10 Frame Bowling Review

XBLA Kinect

10 Frame Bowling screen
Microsoft

Let's face it, bowling is the best event in Kinect Sports (and Wii Sports, for that matter) and being able to plunk down $3 (240 MSP) for a solid Kinect bowling title sounds like a dream come true. With the XBLA release of 10 Frame Bowling, that dream is actually a reality. With a crazy low price and solid gameplay, this is the best bowling game for Kinect. Our full 10 Frame Bowling review has all of the details.

Game Details

  • Kinect Sensor Required
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • Developer: Rare
  • ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
  • Genre: Bowling
  • Pros: Low price; controls well; clean interface and minimal front end; good, simple, fun
  • Cons: Sore arms

Microsoft's Kinect Sports Gems series on XBLA breaks the Kinect Sports games down into separate releases with simplified features for each sport to let you quickly and easily jump in and have fun with just one event. Cynics think they are a waste, since why would you buy any of these separate releases if you already have Kinect Sports, but we think it is a genius. It lets us quickly load up just the sport we like without any of the lesser events getting in the way. There are other Kinect Sports Gems for events like a penalty saver soccer game, zombie darts, ping pong, and more, all for just $3 each. For this review, however, we're only talking about just one game, the best game: 10 Frame Bowling.

The beauty of 10 Frame Bowling is that it is supremely simple and streamlined. All it is is one standard game of bowling. No bells and whistles. No changing oil patterns. No different weighted balls. Just you, a ball, and a bowling lane for ten frames just like it would be on a Friday night at your local bowling alley. It does, of course, keep track of your high scores and there is a fairly meaningless progression system where you "level up" by performing specific goals, but this is pretty darn bare bones. Not that that is really a problem for $3, though. It does offer a two-player local multiplayer mode, but no online play.

Gameplay

The gameplay is exactly like it is in the full Kinect Sports version. You hold out your hand to either side to pick up the ball, then you perform a normal bowling motion to roll it down the lane. You can apply spin to the ball, but since this is Kinect we're talking about, it isn't the easiest thing to gauge and control, so you're likely better off rolling straight balls. As long as you're consistent, though, you'll be fine. If you naturally spin it every time, or if you naturally throw a straight ball every time, you'll be fine. Just like real bowling, consistency is key. We still think Brunswick Pro Bowling probably has the best bowling gameplay for Kinect (too bad everything else about that game sucks), but for a simple and straightforward game of bowling, there is a lot to like with 10 Frame Bowling.

Graphics & Sound

The presentation is very simple. You use your Xbox 360 Avatar, and the bowling alley is neat looking at least with some cool lighting and effects. The sound is nice, sort of loud (which is cool) bowling sounds. We like that before each game Kinect takes a picture of you (and magically can find your face immediately so you don't have to shimmy around to get your head in a box like so many other Kinect games).

Bottom Line

All in all, 10 Frame Bowling is the best Kinect bowling game around. For just $3 (240 MSP) you really can't complain about much. It plays remarkably well and doesn't have any extra fluff or junk to get in the way. It has a very minimal front end and menu system, so you're in and bowling very quickly. And when you finish one game, you can start another really quickly as well. If you want a solid Kinect bowling title, 10 Frame Bowling is pretty hard to beat.