Thanks to Fairsight Studios for the review code
Title: Brunswick Pro Bowling
System: Wii U
Release date: 1/21/2016
The main game/story
In this game, you create a character who really wants to win bowling tournaments. Why? Nobody knows! Ported over from other systems, the Wii U now joins the wide variety of systems that can experience this game.
Right from the beginning its evident that this title was barely touched up for the Wii U port, as the textures and visuals look horrible for an HD game. From the rather ugly player models to the bland ball designs, this game just doesn’t look good at all. The bowling pins and ball both look as if they were ripped straight from a late generation Sega Saturn game, with shadows slapped on them. The only thing regarding the visuals that’s above awful are the menus, which are simple, yet easy to navigate and look at. Unfortunately, that’s really all the positives that I could identify in the visuals.
Music and Sound
The music is also quite atrocious, with incredibly simple melodies that loop over and over again, which for some reason sound quite compressed during gameplay to the point that the rolling ball sound effect ends up louder than the music. The more you turn up the music in the options, the more apparent it becomes that this soundtrack is compressed, so I honestly recommend turning the music volume down to zero. You’ll get a more realistic experience from that setting anyway.
Bowling is a rather simple game, and I’m sure most of my readers have played it before or at least know the rules. You throw a bowling ball at a group of 10 pins, trying to score the most points before the end of the game. It’s incredibly popular in competitive play, and bowling leagues are all over the United States. Wii Sports bowling showed that even simplistic controls can still be effective and fun, so what does Brunswick Pro Bowling introduce, to make this bowling experience more “Pro” than the others? Well, it ends up introducing barely any improvements at all.
When you first boot up the game, you’ll find that there’s a character creator. Starting out very simple at first, you soon unlock more costumes and uniforms for your avatar with the more progress that you make in-game. That’s standard progression, which for a game like this works fine for the most part. Then you have a few modes to choose from starting with Career, which is the main game mode, Quick Play which is a simple match, and Spare Challenge which is a minigame. While it’s not the longest game in the world, it does offer a bit more content than the Wii Sports Bowling, and it even has online leaderboards to boot! All of this sounds like it would make for a decent budget game, so upon starting the game, I hoped for at least something engaging.
Unfortunately, the moment you play your first game and get used to the controls, that’s the moment when you’d probably want to turn the game off. You see, the controls in Brunswick Pro Bowling are simple, holding the right analog stick back and moving it forward to toss your ball. You can adjust your angle slightly with the shoulder buttons, and also swap out your bowling balls for different kinds if you choose to do so.
Everything I explained up above? That’s literally the entire game. Once you master the controls and learn how to throw the ball straight in the center, you’re invincible, as throwing straight towards the center will almost always get you a strike or spare on every round, guaranteed. Simply put, using the right analog stick completely destroys any challenge this game could have. “But no worries!” You may say, “I’ll just play it like Wii Sports with a good old Wii remote and motion controls!”
Only for you to find out the hard way that this game does not support motion control at all, meaning that you are forced to stick with the analog stick method of control, pretty much ruining any chance of redemption for this game. This essentially makes Brunswick Pro Bowling feel like its nothing more than a hastily rushed out port to the Wii U, tossed out in hopes that families would buy the game solely because it’s a casual title, and that’s downright shameful.
In conclusion, Brunswick Pro Bowling is a horrible game, with essentially no utilization of the Wii Remote or the Gamepad to speak of, along with a painfully easy control scheme that makes can transform anyone into a bowling champion overnight. It’s clear that this was a rushed port to market, and despite the decent amount of content for the price, this game fails to achieve the “Quality over Quantity” mantra in nearly every way, making the entire game a boring chore to play. I give Brunswick Pro Bowling a 3 out of 10, and can only recommend it to the most extreme of bowling enthusiasts after it inevitably heads to the Bargain Bin of your local store. Though after playing through it, you might end up like me and get tired hearing the same sound of a rolling bowling ball over and over again, so it’s probably better to just ignore this one entirely if you can.