In early 2013, WildTangent Studios released its first mobile game: Polar Bowler 1st Frame. A lighthearted bowling simulation, it starred a polar bear named “PB” and his penguin sidekick “J.”
That brings us to today: National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. In celebration of this tasty holiday, WildTangent has just launched the full sequel to 1st Frame, simply titled Polar Bowler. The new game features a vastly expanded array of fantasy-themed arctic bowling courses and special inner tubes for PB to wear as he crashes through pins. It sure beats strapping on rental shoes in a bowling alley!
Polar Bowler dares to do things a little differently from traditional bowling games. Instead of rolling a ball down a lane, players actually slingshot the inner tube-bound polar bear across the icy lanes. Just aim PB by tapping left or right on the screen, pull back, and watch him go. After launching PB, you’re still free to steer him to the left and right until he runs out of momentum.
The extra degree of controls helps a lot, because Polar Bowler’s whopping 75 courses are much larger and more complex than a real-life bowling lane. They often contain multiple twists and turns, extra-slick patches of ice, pushable ice blocks, tunnels, and even Sonic the Hedgehog-style loops. The more expansive courses can be a lot to take in; thankfully a tap of the camera button lets players pan around in the overhead view before launching shots.
Coins, crates, and tubes
Polar Bowler is not a free to play game at launch, but it does contain some relatively unobtrusive In-App Purchases (IAPs). These center around the game’s special tubes, which give PB powers like magnetism or hovering in the air.
Before each shot, players can elect to use a special tube from their inventories or purchase one with coins earned from completing courses. You don’t have to use special tubes to complete a course (as far as I know), but they do prove necessary to perfect some of the levels.
As for the In-App Purchases, the game’s store sells five crates for 99 cents and coin packages in various quantities.
The good kind of turkey
Bowling games are usually pretty fun but lacking in flair. Polar Bowler breaks from that mold by offering unusual and complex course design, almost like a puzzle game. The graphics look great, with lots of colors and cute outfits and animations for PB and his penguin pal J. The only part of the game that fails to stand out is the soundtrack, which sounds too generic and mellow for my ears.
If you like bowling or puzzle games, Polar Bowler hits all the right pins.
- 99 cents – Download Now
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Paul started writing about games in 2003 with his first strategy guide (Bomberman Land 2) for GameFAQs. He continued writing guides while earning his B.A. in Literature. When Windows Phone launched in late 2010, the Xbox integration lead our hero to jump on board the platform. He joined Windows Phone Central as Games Editor at the beginning of 2011, going on to review over 125 mobile Xbox titles over the years. He now leads Windows Central's Xbox One coverage, personally specializing in developer interviews, indie games, controllers and accessories, and Twitch broadcasts. Paul loves games on all platforms; he goes where the games are. Although very busy with console coverage, he sometimes contributes gaming articles to iMore and Android Central.