This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Games With Balls, and One with Blasting. Additional details may be found in the original article.
Bowling might not be the world’s most popular sport, but as Nintendo’s Wii version proved, getting the controls right is even more important than graphics in keeping players interested. Flick Bowling ($5) by Freeverse gets both parts of the equation correct, offering impressive 3-D renditions of a bowling alley, characters, balls, and pins, then letting you gesture your way towards strikes and spares.
You can play against yourself in a Free Play mode, or go up against a human or computer opponent in a one-on-one Versus mode, both of which are very simple: position your choice of six characters, then flick to send the ball careening down the lane. Aim straight and shoot fast and you’ll likely knock down all of the pins; curve or throw weak and the ball will veer off to the side, go into the gutter, or have a more modest impact. There isn’t a ton of nuance, but between the ball’s 3-D movement down the lane and the apparent physics of the pins—sometimes shown in an instant replay—you at least get the sense that you’re really, if simply, bowling. Reflecting lights on the lacquered lanes and good sound effects set the right ambience; only a single honky-tonk song plays during menu screens.
Freeverse appears to realize that the game is a little shallow and has submitted an update with more ball control, a new alley, and more challenging computer opponents. But even in its current form, Flick Sports Bowling is an impressive enough use of the iPhone and iPod touch that it’s worth trying anyway. It’s definitely our favorite bowling game on the platform, and one of the best sports releases yet; updates will only make it better. iLounge Rating: B+.
Company and Price
Title: Flick Bowling
Compatible: iPhones, iPod touches