Review: ForeVR Bowling (Oculus Quest)

ForeVR Bowling is my new favourite thing in VR. Not because it’s a perfect simulation of the sport – and I don’t really consider it a sport, me and my mates used to play it while doing whiskey chasers – but because it’s just so much fun and it zones in on the small incidental details as much as it does its fairly robust gameplay systems.

This Review is in Partnership with Pure Play TV, the Official YouTube Partner of The Games Cabin

Video Review: ForeVR Bowling (Pure Play TV)

What is ForeVR Bowling

VR bowling is never going to be quite right. We can simulate shooting a gun with a physical gun stock. You can simulate getting shot with a vibrating body pack. And we can simulate table tennis very, very well, as I noted in our Eleven Table Tennis VR review. Check that out here.

They’re not perfect simulations, mind you, but they’re close enough. Bowling on the other hand will never come quite close, and that’s because it’s a physical sport with a lot more going on than just picking up a ball and swinging it toward the pins.

Those who excel at real life bowling know that there’s a lot more to it. There’s the feel of the ball, the weight, the grip, the size, and more. I’ve even seen some old geezers get on their hands and knees and peer down the lane, trying to work out the best slip lines. They’re probably just looneys, though.,

A game of numbers

You don’t get any of that in ForeVR Bowling. It’s not possible with the super lightweight Oculus controllers. Instead, the game turns to numbers. The balls all have different stats that affect how fast they’ll roll down the lane, how steady they’ll stay on course, and so on. Honestly, though, I didn’t really care much for the numbers side of the game. I’m not a competitive player. I just wanted to play for fun. And fun is what I got.

The fun starts with the soundtrack. I was surprised to find that the game features a whole host of groovy disco tunes, as well as some certified bangers. I loved this. Before I even threw my first ball, I had a boogie to Celebrate Good Times Come On, and after that, I punched my way around to Eye of the Tiger.

It’s a small detial and the game could have easily just gone with some generic license-free tunes, but going to the effort to put in some actual bangers is something I’ll cheer all day. But what if you’re a weirdo and you don’t like the music selection? No problem.

A built-in YouTube Browser

Amazingly, ForeVR Bowling has a built-in YouTube browser. You step away from the lane and head towards the back end and you’ll find a little terminal with YouTube on the screen and a keyboard for you to type your desired tracks. So if you don’t like the music, you can choose your own and turn a night of virtual bowling with the lads into an actual rave. Or you can play What What In the Butt and dace along to that. Each to their own…

Another nice touch to ForeVR Bowling is that there are several venues. As you level up, you unlock new places to play. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care about such a feature in a sports game – I don’t care what the stadium is, I just want to play the sport. But each venue in ForeVR Bowling is unique, well detailed, and worth looking around.

The first venue, the 90s style alley, had a bar. And so desperate I was for some manly interaction, I went up to the bar and replicated buying a beer. I didn’t get a beer, but I got to dance with the cute guy behind the bar. That’s something, right? Don’t tell the mother of my child…

It’s good enough

When it comes to the actual bowling, ForeVR Bowling does a good enough job. It’s never going to be able to replicate the feeling of lobbing a ten pound ball – I don’t think VR will ever get there, to be honest – but it gives it a good go. The tracking is decent enough though, even with the underarm movements.

Thinking about it, there were only a couple of occaisions where I threw the ball and felt the tracking had done me dirty. It was good enough that I, an actual dickhead when it comes to bowling – I tend to just get pissed and ruin it for everybody – managed to get a few strikes. This has happened about three times in real life. Maybe I should try to stay sober when I go bowling… Nah.

Conclusion: Accessible and fun (7/10)

ForeVR Bowling is accessible, easy to play, and most of all, fun. If you just want to pick up and play a few lanes for fun, either by yourself, passing the headset in local multiplayer, or online with mates, you won’t find a better option. Well, you could go to your local bowling alley, but I doubt they’ll let you play What What In the Butt over the music system.

Pros

  • Amazing Soundtrack – one of the best in gaming!
  • Puts on a good game of bowling despite the limitations of VR
  • Local and multiplayer options
  • Lots of unlockables and progression/leaderboards to chase

Cons

  • Treacking can fail occasionally and a reset is required

Total
28
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