There all types of games on iOS that have done a good job in transforming physical games into iOS versions including golf, skee-ball, pinball, and air hockey. Bowling isn’t one of them, with no true stand out bowling game on the platform. Kingpin Lanes is a new game from the makers of Dream:scape and RobotGladi8tor that is aiming to be that stand out bowling game. First off, it uses the Unreal engine for highly detailed 3D graphics of the lanes, pins, and balls. The graphics engine also delivers a highly detailed bowling alley with so many little subtleties to appreciate to make you feel like you’re there.
The game is set-up with a main career mode allowing you to challenge five unique characters with increasing difficulty. It’s the traditional 10 frame bowling style, and you’re simply given a score to beat. The controls are easy enough as you aim your shot, double tap to lock in, and then swipe to send your ball down the line. The speed, and length of your swipe adjusts the speed and power of your ball, and it makes for smooth rolling. Not only does the game look good, but there’s also a high quality physics engine with the pins reacting as you would expect after you send your ball down the lane. In fact, you can get some nice pin action for some pins to knock down others through authentic reaction of where the ball collides into the given pins.
The career mode lets you wager that you will win, and the in-game cash can be used in the pro shop for new balls, and other upgrades. The game also features mojo allowing you to swipe while the ball is rolling down the lane to put spin on it, kind of like in Flick Golf. In addition to the career mode, there are five challenge lanes with unique layouts including a dangerous junk yard, obstacle laden penthouse, and slot machine centric casino. The unique lane layouts do introduce all news types of bowling challenges, and it’s a nice addition to the traditional career mode. As an extra added bonus the bowling alley is fully explorable, and there are even arcade games to play. The game would benefit with Game Center, especially for online multiplayer to bowl with friends, but even achievements could help.
Kingpin Lanes ($1.99, Universal) is the first stand out bowling game on iOS, and while it isn’t perfect, it’s definitely worth the price of admission.