Kingpin Lanes Offers Up a Virtual Bowling Alley – iPad Game Review

kingpinlanesKingpin Lanes is a bowling simulation game that’s designed for hard core bowling fans. Because it uses the Unreal 3D engine, Kingpin Lanes has impressive graphics, resembling a real bowling alley, from the lanes down to the included Pro Shop.

In this bowling game, you will use simple, easy touch gestures to bowl. A swipe on the screen allows you to orient the ball, while arrows let you decide where to stand. After choosing a position and an angle, a forward swipe will launch the ball down the lane. The idea, of course, is to score as high as possible with strikes and spares.

While the bowling controls are intuitive, I was unimpressed with the joystick control that allows you to navigate the bowling alley. This seems to have been implemented just for ambiance, because traveling through the building itself and looking for lanes to bowl on is little more than inconvenient.


Accessing the Pro Shop is also done via these navigation controls, and there’s also an arcade you can visit, though you will need cash to play games. I would have preferred quick access buttons.

In the Pro Shop, you can purchase additional balls and mojo, which is used to control the ball after it is launched. Swiping furiously to slightly shift the way the ball is going can save you from ending up in the gutter.

Aside from mojo, there are no power ups or alterations to the main gameplay which means it’s essentially just straight bowling, for 10 frames. I’m going to be honest here – virtual bowling isn’t exactly a riveting sport.

As a non bowling fan, I had little interest in this game. In fact, I kept hoping I’d run into zombies or bad pigs, or something else to mow down instead of stationary bowling pins, because repeating the same action over and over wasn’t holding my attention. Of course, bowling fans will likely have an entirely different opinion.


While there are additional levels that take place in a junkyard, casino, and more, these are only unlocked through scoring high on the regular levels. I would like to see some easier to access options for those of us who are not die hard bowling fans.

You can also play mini games like skeeball, but again, these games can only be unlocked with cash from bowling. Kingpin Lanes touts five fully voiced and animated characters, but I’m not sure if my copy of the game was bugged on the iPad mini – there were no subtitles for the voices which seemed like a huge oversight.

I was also a bit baffled as to why there was no online multiplayer gameplay, which seems like one of the main appeals of a bowling game. All in all, while I was impressed with the visuals of Kingpin Lanes, I felt like it was lacking in several other areas that makes the game unappealing to all but the most stalwart bowling fans.

What I liked: Kingpin Lanes has great graphics that are super realistic. It has the look and feel of a real bowling alley with fantastic ambiance.

What I didn’t like: Gameplay is repetitive and uninteresting and the game also has several bugs that need to be ironed out.

To buy or not to buy: If you aren’t a serious fan of bowling games, I’d probably take a pass on Kingpin Lanes.

  • App Name: Kingpin Lanes
  • Version Reviewed: 1.2
  • Category: Games
  • Developer: Speedbump
  • Price: $1.99
  • Score:

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • Facebook User

    I’m not usually a fan of this type of game, but I admit- it actually looks really fun. I might try it.