Knocking pieces of wood -pins- is incredibly fun alongside friends and family. But you don’t need to go outside or get up from your couch to play it. That’s why we’re looking for the best bowling games for PS4 and PS5.
Bowling is a family-friendly game. It has simple rules, easy mechanics, and difficult settings. For example, in real life and in video games, balls come in different weights to fit the strength of children and adults.
If you miss the sport, we’ve compiled a list of bowling games to play by yourself, with your friends, or online.
Selecting Bowling Games for PS4 and PS5
We’re selecting dedicated bowling games, some of the genre’s most popular and refined entries.
Our idea is to find games that properly replicate the thrill of knocking down 10 pins for a perfect Strike. It’s not easy to imitate in video games because there’s a lack of physical feedback.
So, to deliver what’s missing, we’re considering games with features like these ones:
- Different kinds of balls
- Various difficulty settings or AI settings
- Different kinds of lanes
- Creative or even bonker mechanics
- Creative settings
- Colorful worlds
- Interesting premises
However, the amount of dedicated bowling games is few. To make it up, we’re adding other titles that include a fully-fledged bowling experience as a secondary activity.
Best Bowling Games for PS4 and PS5
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder
- Developer: ACE Team
- Publisher: Atlus USA
- Release Date: August 2017
- Platform: PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Windows
Rock of Ages 2 is not exactly a bowling game. Instead, this is a “tower defense” game, where you defeat your enemies with a massive rolling boulder. It’s a surreal title with chaotic gameplay featuring historical events and characters.
You defend from enemy attacks. During the initial moments of a match, you see the entire map in 2D, with a top-down perspective. Once you’re ready, you control a huge rock across the field to knock down the enemies. Moreover, you unlock boulders, weapons, units, and other items you can place in the field.
The ball moves in a full 3D map terrain. You have to avoid obstacles, follow the arrow indications, and crash against enemy forces and positions. The best part is you can play it with four additional people online, which means four boulders on the field.
Lastly, the title features humor akin to Monty Python movies, if you’re familiar. The campaign “turned the humor up to 11,” as you’ll rock & roll through periods against different conquerors. The story comes with animated vignettes, full voice-overs, and era music.
Brunswick Pro Bowling
- Developer: Point of View Inc
- Publisher: Crave Entertainment
- Release Date: August 2007
- Platform: Wii, PS2, PlayStation Portable, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PS4
Brunswick Pro Bowling is the most popular bowling game on PS4. Moreover, it offers a single-player mode which is a career. Then, it has a multiplayer mode where you can play with three extra teammates.
A third mode is a tournament, like the “Career” mode you’d see on other sports games. Here, you start as an amateur and progress slowly to become a professional through yearly seasons.
That said, this is an adaptation of a PlayStation Move title. The “Move” was a peripheral you needed to run titles, akin to how the Wii delivered its Wii Sports titles. However, Pro Bowling lets you play it with the regular controllers and an intuitive scheme.
Lastly, the pins, the ball, the scenarios, and the mechanics are realistic-to a point. Here’s where the currency system comes into play. Some game modes allow you to earn currency to buy and upgrade your equipment, Brunswick clothing, and “powered balls.”
PBA Pro Bowling 2021
- Developer: Farsight Studios
- Publisher: Farsight Technologies Inc.
- Release Date: December 2020
- Platform: Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
You may have not heard about it, but PBA Pro Bowling is the officially licensed video game that goes alongside bowling. Think of it as the FIFA equivalent for soccer (football).
It’s a straightforward bowling game. So, the gameplay is about launching balls down the lane to nail a perfect score (300 is a perfect score). You can play alone, with up to 4 players locally, or with two additional players online.
The gameplay aims for realism. You play in third-person perspective, but the character is close to the screen. You position the character on the lane, apply force, and throw the ball.
You play in stadiums as if you were on a tournament tour. And as you play, you’ll hear a narrator talking about the match. You’ll also see repetitions of your shots and the AI’s shots.
Crazy Strike Bowling: EX
- Developer: Corecell Technology
- Publisher: Corecell Technology
- Release Date: May 2016
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS3
Crazy Strike Bowling: EX is a bowling game with exotic alleys and cute anime characters. The overall design is vibrant, colorful, and very appealing.
The style and gameplay are also reminiscent of Wii Sports. The mechanics are easy to grasp: you position your character, aim your shots, and put some power into the throw.
Before joining a match, though, you can select one of the anime-style characters. You also select one of the available environments, like the Egyptian Pyramids or the Amazonia jungle. Each area presents perks; for example, ten penguins are the pins on one of the maps, but they move if you take too long.
Lastly, each character has a special skill to further spice up the experience. These abilities are downright fun rather than game-breaking. That said, this game is offline-only.
Carnival Games (Bowling)
- Developer: Cat Daddy Games
- Publisher: 2K Play
- Release Date: November 2018
- Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch
Carnival Games is a party title you can play alone or with up to four players locally. There’s no online feature, so the AI can fill the empty slots if there’s no one to play with.
The title offers a series of minigames and challenges you can face repeatedly. It has classical carnival games like hoops, shooting ranges, rances, pinballs,s and more.
One of the minigames is bowling. Every player plays in real-time in a cosmic alley. You select the direction and the strength and see the results. Each player has the scoreboard in the front, and, at the end of the match, you’ll see who the winner is.
Lastly, you can gain in-game currency on any minigame. Then, you can buy new suits for the characters and guest characters. It allows you to customize looks with hats, shirts, pants, and more.
- Developer: Sabec Limited
- Publisher: Sabec Limited
- Release Date: November 2019
- Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch
Sabec’s bowling game is as simple as you’d expect from a cheap and small bowling game. But it’s fun, easy to play, and great to share with your family.
As usual, the goal is knocking down the pins. Achieving perfection is a matter of understanding how strength and position work. You’ll achieve a perfect score if you can craft the perfect shot and do it all the time.
There’re no characters here. Instead, you play with an aerial view. Each player takes turns to position the ball on the lane, select the force, and throw it. You can play it alone, or you can play against another player.
The scoreboard is always at the top of the screen, making it easy to see how the match develops. Also, you may see other balls rolling on nearby lanes. The latter is the only immersion element, as there’s no music and hardly any sound effects in the title.
Tekken 7 – Ultimate Tekken Bowl DLC
- Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
- Release Date: August 2017
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Fighting games often deliver various minigames, game modes, Easter Eggs, and other amenities. Tekken 7 is no exception, as it has two separate game modes you can try.
One of these is Tekken Force, which turned the title into a 3D/2D beat ’em up. Tekken Ball is perhaps the most iconic minigame in the history of the series. There’re various Tekken Ball entries, but the best one is the seventh entry, which is available as a DLC.
You can Tekken Ball play against the AI or against another player on split-screen. There’s no online mode. Then, you pick a character and a mode. There’s a normal mode and a “Heihachi Balls” mode, which grants players a “laser sight” to knock down the “Heihachi” pins.
The gameplay is as you’d expect. Each character takes turns throwing the ball. You aim your shot and time a couple of timers to customize the curve and the power. And if you put too much power into your shot, the character will dive headfirst into the lane.
Yakuza 0 (Match Bowl Minigame)
- Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
- Publisher: Sega
- Release Date: March 2015
- Platform: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Windows, Amazon Luna
The Yakuza series is popular because of its staggering amount of side content. When you deviate from the main story, you can enjoy fully-fledged activities full of humor, rewards, side quests, and creative mechanics.
In Yakuza 0, one of those minigames is bowling matches in Kamurocho, past the Theater Square Alley. It features a standard bowling alley plus a side quest. Also, the location is pretty elegant, with some nice music where you can relax from all the beating the story includes.
The gameplay is simple. You position your character on the lane and aim your shot with arrows. Finally, you select your power from a timer and watch the results. In particular, a challenge and a sub-story in the alley unlock a hidden character.
The hidden character is Nugget, an ordinary chicken. After finishing the side quest, you can assign Nugget as the manager of one of your real estate businesses. It’s one of the many hilarious elements in the series.
GTA V Online (Hillbilly Bowling)
- Developer: Rockstar North
- Publisher: Rockstar Games
- Release Date: October 2013
- Platform: Windows, PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series
GTA V is another game full of side content. Even more so on GTA V Online, as it’s a growing behemoth of insane activities, heists, and leisures. One of these is Hillbilly Bowling.
It’s nothing like typical bowling, but it’s crazy fun. Instead of wooden pins, you have to knock down players -“waste” them- to achieve victory. It’s an online game, though, and it supports up to 16 players.
On the one side, you’d be at the top of a very large slide. Then, you get into one of the vehicles, like a truck, a plane, a car, or even a bike. And finally, you drive down the slide to knock down the others, waiting at the other end of the platform.
And at the other end, players await on a field full of explosives and weapons. They can use a rocket launcher to stop the incoming vehicles. They can also dodge the vehicles as they come and then explode them with rockets. The result determines the match’s winner.
Bowling – Breakthrough Gaming Arcade
- Developer: Breakthrough Gaming LLC
- Publisher: Breakthrough Gaming LLC
- Release Date: November 2021
- Platform: PS4
This is an arcade 2D game, making it much easier and cheaper than others on the list. It’s a Christian title, part of the “Bible Video Game Sundays” series by Breakthrough Gaming.
That means you’ll see biblical messages every so often, like Proverbs. Also, it means there’s not much to play here, as this is instead an educational tool for kids. It may be good for you if you have a son or a daughter.
The gameplay is about launching a large ball against the 10 pints. You only select the direction of the ball and let it roll. You gain points for the number of pins you destroy and how fast you play.
The main game mode is about reaching a set score. You have three rounds to reach the number of points the game asks. If you fail, you need to start over. Because of how you earn scores, you need to play faster and faster.