Bowling, like darts, is a pastime the casual observer often views as not being a real sport.
It’s something to be enjoyed with your nephew and niece on a Saturday afternoon, followed by a quick bash on the arcades.
Of course, also like darts, it requires a great deal of skill and practice to be really good at bowling. Which is why it’s a little odd that most bowling games go the light-as-a-feather casual route.
PBA Bowling 2 looks like it could be the game to stand up for the professional side of the sport, but it doesn’t completely commit to the cause.
With the official Professional Bowlers Association license in tow, PBA Bowling 2 lets you enter into tournaments against (apparently) established names like Walter Ray Williams Jr, Bill O'Neill, and Chris Barnes.
Sure enough, my first tournament game proved to be a rude awakening, as my opponent unleashed a string of strikes and the odd spare to thoroughly trounce me. My initial sense of injustice faded when I realised that this is how the game is played at the professional level.
However, neither of the game’s control systems is wholly satisfactory, with the accelerometer-powered flick system failing to offer the nuanced control of I-play Bowling’s sophisticated manual swings.
The screen-swipe option is preferable, allowing greater pace control depending on the severity of your swipe, but it still sits at odds with the professional setting.
The game’s odd balance between realism and fantasy continues with a system that lets you spin the ball by tilting the handset at any point after your throw. It’s another slightly out-of-place casual touch.
Such casual concessions are slightly more welcome elsewhere, with a neat design-a-ball feature that lets you create custom balls with outlandish properties (ultra heavy, ultra fast and so-on).
You can’t take these into a tournament, however - they can only be used in one-off games or the Spare Challenge mode, which removes some of the appeal.
PBA Bowling 2 is a very polished package, with crisp 3D visuals and a nice reflection effect, but some of the physics let the overall visual quality down, allowing pins to glitch and pass through each other.
Ultimately then, PBA Bowling 2 is a welcome addition to the Android Market, presenting the sport in a rather more professional – and undeniably pretty – light. It’s just a shame that the control system and pin physics are still in the amateur leagues.