Bowling is one of five sports in Wii Sports and Wii Sports Club, in addition to being one of several sports for Wii Sports Resort and Nintendo Switch Sports. The object of the game is to use the bowling ball to knock over as many pins as possible in your designated lane with two rolls, by rolling the ball along the wooden floor of the lane. The rules are very similar to the real-life game of ten-pin bowling, only slightly simplified.
There are 10 rounds, with 2 bowls per round. To throw the bowling ball, the player presses while swinging the remote up, and then releases it. Before the player throws, they can adjust the angle and positioning of the ball. Pressing Down on the changes between angle and left/right adjustment, and pressing Left and Right adjusts them. Pressing Up zooms the screen in to get a closer look at the pins, although attempting to throw will zoom the screen back out. Similar to real bowling, if the player takes 2 bowls to knock over all the pins, they get a spare. If the player knocks over all 10 pins on the first bowl of a turn, they get a strike, and do not get a second bowl on that turn. The exception to this is the last turn, where the pins will reset after a strike, and the player can go again. If the player gets strikes consecutively, they have different names. The names are as follows:
- Eight in a row
- Nine in a row
- Ten in a row
- Eleven in a row
The maximum possible score is 300. The maximum possible bowling skill is 2213. Other Miis on the system, whether default Miis, player-created Miis, or Miis from the Mii Parade, spectate the game from the audience, and sometimes bowl themselves in other bowling lanes. If the player holds the in a direction, they get a blue ball (by holding up), pink ball (by holding left), green ball (by holding down) or gold ball (by holding right) and multiple players can have the same colored ball. If the player doesn’t hold a direction, their ball color is blue as P1, pink as P2, green as P3 or gold as P4.
Wii Sports Resort
The game now uses the Wii Motion Plus for more accurate throwing. 100 Pin Bowling and Spin Control are added as modes and players can now use automatic throwing, where they swing the Wii Remote without holding .
Wii Sports Club
In Wii Sports Club, Bowling remains largely unchanged from its appearance in Wii Sports Resort. Nearly all modifications are cosmetic, and no notable gameplay changes are present.
Nintendo Switch Sports
Bowling in Nintendo Switch Sports takes place within a supposed dedicated bowling complex. The lanes are located in a large, open building, decorated with plants. In the background, Sportsmates can be seen walking around small shops in the building.
Players can chose between Standard or Special lanes. Standard plays like a typical game of Ten-pin Bowling, while Special adds obstacles to the lane. If playing with more than one player, the players can select to take turns or play simultaneously. Simultaneous play significantly decreases play time, as all players bowl at once, and may continue to the next bowl without waiting for other players. However, players may not advance to the next round until all players finish that round.
Play with Friends
Play with friends plays the same as local play.
2-player simultaneous splitscreen is supported.
In Play Globally mode, players compete in a new version of Bowling called Survival Bowling. In this new mode, 16 players compete in the usual 10 bowling frames, but they are divided into four rounds (Round 1, Round 2, Semifinals, and Finals). At the end of each round, players with lower scores get eliminated, while the surviving players move on to the next round. The player with the highest score by the Finals wins the game.
To make it to the Pro League of this sport, the player needs to avoid getting eliminated from the first round for 10 matches. In Pro League, Special Lanes appear, which add hazards to the bowling lane. Special Lanes appear more frequently the higher the player's rank is.
Nintendo Switch Sports
- There are several easter eggs in Wii Sports:
- If the player swings the bowling ball backwards, the audience spins around and laughs.
- If the bowling ball is thrown far enough to one side, it goes into the adjacent lane, and the audience will laugh. The ball will not knock over the pins in that lane.
- Miis with pro skill will have their ball decorated with stars.
- Bowling and Golf are the only sports to be featured in all Wii Sports games.