PBA Pro Bowling review

Owning a video game console opens up the world, from gaming with others all around the world, right the way through to experiencing things that you never thought were possible.

We have all had dreams where we wished we could participate in certain activities or sports; gaming helps us achieve this. After all we are not all going to be astronauts, play football professionally or join the army even.

As I’ve said previously in other written game reviews, Xbox One is quickly becoming the home of the simulator and the list of available simulator experiences is growing. Simulators allow us to experience what it’s like to take on the duties of certain vocation’s and roles without leaving the living rooms of our houses. Next up to try this format is PBA Pro Bowling!

Okay, some of you will be shouting “bowling”. That’s not in the same bracket as most simulators, but sport’s titles aren’t all arcade, many offer a true representation of said sport, offering an extensive career mode which allows you to experience what it would be like to be a professional in that particular sport, in this case you take on the role of someone that loves bowling so much that they take the long road in a budding career in the hope of reaching the big stage, the stage of a PBA Pro Bowling professional.

So, get ready to lace up your bowling shoes and experience the most realistic bowling simulation ever created. PBA Pro Bowling is an officially licensed PBA product featuring real PBA Tour professionals such as Belmo, Butturff, Tackett, Norm Duke, Walter Ray, and many more. The game recreates the pro bowling styles accurately with the use of motion-captured animations.

Full TV style presentation comes as standard with these types of games, and it is integrated fantastically, with the added extra of expert commentary from Rob Stone and PBA legend Randy Pederson.

If depth and competition is your thing when it comes to sport simulation titles, then how’s a full Extensive career mode with over 100 virtual tournaments for size. Add to that dozens of recreated venues and environments and you have an excellent depiction of the sport.

This bowling game also features quickplay and local multi-player modes, and although it doesn’t allow you to compete directly one on one via online play, PBA Bowling includes online tournaments should you wish to compete against other players across the net.

The developers behind the game have worked really hard to produce an authentic bowling physics feel to the game and have added someone wonderful subtle features from different ball colours to realistic PBA Tour oil patterns on the floors of the locations. The game also features the full licensed polish, with the inclusion of Brunskwick licensed pins and lane equipment, as well as fully licensed bowling balls from many of the leading manufacturers.

If the game’s a little too simulation for you there is the added option of power-up special balls, ready for you to use at the right moment. Could you imagine the nerves of 9 perfect strikes putting you on the verge of that magic 300 point game, wouldn’t it be great if you had a ball that explodes on impact and takes all the pins with it, well you do in PBA Pro Bowling.

And if you like bonus challenges then this game includes over 100 unique bonus challenges to work through and complete.

PBA Pro Bowling is an excellent recreation of the sport, with lots of depth and authentic touches. As a bowling game, it plays wonderfully well. The ball physics are a thing of beauty as is the presentation of the gaming experience.

Graphically, the game developers do themselves justice and feature a whole host of locations, tournaments and leagues in a fantastic career mode.

Should you be struggling with some of the difficulty in the game, there is the inclusion of new bowling balls to purchase with unique specs and power balls – these unlock through a levelling up system, so don’t be put off when you lose some matches, you will soon find yourself with a curve ball up your sleeve. The power balls charge over time and help level the playing field, but choose when to launch them wisely, as you try to rack up three in a row for that wonderfully named turkey.

Personally, I’ve played a few bowling games over the years, and although obviously limited in terms of what’s available as a gaming experience, this is up there with the best. The inclusion of local play adds a bit of sparkle to the game, thus making it not so serious. However, I feel the developers dropped the ball when they didn’t add the ability to invite a friend across Xbox Live for a few frames.

CX Score
  • 64%
    Overall - 64%



  • Authentic
  • Excellent ball physics
  • Addition of power balls


  • Limited experience
  • No proper Xbox Live play

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