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iPhone  header logo

Flick Bowling 2

For: iPhone

Good times

Product: Flick Bowling 2 | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Freeverse | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1 | Networking: Bluetooth | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Flick Bowling 2 iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's easy to forget sometimes that B.T.D. (Before The Dude), bowling was already a popular sports among Americans of certain gender, age, and socio-economic grouping.

Post Dude, whether we roll or not, culturally we are all Homo Bowlus.

It's a situation that allows the makers of bowling sims more latitude for fun and games compared to some of the other less athletic recreation sports. So it's perhaps no surprise that the sequel to Freeverse's 2008 well regarded Flick Bowling contains a humorous cinematic arc.

That's it's based on Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is more to do with the variation of scenery enabled by time travelling as you get to bowl against Cleopatra, Ghengis Khan, and Napoleon.

The Dude's influence is still subtly apparent, however, appearing in the time travelling vortex, and as one of the game's unlocked achievements that's displayed via the Plus+ social gaming network.

Straight down the lane

The knowing Story mode aside, what's most important about any bowling game is how enjoyably it models the basic experience.

Unlike some other games, notably iBowl, Flick Bowling 2 isn't accelerometer-based. Nor, unlike in Midnight Bowling, can you influence the trajectory of your bowl post-launch by applying a helpful touch of spin to keep you out the gutter.

Instead, the mechanic takes a simple, solid approach with one tap to line up your bowler and then one swipe up the landscape orientated screen to roll. To be honest, once you get into the swing of things, the lateral position of your bowler doesn't really matter. Success or failure is down to that swipe.

Keeping it straight up is the easiest approach. But curving your finger's movement, or even slashing diagonally across the screen, provides all the left-right direction required, even if there's always some unpredictability about exactly where the bowl will end up.

Saturday night special

Fact is Flick Bowling 2 isn't a game for hardcore purists. It's arcade in spirit and with an undemanding difficulty curve. Completing the Story mode, even playing through with both characters, is a matter of time rather than great improvement.

Similarly, once you've unlocked the various playable characters by beating them in the story mode, there's no reason other than aesthetic ones to guide your choice between them.

Other game modes include a Fast Lane option, where you're automatically given a character and location and get to bowl three legs solo. The points you're awarded unlock various rankings, although these don't feed into the main achievements and are fairly gnomic in terms of their nomenclature. Is Nachos on the House good?

There's also a Free Play and a Versus CPU mode, while multiplayer options include hotseat and Bluetooth.

Rack 'em up

Filling out the features, there's a trophy room where you can see the bowls and pins you've unlocked, and in-app purchases are supported in the Pro Shop, where you can buy more bowls, the option to wrap photos around bowls, and get the Helen of Troy pack. All are priced at 99c, €0.79 or 59p.

Long-term play is encouraged thanks to the Plus+ achievements, but these aren't doled out particularly generously. Completists will be stretched trying to build up from two to 12 strikes in a row - a sequence which accounts for two thirds of the available 1,000 points.

Still, Flick Bowling 2 is very playable. The presentation is nice, with the time travelling conceit providing something different in terms of themes, and the graphics and audio are of the standard you'd expect from an established developer like Freeverse.

If nothing else then, a good place to abide.
Flick Bowling 2
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 24 March 2010
It's not the most realistic sim ever, but with a neat Story mode and solid gameplay, Flick Bowling 2 will fulfill most of your iPhone bowling needs
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