(3DS eShop)

Bowling Bonanza 3D (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Bowling Bonanza 3D Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

This is bowling. There are rules.

Bowling as a sport has enjoyed a long and rich history, going as far back — in one form or another — to Ancient Egypt. The activity has become much more refined in recent years, and has been given similar treatment and media attention to that received by more popular sports, including several films on the subject. From countless alleys around the world to just as numerous video game adaptations, bowling has permeated modern society in a big way. This time around, Enjoy Gaming has decided to try its hand at a strike with Bowling Bonanza 3D.

There are four game types here, including Quick Play, Arcade, League, and Knockout. While all of these have titles that imply differing gameplay, they’re all just slight variations on the exact same thing. After selecting a name and ball weight for your profile, jumping into Quick Play will allow you to simply play a ten frame game and get a feel for how everything works. Arcade is exactly the same as Quick Play, except you have the option of playing against up to three CPU or local opponents. League has you playing against more CPU opponents in the hopes of defeating them and earning trophies that will then increase your rank and allow you to participate in more difficult leagues. Finally, Knockout mode has you playing one-on-one matches against different CPU opponents in an attempt to boot them out of the roster and advance in the bracket. No matter what mode you’re playing though, it’s all just 10-pin bowling with no variation to the actual gameplay.

As you play and win more games, you will be rewarded with new bowling alleys, with different themes to play in and different coloured pins to use. There is also an in-game achievement system that allows you to track your progress. The rewards may not be spectacular, but at the very least they're something to work towards in an otherwise two dimensional game. Many players may get tired of virtual bowling before too long, but having something to look forward to unlocking can add a desire to return.

Controlling Bowling Bonanza 3D is as simple as it should be, with every action being attributed to the 3DS’s touchscreen. From rolling your ball to setting up your perfect shot, everything is done with a simple tap or flick. Tapping on designated arrows will change the alignment and angle of your ball, as well as the amount of spin that you want to put on your roll. It can sometimes be difficult to get the exact angle or spin percentage that you're looking for with the touchscreen, begging the question whether or not button controls would have worked better in this instance.

For the most part, this touch-based control scheme works well and is reminiscent of the Silver Strike Bowling arcade cabinets. Where the controls really falter, however, is in the throws lacking discernible sensitivity. The game’s digital manual claims that the power of your shot is determined by the speed at which you swipe the touchscreen, but whether you flick the ball with force or slowly drag your stylus across the bottom screen, it always seems to travel at the same speed. As there is also no option to change the touchscreen’s sensitivity, and no speedometer tracking your ball, it is impossible to tell whether or not this really is the case. This makes it especially difficult to perform rolls that may require a bit of precision.

Bowling Bonanza 3D is far from a bad looking game, but it is also very plain. The alleys that you can choose to bowl in are all designed well in their themes, but what the visuals really come down to are straight lanes with pins set up at the end; each alley may have its own unique motif, but none of them are visually striking. It is a bowling game though, and the style gets the job done, so maybe we’re just grasping at straws.

The actual concern with the visuals, however, is the 3D effect. While it may not be as bad as the nausea inducing Gummy Bears Magical Medallion, finding the sweet spot to effectively view this game in 3D isn’t easy, and even when you’ve found it the game can still be a bit dizzying. It’s unfortunate though, as a three-dimensional bowling game is a great idea on paper. It’s especially unfortunate as they chose to include the word “3D” right in the game’s title.

The soundtrack is composed of mostly jazz-infused beats that are reminiscent of what you might hear at an actual bowling alley that isn’t playing radio top 40 hits, or in a nightclub that no one visits. Like the visuals, the soundtrack gets the job done, but it’s nothing that will impress and you will easily forget it. The sounds of your ball rolling down the lane and striking pins are quite realistic though, and it’s possibly the most polished aspect of this game.


It’s far from perfect, but Bowling Bonanza 3D is honestly and unabashedly a 3D bowling simulator. Rather than trying to disguise itself as a deeper game than it is with characters, plot, or backstory, this one simply invites you to participate in some ten-pin action. Sure, there are several different types of games that you can participate in, but the reality is that they’re all just slight variations on the same exact thing. This one would be much better if it wasn’t riddled with control inconsistencies, a nauseating 3D effect, and redundant gameplay. As it stands, it may be a decent game to unwind with, but its flaws tend to outweigh any enjoyment that you may get from it.

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User Comments (18)



DualWielding said:

The thing is you can get a good number of bowling titles for free on any phone, so who would pay for a bowling game on 3DS



Gioku said:

When I saw that this game was made by the same people who made Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion, I was genuinely worried. Although this game is decidedly better, I really have to wonder why they can't seem to figure out how to use the 3D!



Morpheel said:

I liked this one, though yeah, the people at enjoy gaming seem to want to use this strange kind of 3D where the stage pops up and gets depth at the same time. It ends up being too strong on the eye.



Burning_Spear said:

Playing in tournaments against AI opponents is something that should have been included in Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. Otherwise, meh.



Ron_DelVillano said:

@bassoongoon I think that with more sensitive/responsive controls, better visuals, and a bit of gameplay variety (think arcade modes), there could be a really fun bowling game for 3DS. At least something fun in short bursts.



Morpheel said:

I actually had no problems with the controls in this one, you can set the angle, you can position the ball from left to right and you can even add some tilt to it. The slow touch controls make that process more precise.

The again, I'm not a bowling expert.

There's also the option to change the weight of the ball, though I'm not sure what's that for.



Lobster said:

It's nice that they have local multiplayer with the Arcade mode, but then I immediately thought, "But why not with Knockout?" It would be a great idea to get a few friends together and see who could eliminate each other, I think. But then again, if the 3D is as eye straining as you say, it's probably for the best they don't have that!



slidecage said:

Would rather save my cash and get

Brunswick Pro Bowling for the 3ds CART for 8 bucks at amazon



Windy said:

@slidecage that bowling game has online Play?

No matter I just bought 2 copies for 7.80 each on Amazon according the game description Brunswick has online play



Kiyata_Hamasaki said:

Sigh, I was hoping this would be better than my Brunswick bowling game. Oh well. PASS! (Unless it drops down to $1.99 or less!)



SonicTheBluBlur said:

@6ch6ris6 I know, right? The only "phone" I have is an iPhone 3GS and I can't even use the phone function or the App Store, so the only thing I can do besides listening to music (which I use my 3DS for, anyway, due to the 3D interactive visualizations). I even figured out how to put 3D YouTube videos on it without zooming out in my PC browser and holding my 3DS steady (StereoMovie Maker; Google it).

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