In September 2019, indie developer Coin Crew Games announced Battle Bowling, their second release following King of the Road.
Battle Bowling is simple but unique combination of bowling and racing. One to four players can jump in and commandeer their own bowling ball via trackball, rolling through speed bumps and jumps while avoiding obstacles. Whoever hits the pins at the end first is crowned victor.
The game outputs in 9:16 in an attractive and reasonably proportioned upright cabinet. The current build places two players on each cabinet—conjoined by a flashy spectator monitor—meaning operators will need to purchase two units to offer four-player gameplay.
Battle Bowling is currently available to play at Two Bit Circus in Los Angeles, California, an amusement center Coin Crew has worked with previously. The early version showcased at Two Bit Circus offered six race courses, but the final cut will contain nine, according to an official trailer released last month.
Aesthetically, Battle Bowling may as well be any mobile game ever. Even so, it appears in gameplay footage to have been lovingly rendered, with solid polygon-count and framerate all around. (And by golly, it’s full of charm.)
Overall, Battle Bowling is a truly intriguing prospect—one I’d like to try myself as soon as possible. I enjoy how different and new the title feels in a market flooded by same-y, half-hearted garbage. Coin Crew’s zany bowling concept could be something very special.
However, as with anything, I have some reservations. While the game itself seems impeccable, I’m worried a certain profit-driven feature will get in the way of game design.
You knew it was coming…yes, Battle Bowling offers an e-ticket redemption mode for the unscrupulous arcade operators among us. I highly doubt the core gameplay changes significantly in either mode, but there’s always the possibility that the game design was dumbed down to streamline the ticket-dispensing aspect.
Even if the base gameplay is completely identical, tickets or none, I know darn well nearly every FEC operator in the country is gonna switch this dude to ticket mode. Which…would be a bummer. But we’ll see how things go once Battle Bowling hits the broader amusement market later this year.
There’s still plenty of uncertainty regarding Coin Crew’s latest, so I’ll leave it at this: Battle Bowling looks really, really fun. The core idea is positively rife with potential, even if I have minor qualms regarding its…shall we say, “operator friendliness.”
So yes, I’m absolutely looking forward to Battle Bowling. I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Edit 02/21/2020 at 7:05 a.m. CST: A Coin Crew developer confirmed to me that the in-game advertising is merely a means to allow operators to place their logos on minor environmental elements. As such, it no longer concerns me all that much.