The Best Bowling Games for PS5
With over 4000 games on the PlayStation Store, it’s natural to expect sports games to take a sizeable portion of that number, and they do. There are a bunch of really good sports games on Nintendo Switch, the Xbox, and PC, as well as the PS5.
However, one sport that has historically been getting very little love from developers, particularly on the PlayStation platform, is bowling.
There has been a serious dearth of real quality or variety in terms of the bowling game options available to PlayStation gamers for a long while. There were a couple of options on PS3 and even fewer on PS4.
With the release of the PS5, nothing really changed. Thankfully, most of the games developed for the PS4 also work on the PS5 as a result of backward compatibility, so you can still enjoy your bowling games – however few there are – on the newer console.
That said, I dug as deep as I could, and was only able to come up with a small number of options for decent bowling games that work on the PlayStation 5.
Technically, this list will show you the best bowling games for PS5, but it’s also pretty much a guide for the PS4 too. Let’s get into it!
Brunswick® Pro Bowling
- Developer: Farsight Technologies Inc., Crave, Alliance Digital Media
- Publisher: Farsight Technologies Inc.
- Release Date: November 24, 2015
Brunswick Pro Bowling was initially released for the Nintendo Wii, PS2, and the PlayStation Portable back in 2007. At the time, PS2 games were all the rave, and developers were churning out new titles all the time.
Since then, it’s been adapted to various platforms with a few significant changes in gameplay.
The best part of the game is its realism. Nice sound effects accompany a realistic spin when you roll your ball, and the way the pins fall and slide when the ball hits them looks pretty real too.
Graphics-wise, there’s not much to see. You choose a character and as the game progresses and you continue to win, you can alter the appearance of that character with a change of clothes to freshen things up.
However, the character does not really participate in rolling the ball, which is slightly disappointing as far as being realistic goes. It just reacts to the result of each throw, and that reaction varies based on the result of the throw.
There are three game modes in Brunswick Pro Bowling: Single, Multiplayer, and Tournament Mode. The Multiplayer mode allows up to three additional teammates at a time, while the tournament mode is a journey where you start off as an amateur and steadily progress to become a professional player over the course of a year in the game.
There’s a lot of stuff to do in the game, which is always nice for ensuring it doesn’t get boring too quickly. Over 200 career achievements are waiting to be unlocked, and long hours of play get rewarded occasionally.
You can also earn coins and use them to upgrade your equipment or unlock new bowling balls that give you an advantage. This makes the whole experience a bit more varied and fun.
Objectively, this is a decent game overall, but it’s nothing special. However, the scarcity of quality in the genre makes this one of the best PS5 bowling games at the moment.
Crazy Strike Bowling EX
- Developer: Corecell Technology
- Publisher: Corecell Technology
- Release Date: June 14, 2016
Crazy Strike Bowling EX was originally released on the PlayStation 3 before getting a PS4 adaptation with an entirely new graphics engine back in 2016.
Corecell Technologies have tried to do something different from your standard bowling alley game. It’s a lot more vibrant and colorful than the others, and it’s anime-inspired.
The costumes and overall anime-vibe of the game make it a unique experience, even though the gameplay itself is fairly standard – you try to hit the bowling pins by gauging the power and accuracy on your throw as well as you can.
You can play alone or with up to three other people, and unlock new locations to bowl in by beating the target scores that you’re given. The locations are more fantasy than realism (who goes to a crystal mine to bowl?!) but this adds some extra flair to the game.
There’s a “versus” mode where you play against one other player and each person tries to knock down the highest number of pin sets faster than the opponent. There’s also a “challenge” mode where you’re given specific scenarios with varying levels of difficulty, but they’re not as innovative as you’d expect.
Again, if this was a gaming category with a ton of options, Crazy Strike Bowling EX probably wouldn’t make the cut for a review of the best PS5 bowling games. However, it’s got more character and is slightly better than Brunswick Pro Bowling in my opinion.
PBA Pro Bowling 2021
- Developer: Farsight Technologies
- Publisher: Farsight Technologies
- Release Date: December 21, 2020
PBA Pro Bowling is probably the best of the lot in this genre of limited choices. It’s no surprise then that you have to pay twice as much as you do for this compared to other bowling games.
With PBA Pro Bowling, FarSight Studios have really fine-tuned many of the things that they didn’t do so well with on Brunswick. There’s a nice blend of good graphics, gameplay, and customization options that make this a solid game overall, even outside of its category.
The game uses the characters of real professional bowlers, and as far as looks go, they’re spot on. These pros also have unique styles of bowling to match how they throw in real life, but that’s something you’ll notice only if you’re a real bowling aficionado.
Gameplay is decent too. You’re not able to change the camera angles, but the default one works well enough. There are different types of lanes with different oil patterns that will affect how accurate your throw will be.
This will take some getting used to as you figure out which types of balls are good for each type of lane, which type of spins work best for each, and the amount of power you need to generate behind each throw. It will take some doing, but it adds to the overall realistic nature of the game.
There is a variety of in-game equipment and bowling balls that you can add to your inventory, and each one has different attributes that make them uniquely useful for specific situations.
In my opinion, this is the best bowling game for PS5.
Whilst this isn’t the most exciting review I’ve ever done, bowling is hardly the most exciting sport. I apologize if you love it and I’ve touched a nerve.
Anyway, if you think my research is not exhaustive enough, or you have a different opinion of the games that I’ve selected, leave a comment and let’s talk about it!