PBA Championship Review

PBA Championship Review

Jan 17, 2013

PBA Championship is an expanded 3-D bowling adventure from Concrete Software, the folks who brought us PBA Bowling 2. In this iteration, longevity and skill is the name of the game, and winning is the way to the top.

I loved the graphics in the original, and was still pleasantly surprised by the detail added to the look of the newer title. As in the original we reviewed, I liked the sharp use of colors, and how even reflections in the polished lane were rendered. The look of the bowling lanes next door, for instance, conveyed the same realism that the world championship lanes did, while, somehow, also highlighting the differences in the lanes. Concrete generally does quite well in the graphics department, and PBA Championship is no exception.

Sound-wise, this game also excelled. Don’t pipe the game sounds around someone who is sleeping; they might sleepwalk into bowling stance. The sound of the ball bouncing and hitting the pins is exceptionally realistic, and adds an aura of realness to the game.

Being good mattered. In basic gameplay, I had to play my way to the top. Starting with local contests in the neighborhood Mom and Pop’s lanes, I looked to win money and entry into more prestigious tournaments. To advance, I had to place in the top three and earn prize tickets (which also allowed me to buy stuff in the in-app store). To bowl, I positioned the ball at the top of the lane, and swiped to produce pace. Tilting the device provided spin, and the physics of the game made sense with regards to this amateur’s understanding of true bowling. Hitting the top pin dead on was great, but sometimes, angled contact brought about the best results.

There were some funky power-ups, including bombs and dual balls, adding to the fun.

Scoring followed the classic format, with spares making the occasional dastardly appearance. I would have loved for a training module and some sort of multi-player gameplay to expand on the fun factor.

In PBA Championship, Concrete brings great bowling gaming to the masses. Again. Thank you.

PBA Bowling 2 Review

PBA Bowling 2 Review

Oct 8, 2012

Anyone who thinks bowling is boring has never seen Pete Weber in action. That cat is crazy. He is my type of bowler. [Editor’s Note: Oh my god, this guy is the best. Watch those videos.]

PBA Bowling 2 brings the game, the lanes, Pete and his cronies to handheld devices. Concrete Software is no slouch when it comes to high quality graphics, and, at the very least, I think Concrete lives up to its reputation with this title.

First… the look and feel. Wow. I almost literally could smell the oil on the lanes. I thought a lot of detail was put into the graphics, and it was reflected in the rich imagery. The animations were also beautifully done. Anyone who has bowled knows the unique situation of not completely knocking down a pin that somehow wobbles out of place, but yet stays upright. I found this replicated on PBA Bowling 2. The developer was also able to toss in locations from the Lumber Liquidators and Tour to up the realism quotient.

Now, if there is one thing that I have to keep coming back to, it will be the detail. From the reflection of the pins, through to the artistic perspective of the gutters, to the movement of the pinsetter… everything looked and “felt” pretty good to me. Bowling itself was initiated by the flick of a finger, and controlling the handheld device did the rest.

The gameplay was split (see what I did there?) into three levels of play. There were also there missed of play: single game, spare challenge, and my favorite… championship. In championship mode, I got to go against the best in the game in single elimination games. It is quite easy to get caught up in the play, and by adding in unlockable achievements and rewards, the developer made me more willing to spend time trying to beat the simulated pros. I loved the special bowling balls that I could make for single game mode too.

The social element was a nice feature, with interactive leaderboards and a personal high score list for local play, which served as motivation.

I wish a game this fun had some sort of multiplayer functionality built-in. On a practical level, it may be hard to go ten-pin bowling with family remotely, but I still think multiplayer would have been a great addition.

I don’t know that I’d beat Pete Weber in real life, and so far, he has beaten me every time in virtual-land. But I’m sure I’ll get him eventually… in a hail of turkeys.

PBA Bowling 2 gives me hope.