NEW YORK--One of the two components unveiled today as part of the Wii pack-in title Wii Sports was bowling. The other was boxing, but that looked a little violent for us, so we opted to try out the bowling first. The game has a simplistic graphical look to it, as all the games in Wii Sports do, and you'll be able to import your Mii character into the game when you roll all those strikes. Though only a bare-bones single-player game was on offer today, the final game is said to support up to four players in one game, and some bowling-based minigames may also be available.
As anyone would expect who was at E3 and played Wii Sports' tennis game, the bowling here feels extremely natural. You can slide your character laterally or rotate him on an axis to set up your shot, and a line indicates the basic path of the ball in this phase. Then you simply hit the B trigger to start your character walking toward the lane, and then you, well, you bowl! You simply raise the remote behind you just like you would an actual bowling ball, and then you make the delivery and throw the ball down the lane. Like the tennis game, it feels pretty darn natural, as long as you've done it before and you use similar physical movements to those you use playing the real game. We were already picking up spares during our first few frames, which is a lot more than we can say for our real-life game.
There's a bit more nuance to the gameplay than you'd expect, since the Wii controller can read subtle movements in all directions. You can even put realistic spin on the ball based on the way you twist your wrist while you're throwing, so this is a more skill-based game than you might think at first. It's also a nice addition to the Wii Sports package, since it's so easy to get into and has that appealingly friendly look that Nintendo surely hopes will appeal to those who have perhaps rolled hundreds of bowling balls in their lives but never picked up a video game controller.