Bowling is a favorite of mine, though I rarely ever play it in real life. That’s why I absolutely relished in it with Wii Sports / Resort. Thus, when the new Strike! Ten Pin Bowling cropped up, I was pretty intrigued. My hunch turned out to be correct; this little indie bowler is a neat package.
Strike! Ten Pin Bowling is really not much different than any typical bowling game. It’s what you’d expect; you bowl. But it does have a few tricks up its sleeve to add some spice to its experience.
There’s a whopping 11 different game modes, with the majority of these being labeled as “mini games.” These mini-game modes offer unique “spins” on the bowling formula, all of which test your skills in different ways. For instance, one mode requires you to knock down only white pins while avoiding red ones. Another mode has only spares on the lane, and you have to find unique ways to get all of them at once.
Rack em’ up
All of the mini games give you a limited number of balls that are lost if you miss the target. You get five balls at once, but these can be replenished up to three times. If you exhaust all of them, it’s game over. These mini games are rather fun for the most part, even if they can be a bit challenging. Unfortunately, they’re only available as a single player experience for some odd reason.
Multiplayer does happen to be a part of the package in Strike! Ten Pin Bowling, albeit only available in four game modes. These modes feature more of a traditional style of bowling, though there are some modes with a twist, such as one where the pins are in a “stick” shape rather than the usual curved design. I did happen to have a chance to try it out with some friends, and we all had a good time. Online play is not a part of the package, however.
Another fun little feature is a pretty hefty amount of custom balls that sport different wacky designs, like a soccer ball, tennis ball, and transparent balls that feature very curious items like game controllers, floppy discs, and other zany ideas. It’s a cute and totally unnecessary addition, but it helps Strike to stand out.
Control-wise, the game caught me off guard at first. Initially, I thought the controls were more imprecise than what I’d remembered from Wii Sports. But after some practice, it seems like this is actually the opposite situation. Strike! Ten Pin Bowling tracks the position of the Joy-Con in a way where the power and angle of your swing are being monitored. If you swing with a big arc, the ball will vault upwards and slam onto the lane. Swinging closer to the ground, however, will result in a smooth shot from the beginning to the end of the lane. Your wrist can also be used to put a bit of a spin on the ball as it careens down the lane.
Motion controls are available in both docked and tabletop mode, but handheld mode offers a different experience. By turning the Switch vertically, you can make use of the touchscreen to flick the ball with your finger. I personally prefer motion controls, but Switch Lite players will primarily benefit from this.
Strike! Ten Pin Bowling doesn’t do anything super crazy with the formula, but it doesn’t really have to. This is still a charming, well-put-together little bowling title that’ll allow you to have fun without going to a real alley (or if you’re like me, there isn’t even one to go to in real life).
A review code was provided by the publisher.