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Top 10 iPhone Bowling Games

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We group test the very best iPhone bowling games.

Published on Jul 21, 2011

I-play 3D Bowling Lite

£0.59/$0.99 | Digital Bridges | iPhone+ | v1.0 | 7.9Mb | iOS 2.1 | 4+

If you’re after a game that manages to re-create the authentic feel of  bowling then this one comes close. Utilising the iPhone’s accelerator  technology, you first set your bowler into position before swinging your  whole arm to hurl the ball pin-wards. Once you have got your swing down to a fine art you can hone it further by applying curvature to your rolls by gently tilting the phone to the side.

It works well and the game also features the widest array of features, like options to customise your bowler, multiplayer and even achievements that you can earn through performing certain tasks. With the best control system and the widest array of options, this is the bowler to beat.

10 Pin Shuffle

£2.39/$3.99 | Digital Smoke | iPhone | v1.4 | 9.9Mb | iOS 2.0 | 4+ 

This is essentially three games in one, all of which have origins in the classic pub game Shuffleboard. The aim of Shuffleboard is to use controlled  ‘shoves’ to move an object across a board to land it in high-scoring zones.

As well as classic Shuffleboard, there’s Bowling (obviously) and 10 pin poker – a strange fusion of the above with cards. The bowling aspect works well, and the Shuffle puck is an interesting variation on a standard ball, which throws up its own range of physics. Sharp-looking, varied and packed with options, this is a great app that’s well worth a shuffle.

Flick Bowling

£1.79/$2.99 | Freeverse, Inc | iPhone | v1.2.1 | 8.7Mb | iOS 2.2 | 4+ 

First of all, you don’t ‘flick’ the ball down the lane, you slide it. There’s no variety on the lane itself and the six characters on offer vary only in appearance, not styles or stats. Besides all of this, Flick Bowling is a damn good blast that boasts some of the sharpest visuals seen in a game of this type.

The control system works well and you can even apply some spin to your ball by curving your slide. Definitely one of the better bowling games out there, but it’s hamstrung by a lack of options. So much more could have been done to turn it into a meatier sim, but it’s still well worth the money.

Fantasy Bowling 3D Lite

Free | Gang Zeng | iPhone | v1.0 | 26.7Mb | iOS 3.0 | 4+

This bowling app grabs the award for simplicity. You’re presented with a no-frills lane and can then click on your ball to aim it left or right. Once  you are happy with the direction, flick your finger up to commence your bowl and hopefully you’ll score a strike.

Now comes the game’s only real downside – you’re forced to watch the CPU play its go without the option to skip. Quite why you would want to watch the computer repeatedly hurl the ball with the same repetitive level of incompetence is unknown, but you have little option, sadly.  Does most things well enough, but the lack of options means that this  game will only ever amuse you for a matter of minutes.

Arcade Bowling

£0.59/$0.99 | Skyworks Interactive | iPhone | v3.0 | 9.4Mb | iOS 3.0 | 4+

This game has been doing the rounds on the DS and was designed by the legendary David Crane. So its credentials are good, but what of the game itself? Not a conventional bowling game, the idea is that you fling balls down the alley and score points by making them land in different zones.

You can tilt the phone to influence the speed and direction of the ball, so there is much to master here, and the presentation is flawless, with sharp visuals and an exhilarating soundtrack. Comes with a fine pedigree, but it’s just not as compelling as other bowling games. 

Doodle Bowling

Free | GameResort LLC | iPhone | v1.9 | 19Mb | iOS 3.0 | 4+

Despite scoring some points for its outlandish graphics, Doodle Bowling soon gets knocked down by its ropey physics engine. The pins just don’t seem to react in accordance to how you hit them, which makes getting splits particularly aggravating.

There’s also a distinct lack of multiplayer options and extras to keep single-players amused for long. Facebook leaderboards are all well and good, but seeing as the maximum score you can get is 300 there is little scope for gloating. Boasting plenty of style, there’s little here to keep you coming back once the initial appeal fades.

Downhill Bowling

£1.79/$2.99 | GameResort LLC | iPhone | v1.0.6 | 22.6Mb | iOS 2.1 | 4+

This app presents a novel twist on conventional bowling. Using accelerator technology, you tilt your phone to guide the ball down a hill, collecting tokens and knocking down pins along the way. Added spice comes in the form of power-ups and ramps, and each run ends with a bonus rack of pins that you have to knock down in an imaginative way.

It’s packed with variety and has that ‘one more game’ factor that’ll have you battling to beat your best score well into the night. Tilt-tastic fun that will have you hooked from your first run. The challenge here is putting it down.

Midnight Bowling

£0.59/$0.99 | Gameloft S.A. | iPhone | v1.2 | 78.6Mb | iOS 2.2.1 | 4+

Whereas most of the games in this roundup serve as simple, pick-up-and-play apps, Midnight Bowling is the standout app that feels like a proper game. Graphically it’s sharp and eye-meltingly vibrant, and the control system it utilises works well, relying on a stop/start power bar as opposed to accelerator technology.

The game’s also packed with modes, which you can progress through to unlock a host of bonuses. Definitely one of the most well-rounded bowlers out there. Great fun to play with a sense of progression that feels genuinely satisfying and rewarding.

Monkey Bowl - Family Bowling Fun in The Jungle

£1.19/$1.99 | HeavyLifters Network Ltd | iPhone | v1.1 | 9.1Mb | iOS 2.2.1 | 4+

Aside from the name, this app doesn’t really have much going for it.  You simply select a monkey ball, use an on-screen dial to determine  your direction, then you hold down the ‘Throw’ button and motion your hand as if throwing a real bowling ball. Your ball will then fly off down the jungle-themed aisles and knock down banana pins.

The control method is decent enough, but there just isn’t enough here to warrant a full purchase. Just check out the ‘lite’ version, play a frame or two and you’re done. Plays well enough, but there just isn’t enough monkey business here to keep you amused for long.

BOWLING APP GAME WINNER

PBA Bowling Spare Challenge

Free | Concrete Software | iPhone+ | v1.0.2 | 18.8Mb | iOS 3.0 | 4+

This app takes bowling to the next level by presenting you with a series of tricky spares that you must attempt to knock down using three different weights of ball and a tilt-and-flick control method. Aiming is tricky as the controls are sensitive, and you have to ‘flick’ your ball without accidentally applying spin, but once mastered the app becomes  one of the most sophisticated and challenging out there. Hard to grasp but master it and you feel like a pin-splitting king.

 

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