Suffice it to say, mobile bowling simulations have been incredibly successful in the past. Bowling, in any form, is a simple, skill-based affair that is very easy to grasp. As such, it has an extremely wide appeal, and it certainly fits mobile gaming's casual-play requirement. Knowing this, Mforma has structured Pro Bowling's core gameplay around three self-explanatory meters and two shot alignment choices, thereby ensuring that anyone with a thumb can enjoy the title. Instead of needlessly complicating a tried-and-true formula, Mforma has concentrated on delivering a very slick product.
You'll first notice that the game looks and sounds fantastic. The drumroll-like patter of your smooth, prerendered ball trundling along on waxed wood is unmistakable to anyone who's ever rented a pair of ill-fitting, tobacco-scented shoes. The same can be said of the cacophonous collision of pins that follows--Pro Bowling's sound is accurate enough to let you hear a strike, even if your eyes are averted out of anxiety or distraction.
After the pins fall, they'll spin around--realistically, based on where they were hit--knocking down neighboring pins in the process. Spin works in predictable ways, and the ball will hook accordingly. You'll never feel cheated by poor physics or collision detection. In fact, Pro Bowling is unlikely to frustrate gamers at all. It's a cinch, even in the highest competition level of its ladder-style tournament mode. Fortunately, Pro Bowling is so fun to play, you won't mind the low difficulty.
In the tournament mode, you can create your own bowler using one of several stock avatars. Each has a cool, rockabilly look, adding flair to a game that's already more stylish than a bowling title has any business being. You may then tweak your character's power, spin ability, and accuracy, distributing a finite number of points where you see fit. You must also choose a ball weight, which greatly alters how much spin and power your character can put on his or her shots. You can then use your character to make a qualification attempt for any of three progressively difficult tournaments. Whether or not you qualify depends on how well you score in a few solo frames of bowling. If you succeed, you will be given the opportunity to compete against other bowlers with mutton-chop facial-hair configurations and fashionable sunglasses. Of course, if you get tired of playing with those clowns, you and a buddy can pit your avatars against each other in two-player games. You'll have to play on the same handset, though.
Pro Bowling doesn't alter the mobile bowling formula in any meaningful way. There's no networked multiplayer support, and until such a feature is implemented, Pro Bowling won't have reached its true potential. That said, Mforma has simply taken a formula that works and applied some high production values, yielding a game that's as technically impressive as it is fun to play. Pro Bowling is not just worthy of a download--it's the best mobile bowling game to date.