There are realistic bowling games on the mobile store, but it’s not often that you see a mobile game directly licensed by the Professional Bowlers Association.
PBA® Bowling Challenge is an accurate simulator of the sport and features multiple game modes, a lot of variety in balls and bowling alleys, and allows you to play against real-world bowling champions.
But having a big name attached does not automatically guarantee a good game, so it’s very important that the developers nail the feeling of actual bowling.
There are two types of control schemes that PBA® Bowling Challenge offers.
The default one requires you to swipe the screen forward, which sends the bowl towards the pins. The speed at which you swipe the screen determines how quickly or slowly the ball will go towards the pins, so the player has to be careful about that aspect.
The alternative control scheme allows you to flick the screen towards the bowling pins to send the bowl forward rather than swiping with touch. And you can steer your phone left and right to control where the ball goes instead of using the on-screen buttons.
The gameplay feels like an accurate simulation of the sport and it does not have any visible pay-to-win aspects.
There are special balls that do things such as leaving behind a trail of fire, but most are aesthetic changes and don’t alter the gameplay.
The microtransactions in the game come with unlocking additional challenges and bowling alleys, which require a lot of the in-game currency and would eventually force the player to spend a little bit of real-world money.
Aside from the general championship and tournament modes – the game also has a very competent PvP mode which is fun to play. You can match with random players or play exclusively with your friends, and the game disables some of the special balls that can unfairly alter the gameplay. It’s rare to see a game purposefully disable things that make its PvP unfair, so that’s a great decision on the developers’ part.
If the opponent disconnects or has slow internet, you can choose to make them forfeit to save your time instead of having your time wasted, which is another convenient decision that makes the PvP far better than most other games.
Lastly, aside from the long list of balls to unlock and the different alleys to play in – the game features many real-world players associated with the Professional Bowlers Association, which is a treat for those who are familiar with the competitive scene of the sport.
Whether you’re playing by yourself or with real players in PvP, PBA® Bowling Challenge is a realistically fun bowling game.
It won’t be very appealing to those who don’t have a love for the sport in general since it lacks over-the-top mechanics that would add intensity of any sort – but for those looking for a great bowling game, they are sure to find much to love here.
The graphics of PBA® Bowling Challenge are not as good as the general standard of mobile games these days, but they’re still decent enough.
There is enough visual variety in the bowling balls and the alleys have many variations too, so the game does not begin to feel repetitive.
The graphics could simply use an improvement to catch up to modern games.
The UI is not perfect. There’s a bit of a slowdown at times and it generally has a very early 2000s PC game feel, so that can definitely be improved. But it’s not confusing and does its job just fine, so it’s at least not something that ruins the game.
The polish of the game is similar to the UI. Everything works, but it could have felt a bit smoother than it does, and so that gives the game a bit of an amateur-ish feel even though the developers clearly put effort into the development.
The sound design is a bit of a mixed situation. The sound effects are pretty good and do a good job of making the game feel realistic.
However, the background music lacks variety and isn’t looped as well as it could have been, so that gets tedious to listen to after a while and you’ll find yourself disabling it and playing your own music.
PBA® Bowling Challenge is a competent bowling game with fun gameplay, great PvP, and tons of variety in every aspect that will keep you busy for a good while.
However, it can use a few of the aforementioned quality-of-life changes that would make it feel more modern and in line with excellently polished mobile games.