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Brunswick Pro Bowling - 3DS Review

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Brunswick Pro Bowling

3DS | Crave Games / Farsight Studios | 1 Player | Out Now (North America)
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16th January 2012; By Patrick

One of the main appeals of the Wii among more casual gamers -- or even people that would never have considered touching a video game -- was undoubtedly
Wii Sports, a package that allowed players to compete in five sports from the comfort of their living room, with arguably the most popular being Bowling. In Wii Sports Resort, Bowling again made an appearance, showing how fun it could be with motion controls leading the way. However, translate the game to a handheld that supports motion control and use stylus controls to try and deliver a similar experience? Now you've got me confused.

    You can play the game with one of two controls styles: Arcade Mode or Stylus Mode. In Arcade mode, everything is controlled simply with buttons as one might expect, while in Stylus Mode...everything is done with the Stylus. I personally found the Stylus mode slightly more involved, and therefore slightly more fun, but either way, the gameplay remains effectively the same.

Brunswick Pro Bowling
on the 3DS has the exact opposite problem that many find with lots of great games. The game has tons of content, but almost none of it is worth playing. You can, in theory, experience just about all the game has to offer within five minutes of gameplay. There are three modes in the game -- Career, Quick Play, and Spares Challenge -- with the first two playing in almost the exact same way.

    Going into Career for the first time, you are instructed to create your character. The character creator is frankly awful and limiting, with almost all of the options resulting in a hideous character. Not that it matters, but if they're going to include one then the developers should put some effort into it. There is room for ten separate bowlers, each one with their own separate save for progress.

    In Career Mode, you can select Career Overview, which gives overview of your Career; Career Events, where you can select tournaments to enter; Practice; and Pro Shop, to buy clothes and equipment for your bowler. Tournaments are unlocked by completing previous tournaments which can take a while. There are 60 different events, ranging from team matches all the way down to one-on-one. In the team matches, you bowl on teams of four going against another team, and the game attempts to show you all seven AI turns for each frame. Thankfully, there is a skip button, however if you do not press it in time you will have to sit and watch their frame.

Quick Play is as it sounds. You'll be able to launch into a single round with just three button presses/stylus taps. The other gameplay type, Spares Challenge, sets you halfway through a frame after the first ball is rolled and you have to complete the Spare. It's the most portable of all the modes and most suited for a handheld, but really is not that much fun.

    The main problem -- and the reason that you will almost certainly be disinterested in the game -- is the monotonous nature of the very gameplay itself. You can choose where you want to bowl from, then select the angle (completely unnecessary, as I'll explain in a second), and then swipe the Touch Screen where you want to bowl, with the speed of the swipe reflecting in the speed of the ball. The winning solution? Bowl straight from the middle, swiping straight up quickly. Strike! Figuring this out within two minutes of gameplay rendered the rest of the game completely meaningless to me.

    I also had a few gripes with the physics engine. Once you bowl, the ball should not simply slide to the pins without rotating - something that happens more often than it should. Also, when the ball hits the pins, the pins do not act naturally. Some of them launch into the air and literally spin around for up to three seconds before even starting to fall, some of them just completely vanish, some teleport across the lane to hit another pin, and some get hit directly by the ball without ever getting knocked down. It's very surreal and disorienting, and is evidence of a severely rushed product.

The final point is the 3D, which really gives no life to the game whatsoever, and since this game appears on practically every platform, was almost definitely added at the last second.

    Overall, the entire game is just a mess. There is tons of content to play, but there is not plenty of bang for your buck considering that you will likely not play more than a little bit. I do not typically compare iOS games to retail handheld games, but I have no qualms about saying that this game is much more suited for a 0.99 cent app on the iPhone than the 3DS, considering the extremely shallow nature of the gameplay.

10/30 - Simply Awful

Gameplay 1/10 - Physics engine a complete mess, two control methods, one strategy will put you through the entire game with a perfect score
Presentation 3/10 - Limited and superfluous character creator, 3D completely and utterly meaningless, physics engine glitches cause poor animations
Enjoyment 1/5 - Completely void of fun, same monotonous gameplay spanning the entirety of the game, gameplay has no point to it
Extra Content 5/5 - Over sixty Career outings, Quick Play, Spares Challenge gives different use of gameplay, only worth playing for five minutes

Equivalent to a score of 33% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

Brunswick Pro Bowling
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