Review: Petanque Boule Fighters


I don’t know, you wait all that time for a Petanque game, and then two come along in the space of six months. If you’ve moved up from the 5th Edition handsets and you enjoyed Big Roll in Paradise and found that it’s not available on Symbian^3, then perhaps Woody Games’ Petanque Boule Fighters will sate your desire for throwing balls around your touch screen.

Author: Woody Games

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This is as pure a version of Petanque as you can hope to find. One player throws the small jack and their first boule, and then the player who is not the closest will throw one of their three boules (if they have any left). After each player has thrown their three boules, the player with the boule(s) closest to the jack score a point for each boule that is closer than the opponents'.

Where Big Roll in Paradise grafted on a huge adventure game, collectible bonuses, a plot involving the Titanic and the Bermuda Triangle, this version of Petanque has been kept as basic as possible. Okay, it doesn’t include the “nominate what kind of shot you’re about to do” rule, but it does have some great physics on the movement of the boules, a gentle pace that really lets the strategy and gameplay come to the fore, and just enough polish and slickness to make the game both easy and fun to play.

It’s all rather minimalist, but it gets you to the game as quickly as possible, and let you get on and play.

Pentanque Pentanque

Controls are simple as well. Place your finger on the boule in your hand (the view is a top down representation of the playing field) and flick your finger up. The direction gives the boule its course, while the speed of the flick determines the distance it will travel. After that, any impacts with the ground, other boules, or even the jack, are in the realms of Newtonian physics.

And here is what makes Petanque the game (both in the real world, and on this digital version, thanks to some great coding) such an exciting past-time. Do you throw your first boule long, to stop your opponent knocking the jack away? Do you roll up and stay close to the jack? Or should you just hit your opponents'  boules out the way and get the closest by being the only boule left in the arena?

This does take some getting used to, just like in real life, but it lends both an accuracy to the game, but also an inaccuracy (because you are actually 'throwing' it each time). I like that – you get a challenge on every throw, and because the game is always a close call and every throw counts, the pressure is on.

This game delivers what it promises, delivers it well, and even has a free demo version so you can check it out yourself. I think you should. It may not look much, but it’s got a wicked game under the plain exterior.

-- Ewan Spence, Feb 2011.

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