I have very fond memories of ski-ball; countless hours spent rolling balls up that slope to get as many tickets as possible to win prizes at Chuck E. Cheeze. As such, Roll Em Hoops gives me something of a nostalgic feeling. Of course, it’s not classic ski-ball; it’s more a hybrid of ski-ball and the free throw machines. But here, unlike the free throw machines, I can actually get the balls into the hoops, making it a great way to kill time.
Roll Em Hoops has been available as an iPhone app for some time and was also recently made into a universal app, but it’s also received an HD upgrade with higher quality graphics for your iPad. The game options and play are identical in both versions.
In case you haven’t played the universal version, there are three game options: In The Bonus, OldSchool and 3-Point Shootout. All three games feature flicking your finger up the screen, racing against the clock, to score as many points as possible.
Old School is essentially classic ski-ball with a basketball theme, though it does have one variation; every so often, the hoops will begin moving back and forth, doubling the point value of the hoops.
3-Point Shootout gives you 5 chances to shoot at each of the five hoops in turn. Each ball is worth 1 point except the final ball of each hoop which is the “Money Ball” and worth 2 points.
In The Bonus is the most fun of the three, in that it has the normal play with 4 additional mini-games. To start a mini-game, you have to get one ball in each hoop in the normal mode, lighting up the hoops.
The game boasts the use of the Ageia PhysX Engine, and it really makes a difference, as different flick strengths affect the ball. It also keeps track of your high score and has both an online leaderboard and the ability to post your scores to Facebook, which is an added plus for those who like bragging rights.
It does have two problems I’ve noticed, and one of them is fairly critical; the directional sensor tracking your flicks doesn’t always register correctly, especially when flicking rapidly. There were several times when I flicked up and to the right, yet the ball rolled left and vice versa. Until this problem is fixed it’ll continue to be frustrating.
The second is a minor quibble, which is that once a game is finished if you want to switch play modes you have to go back to the main menu and select a new game. It’d be nice to be able to select a different play mode from the game over screen, but, as I said, that’s a very minor thing.
In the end, if you already have the universal app (which is only $.99), I don’t know if it’d be worth the extra $1.99 to upgrade to the HD version to me. I’m sure to some it is, and that’s really a personal judgment. But if you don’t have the universal app, the extra dollar to spring for the HD version isn’t unreasonable at all.