Bowling is one of those game genres you don’t need uber-realistic graphics on a cutting-edge game console to do justice to. In fact, JAMDAT Bowling 2 is one of the best bowling games I’ve ever played. Its looks and sounds bring you back to the alley, and its online multiplayer options and stat-tracking keep you addicted far longer than you imagined.
Roll On Saturdays
Few things are as intuitive as a good bowling interface. This game has a darn good one, with the familiar three-click style. First, line up your shot. A power bar shows up to see how hard you’re hurling. Next, choose your aim. The third click is for your spin, which can correct bad aiming or give you that hook to take out more pins.
It took me about half a game to really grasp the controls, but I never felt like they were too easy. I’d get a turkey, then have a few open frames immediately following. It’s fun to experiment with different swing types. Your second throw isn’t quite as accurate, as getting a spare can be kind of quirky, but it still doesn’t take too long to become comfortable with it.
The physics are impressive for a mobile game. While pins sometimes bobble way too much without going down and there’s no kickback from offscreen, pins generally fell the way they should. The ball’s rebound off of them is a nice touch of realism as well.
Likewise, JAMDAT Bowling 2 has some kicking production values. The alley itself has a good look, with a big logo and adjacent lanes. The audio cheers your strikes, applauds your spares, and groans when you gutter. There’s even a gobbling noise for turkeys. Each frame is accompanied by some type of comment under the scorecard, be it “You’re the bomb!” or “Not your best.” Each shot type has a wide variety of phrases.
F&%$ it, Dude, Let’s Go Bowling
Everyone knows bowling is a social activity. Thus, JAMDAT Bowling 2 has a host of multiplayer options. Pass-and-play competitions let multiple rollers square off on one phone, which is cool. Playing online is much cooler, though. After a quick setup, you’ll be playing against random human players in no time. The score screen shows their latest shot, and continually updates with the score. After one match, feel free to make it a three-game series if you’re both up for it.
The game keeps track of plenty of stats, from wins and losses to a player’s total average — factoring in both online and off. Before accepting a multiplayer challenge, you may want to check to see if you’re in someone’s league. For example, in my second game I played online, my opponent rolled a 290. Ouch, my feelings!
About the only thing that could’ve made this game better is if JAMDAT would’ve put a Big Lebowski motif over it. As I don’t imagine I’ll be able to play as the Jesus anytime soon, JAMDAT Bowling 2 stands as both one of the best bowling games and one of the best mobile games overall that I’ve ever played. It’s not a 300, but it’s a damn solid 269.