball you score, but you can’t go below zero, or you lose the game. Wipe Out asks that you hit every target on the board at least one time in any order.
Extra modes are unlocked by using the tickets you collect from playing the other modes. For example, to unlock Call Your Shot you will need to spend 750 points, and the other modes will also cost the same number of tickets. There are also different cabinets to unlock, and for these, you need to have a set amount of tickets, as well as a specific level for your profile. You level up by collecting more tickets, so the more you play, the more tickets you will have and the higher your level will end up being.
As you play, you can enter the in-game shop to spend your tickets to add extra points for each ball you score by an extra 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 points. You can also buy a power-up to change the score points by an x2, x3, x4, x5, and higher multipliers. There is also the option of adding three extra shots per rounds, or a magic ball that aims midair at the highest scoring hole possible and flies there. There are also bundles available that collect different power-ups and score multipliers and changers at a higher ticket price, but that in the end might end up being a better value.
Skee-Ball features an in-game trophy system with a few extra goals to complete. There is one for playing five rounds of Classic game in which you end up hitting all holes within a round on a classic cabinet, another one for playing five rounds of Call Your Shot with a sequence of 5 hits in a row on any cabinet, playing 5 rounds of Speedball in which you manage to earn a score of more than 15,000 per round, playing 5 perfect rounds of Horse, playing 5 perfect rounds of Hangman, winning 5 rounds of Ring the Bell with 10 or more balls remaining in your count, and more.
My kids and I had a lot of fun with Skee-Ball thanks to its motion controls, nice variety of cabinets to unlock, and the many extra modes you can unlock once you get enough tickets for it. It’s a release that at first might seem a bit high at $19.99 price, but any parent who has ever taken their kids to a place with actual Skee-Ball cabinets will know that you can easily spend that much in a couple of hours in coins or credit for one of those arcade cards you can get at some places, making the $19.99 feel like nothing. My kids have been playing the game for hours the whole week, and this is after we finished playing for this review!
This Skee Ball review is based on a Nintendo Switch code provided by Ocean Media.