Bowling is a great game to play. Being in the bowling alley picking out your shoes, feeling the ball, and just being around people. Then when it’s your turn to bowl, you have the pins lined up in your sights, you know you cannot miss, you release the ball only to either put too much, not enough or just the right amount of pins and hopefully knock down some pins. Or all of that happened, the alley is too oiled up and you receive nothing but the gutter ball hall of fame reward that matches all your hopes and dreams in life. Either way, it’s a good time to be had. But does developer ForeVR Games shows us what it’s like to bowl without the need to rent shoes, be in a smoke-infested bowling alley, and have fun while playing with others? Yes…yes they do in every way. Let’s find out with ForeVR Bowl for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
ForeVR Bowl is a bowling game that allows you to bowl solo, with friends, or join random online games as you bowl in a variety of alleys, unlock collectible bowling balls, and all while providing you the fun to do it in. So before you go in throwing your balls around and hoping to bowl that perfect game, there are some things that you will want to do first.
When you first start the game, you are welcomed to the game where you get to learn the basics of bowling and are given 3 default balls with each one having its own special type of mechanic. The Red is all-natural, the Sting Ray has some good speed, and the yellow one seems to be the heavier of the three. Don’t think that using the default bowling balls is not good, they are and I have found that at least for me, they are reliable when you need them.
You start with a default avatar. If you have not messed with the new Oculus Avatars 2.0, within the ForeVR Bowl game of the main lobby, if you turn around, you will see a wall that has your info such as Achievements, Stats, Icon & Name, and then Change Avatar. Going through the game to make your avatar was as simple as can be and feel free to spend as much time as you would like.
Once you have your avatar as you would like, it’s time to back into the game, and go to Settings. This will allow you to adjust things like the Music, Sound FX, Voice, and even Show the Oil Pattern for the game. From the lobby, you have different options to select from. To your left is where the Pro Shop is and will show the bowling balls that you currently have and the ones that you can unlock. You unlock them by earning coins and reaching certain levels. Each ball is different and has a different weight and style. I am personally saving up my coins for the Alien Head bowling ball.
To the wall behind you when you first join the lobby and where you can change your avatar, is also your trophy wall where you earn different trophies for doing different things in the game like getting a spare or a strike for your first time. To the right, is the leaderboards for both global and local which is nice to see. In the center is where you can select your game options which are Single Player, Multiplayer to play online with others in real-time, Pass and Play where you can share your Oculus Quest/Quest 2 headset with up to 8 players, and then Spare Practice where you can try and perfect your throw on any pin configuration.
Once you have played some single-player games to get used to bowling a few frames, it’s time to jump into the multiplayer and I will say this is where the fun really is. When you join the first alley, Forever 90’s Hall, you will automatically get that sense of the bowling halls you have visited, but without the smoke and other things like food. There are NPCs within the game that help fill the space and are programmed to ignore you, so it’s not you if they don’t communicate back, it’s them. Along with the atmosphere is some music that is pretty good from Don’t Fear the Reaper, I Want You To Want Me, and even The Final Countdown to name a few, and will continue to play on in a loop. After each game, to your left, are the leaderboards that are updated in real-time which is pretty cool once you start getting the higher scores and seeing your name on the board.
But the fun keeps going on when you get players who start talking and just enjoying the game.
As of right now, there are about six different alleys to bowl in. We have the Forever 90’s Hall, Lunar Lanes, Studio 300 (with its own dance floor that yes, you got it, you can actually go on the dance floor and dance if you want to), your own private Palms alley where you can also go outside, a Tiki-themed alley where the sunset completes the atmosphere, and the World Champion Alley full of NPCs cheering you on along with some gigantic speakers to boost up the sound.
Now, normally in bowling, you will get up to the marker and try to knock down all the pins to get a strike. And just like in real bowling, sometimes the oil can and will make a difference along with the weight of the ball, how many spins you put on the ball, along with the speed that you are throwing the ball. And just like in real bowling, all that plays in the game as it does here. ForeVR Games have nailed down the bowling mechanics from the spinning to the speed to make sure you selected the right bowling ball (which you can change after each game if you go back into the lobby) to just having the fun of social interaction. But like with regular bowling, you will want to stand and have some room as you don’t want to hit any furniture, walls, people, pets, computers, or TVs. But I decided I was going to go with a new technique where I sat down and throw the bowling ball overhand and let me tell you, I was able to get quite a few strikes and spares and see that ball’s spin at the right moment. It was and is a blast to play.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Being inside ForeVR Bowl and seeing the amount of detail that not only went into each alley, but each of the over 100 customizable bowling balls, the clarity of being able to read the names and the score, ForeVR Games has done a fantastic job here all the way around. Seeing the black lights of Studio 300 and then being able to have a dance floor with all the lights changing just is an awesome touch. Listening to the sound as you hear the ball hit the pins and even when you think you have that strike lined up the ball spins to hit only one pin and hearing that distinct sound, really again, shows the amount of hard work and detail that was put in. Then when you get into alleys like the Forever 90s Hall and hearing full songs just makes you think how far the developer is willing to go and I can’t wait to see where they go with everything.
When I first started playing, there was a couple of things I wish were added. For one, yes, hearing the songs and the music is awesome and does help give that bowling atmosphere. But what about the ability to hear additional songs? Then I was thinking what about adding holiday-themed lanes and bowling balls. Then I had an idea of somehow incorporating Uber Eats into the mix where you could actually order food from within the game and then see the tracking of where your food was. I can’t say for sure what is coming or when, but just understand that the developer is continuously working on the game and I am sure new and exciting features will be coming before we know it.
ForeVR Bowl sets the foundation, the level, and then raises the bar to a new higher standard. It gives us the ability to bowl from home and surrounds us with the bowling atmosphere while playing with others in real-time while having some fun doing it. It allows us and challenges us to become better than who we are with every strike that we try to throw in life. In a world where the uncertainty of the unknown is around us, isn’t it good to know we always have a place that we can go to that is safe and not be afraid to show some competition whole having a good time doing it?
ForeVR Bowl is out now for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on the Oculus Store. A review code was provided.
To learn more about ForeVR Games, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, join them on Reddit, follow them on Twitch, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more bowling to do, players to meet, and need to get that Alien Head bowling ball.