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iPhone  header logo

Cave Bowling

For: iPhone

Prehistoric pin punishment

Product: Cave Bowling | Developer: Donut Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Cave Bowling iPhone, thumbnail 1
Ever since we witnessed Fred Flintstone scoring his first strike on our televisions, the sport of bowling has been almost intrinsically linked with our cavemen ancestors.

Putting aside such tiresome issues as fact and scientific data, there’s something strangely comforting about the idea of Neanderthals spending their Saturday nights using roughly-hewn stone spheres to topple clumsily-carved wooden pins.

It’s this entirely anachronistic image that Cave Bowling harnesses so effectively, allowing you to slip into the badly-soiled loincloth of a primitive Homo erectus and enjoy some seriously fun physics-based puzzle play.


Cave Bowling is divided into levels that feature set numbers of pins. These must be knocked over before you can progress to the next stage, but you’re also assessed on your overall performance.

For example, there are floating bones in each level which net you bonus points if you manage to make your ball or an errant pin connect with them. Conversely, points are subtracted whenever you accidentally hit one of the dumpy-looking bystanders with a flying projectile.

Although bowling is plainly alluded to in the title, your character launches the ball with a wooden club rather than rolling it along the floor. You can set the angle of the swing and the amount of power used, these two variables ultimately deciding the trajectory of your ball.

Domino effect

Knocking down all of the pins is often a case of employing domino-style tactics, where one pin falls into another, causing a chain-reaction. However, deeper into the game you need to make use of the various on-screen objects to successfully progress.

Funnels (which give your ball a sharp increase in speed when it passes through them), moveable bridges and rotating structures are all present and correct - these items become invaluable on certain stages, where your pins are divided by solid walls or other obstacles. Using them you can delicately set off a sequence of events which clears the level.

Some elements might seem like hindrances, but actually turn out to be a significant help. For instance, your instinct might tell you to avoid fire, but when your ball makes contact with the flames it explodes in a shower of stone, and the debris can be used to hit hard-to-reach pins.

Cave story

Cave Bowling is wrapped in a deliciously retro coat of paint, and this stylish effect adds immeasurably to the game’s appeal. Yet, it’s the game's evenly-pitched challenge and convincing physics that truly allow it to entertain.

Success and failure is often a matter of just a tiny adjustment in your aim or a slight reduction in your shot power, and the lure of getting it right is appealing.

The reward for success would be all the sweeter with leaderboards and it’s fair to say that Cave Bowling would be enhanced by the inclusion of Game Center and the ability to compare scores with fellow players.

This along with the extremely linear manner by which you unlock levels one at a time takes a little of the shine off. It doesn't matter much, though, because Cave Bowling is fun enough that you may end up burning through its list of levels in one glorious sitting.
Cave Bowling
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 6 February 2011
A mix of challenge gameplay and fantastic presentation, Cave Bowling is a fun-filled arcade game with personality and substance to match
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