Strike 'em down with Ninepin Bowling for Windows Phone 8
Ninepin Bowling is a 3D bowling game for your Windows Phone 8 device. It's a nicely animated, somewhat challenging game for those wanting a break from the 10-pin bowling games.
Ninepin Bowling is a fun game for your Windows Phone but it does have a little room for improvement. The one issue that may hold this game back the most is the lack of a trial version.
Where 10-pin bowling has ten pins arranged in a triangle pattern, 9-pin bowling has you facing nine pins arranged in a diamond pattern. You play in rounds to knock down the most pins. Scoring is based on the total pins fallen. You do have strikes but, unlike 10-pin bowling, you do not have spares.
You can earn ten bonus points by scoring a Crown or Ring by knocking all the pins down but the center (known as the Kingpin). You also earn extra points by only knocking down the Kingpin and if you fail to knock any of the pins downs (referred to as a Poodle) you lose a pin.
Ninepin Bowling supports up to nine players in a pass/play game. You can also increase the number of rounds and number of balls thrown per round.
Game play with Ninepin Bowling is simple. You can slide the ball's position in the lane and when set, just swipe at the screen in the direction you want the ball to travel. Unlike other bowling games, Ninepin Bowling is played in horizontal orientation. It gives you a wider view of things and does help with the 3D graphics a bit.
Ninepin Bowling isn't a shabby game and while it has nice graphics and animations, there is room for improvement. First, there are no settings or help section for the game. Settings would be nice to mute the game sounds. While the Store description does a nice job of detailing the game, it would be nice to be able to access the same from within the game.
The other areas of improvement deal with game play. You can't tap to skip the animations or transition screens to speed things up (e.g. skip the ball return, pin re-setting, etc.). Let's face it. Watching the ball return or the pins reset is neat the first few times but there are times you want to skip right to the meat of the game and bowl.
Also, the physics engine that drives your rolls tends to drift to the right more times than not. I could slide my finger fairly straight but the ball drifted to the right, scoring plenty of Poodles along the way.
Ninepin Bowling has potential, the game does grow on you and it's a nice change of pace from the 10-pin version of bowling. While there is room for improvement, the one issue that may hold this game back the most is the lack of a trial version. You may not like 9-pin bowling and having three rounds of play in a trial to let you see first hand before buying would be nice.
If you're looking for a decent bowling game, Ninepin Bowling is currently running $.99 and you can find it here in the Windows Phone Store.
Update: In checking the game's listing just a minute ago, Ninepin Bowling is now a free game for your Windows Phone 8 device. We aren't sure if this is a temporary price reduction or a permanent one.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.