We can certainly see why the decision was made to bring Brunswick Pro Bowling to the Wii. The bowling in Wii Sports was great, but those who wanted a more indepth bowling game had no alternatives. Enter Crave with Brunswick Pro Bowling for the Wii. Brunswick Pro Bowling isn't the first Brunswick bowling title but we do hope it is the last. Rather than keep the simple controls of the bowling found in Wii Sports, Crave has added a severe dose of complexity to bowling. In fact, they made things complex and then added even more difficulty. This means that if the bowling in Wii Sports was a strike (or even a spare) then the bowling in Brunswick Pro Bowling is a gutterball.
When starting up Brunswick Pro Bowling most players will head to the quick play option, simply to get a feel for the controls in the game. Wrong move. It is immediately appararant that the controls are difficult when you go to bowl your first ball, or at least try to, as most players will be left standing on the spot trying to work out how to get the ball to go down the lane. See, the controls are a little more difficult in Brunswick Pro Bowling than in Wii Sports. Before pressing B and starting the player animation you'll need to select the alignment and angle for your shot by twisting the Wii remote, you then need to move the Wii remote up to your chest. Once this is done you'll need to push B and the player animation begins and the ball bowls down the lane. As if this isn't enough complexity pressing 2 on your Wii remote will bring up a display which shows which parts of the lane are faster or slower. We're all for intricate details in the game but 90% of the Wii audience that takes a look at this game will quite simply be looking for an extension of Wii bowling.
The bowling system just ends up feeling clumsy and seems different for the sake of being difficult. The bowling system is very tough but does eventually grow on you, it just takes a while and those who want a more complex bowling game will probably enjoy the extra complexity found in Brunswick Pro Bowling. There is however little doubt that the Wii controls have simply been shoehorned into the game at the last moment. Quite often it ends up feeling like there is no link between the action you make with your Wii remote and the way the ball rolls on the screen.
One of the more redeeming features of Brunswick Pro Bowling is the career mode. The career mode starts you off as a lower skilled bowler and the general idea is to win tournaments to gain experience points. These experience points can be used to improve the skills of your player. Along the way you'll also earn money which can be used to purchase clothing and of course new bowling balls. Overall, the career mode is rather lengthy and requires a significant investment from the player, but the career mode does offer something that the bowling in Wii Sports doesn't.
The "ported from the PlayStation 2 to the Wii because of its overnight success" feel of Brunswick Pro Bowling continues with the graphics and overall presentation of the game. Everything feels basic and bare bones and even though bowling alleys aren't exactly huge the detail in the alleys isn't all that impressive, in fact as a bowler in the career mode you will travel to several bowling alleys around the world, but most of the areas just end up looking very similar. If the generic look of the game isn't enough to have most players rolling their eyes back, the silly animations that come up when you get a spare or a strike will push players over the edge, these animations aren't cute, they're just extremely annoying. The sound fares no better either, sure you'll hear the bowling balls hit the lane and err... no that's about all you will hear. Dull.
In terms of lifespan, Brunswick Pro Bowling's career mode will last quite a long time, but most players won't find Brunswick Pro Bowling as the ideal multiplayer game. Our experience showed most players would rather try their hand at the bowling found in Wii Sports rather than Brunswick Pro Bowling, simply because Brunswick isn't aimed at mothers or children, just hardcore bowling fans who have been following the Brunswick titles for a while now.
When one thinks of the ideal bowling game for the Wii, it consists of about 90% of the bowling found in Wii Sports and 10% of the bowling found in Brunswick Pro Bowling. With an indepth career mode, the ability to improve your character and the option to purchase equipment using in-game cash Brunswick Pro Bowling could have been an easy recommendation. Unfortunately the cheap feel of the game and the overly complex controls mean Brunswick Pro Bowling is only really recommended to those who will persist with the game and those who want a more indepth single player bowling experience, most other people are best left to the bowling game found in their free copy of Wii Sports.