Prime Edition

Bowling Central
Pune-based Rolocule’s on a strike
Amit Goyal  21st Feb 2015

Developer & Publisher: Rolocule

Platforms: iOS

Price: Rs 190

Remember when you took a girl to a bowling alley, only to gutter the ball every time, all the while grunting like a constipated gorilla? No? Just me? Alrighty then.

Bowling Central is the latest offering from the Pune-based developer, Rolocule. The neon-sign based menu-design is the first thing that will catch your eyes, and offers a great mix of style and accessibility. The menus are clean, minimal and convey just the right amount of information instead of cluttering your screen with a plethora of them, which is a refreshing change of pace.

The clean and minimal nature of extends to the game instead. Bowling Central ignores excessive theatrics and fringe elements in favour of pure, unadulterated bowling fun. The game has two modes, classic and levels. The classic mode is for bowling purists. Before starting you pick the number of frames you want to play (three, six or the traditional ten) and then you go about scoring as much as you can.

The level mode puts a nifty twist on the standard formula. Each level gives you three frames to score a minimal number of points to clear it. Scoring extra points nets you a higher rating, which extends to a maximum of three pin rating. The levels start off with the basics, but soon introduces new elements that add to the challenge. Soon enough, you have to contend with wooden crates, which block certain portions of the lane. If that is not enough, the game throws in new challenges as you progress, including both horizontally and vertically moving boxes. Timing and precision become more and more important as you play on, and completing and mastering the 31 levels included with the game is quite a challenge. The approach that works best is treating each level like a puzzle. Trial and error eventually yields a solution which must then be executed flawlessly to reach the target score.

All this would have fallen flat if the game itself did not control like a charm, but lucky for folks like me who cannot roll big balls, the controls are very intuitive. To roll the ball, you drag your finger on the lane. The speed of dragging determines the speed of the ball. In order to give it a spin, you can end your drag with a curve in the direction in which you want the ball to move. Mastering these controls is a matter of practice and relating your inputs to the mechanics of the ball. Get things right, and soon enough you'll be bowling like a boss.

People who own Apple TV (or any receiver that supports Airplay) are in for an additional treat. Rolocule has made a name for itself with its proprietary "rolomotion" motion-tracking technology that allows Wii-like experience without actually owning a Nintendo Wii.

The game lends itself well to turn-based competitive multiplayer, especially in the classic mode. However, it is the lack of local multiplayer (even though the game supports airplay mirroring and motion controls) is the most baffling aspect. This is the only blemish on an otherwise excellent game. However, it isn't something that the developers cannot add with an upcoming update.

In the meantime, you're all out of reasons to go and embarrass yourself at the bowling alley. Go with a different skill, perhaps? Dancing, maybe?

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