Nintendo Switch Sports

Bowling Controls and Tips

Nintendo Switch Sports is available worldwide as of April 29, 2022!
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Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling Tips and Controls

Bowling can be played by up to 16 players in a knockout tournament style in Nintendo Switch Sports. Read on to learn Bowling's controls and mechanics, including tips on how to win!

How to Play Bowling

Bowling General Information

Bowling Overview
Difficulty ★★★
Objective Win the match by scoring enough points to advance to the next round. The player with the highest score will be the winner.
Number of Players Local Multiplayer: 4
Online Multiplayer: 8
Random Matchmaking: 16

All Bowling Bonus Multipliers

Bonus Points/
How to Get
Play Bonus 40 Points Finish the match.
Victory Bonus x1.2 Win the match.
Split Conversion x1.1 Hit the pins far from each other, leading to a Spare.
Ranking Bonus x2 Get the top rank at the end of the match.
Strike Bonus x1.1 Score a strike in the match.
Three-Strike Bonus x1.05 Score three strikes in the match.
Five-Strike Bonus x1.05 Score five strikes in the match.
Five-Spare Bonus x1.05 Score five spares in the match.
Scored 100+ Bonus x1.1 Score 100 points or more in the match.
Scored 200+ Bonus x1.05 Score 200 points or more in the match.

You can earn point bonuses after bowling matches depending on your performance during the game.

Try to get as many strikes as you can and aim to score as high as you can to reach the subsequent rounds. The longer you are in a match, the more points you can get!

All Bowling Modes

Standard Mode

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Play Against Random Players
Standard Mode is your usual round of bowling with no obstacles or special features on the lanes. They follow similar mechanics and rules as regular bowling.

Special Mode

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling Special Mode
Special Mode adds different obstacles and features onto the lanes that may make it more difficult to knock down the pins. These lanes require unconventional techniques to score points, but still follow the same scoring mechanics as standard mode.

You can play this mode locally by selecting Special Mode in the lane type screen. When playing online, however, there is a random chance that the game starts in this mode once you have reached D-Rank and above.

Bowling Special Mode Guides
Special Mode Strategies and Tips Bowling Special Lanes

How to Win in Bowling

How to Win in Bowling

Aim For Strikes

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Aim for Strikes
Always aim for a strike at each round to earn the highest possible score. No one could ever beat you if you get a strike on each round, getting you a perfect score of 300.

Throw Slightly in the Middle

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Aim in the Middle
You will have a higher chance of getting a strike if you aim on the pins in the second row. You can throw it there as hard as you can and add a little spin for a strike.

Make the Ball Curve

Nintendo Switch Sports - Make the Ball Curve.gif
Throwing the ball with a spin just a little can make a huge difference, but it requires a good aim to be effective. You can get a strike or split the pins based on where you aim, so be careful!

If you can master this control, you will be able to get a higher ranking on each match and even take on the special lanes with ease.

Use the Zoom Feature

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Use Zoom Feature
Pressing the top button on the Joy-Con (Up or X button) will make the screen zoom to the pins. Use it to aim properly at the pins you're planning on taking down. It's also great to use in Special Lanes, as they require high-precision throws!

Split Conversion

Nintendo Switch Sports - Split Conversion
There will be times you'll encounter a split, bowling pins non-adjacent to each other after throwing the ball and hitting the pins. To convert it into Spare, aim for one of the pins' outside edge so it can knock over the other one!

Bowling Controls

Actions How to Execute
Throw Swing the Joy-Con upwards using your dominant hand
Throw the bowling ball to roll it on the lane.
Hook Twist the Joy-Con to the left or right
Throw the bowling ball while twisting the Joy-Con to make it spin in a hook-like direction.
Aim Press the left or right directional keys to move to the left or right. Press the Y and A Buttons to rotate.
Change your position before throwing the bowling ball to the lane.

Bowling Scoring System

One Point per Pin

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - One Point Per Pin
The scoring system of bowling in Nintendo Switch Sports is similar to actual bowling. You get one point for every pin knocked over, and you have 2 shots to knock over all 10 pins in a set. You are awarded bonus points for getting either a strike or spare.

Scoring a Strike

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Aim for Strike
You get a strike after knocking over all 10 pins in a set after only a single shot. When this happens, you are awarded 10 points for that round and two extra bonus points from your next 2 shots. If your next two shots are also strikes, you awarded 30 points total for that round.

Example of a Score Sheet with Strikes

1 2 3 4
X - 5 4 X - 2 3
19 28 43 48

Scoring a Spare

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Spare
You get a spare after knocking over all 10 pins in a set on your second shot. When this happens, you are awarded 10 points for that round and one extra bonus points from your next shot.

Example of a Score Sheet with Spares

1 2 3 4
3 / 5 4 5 / 2 3
15 24 36 41

Scoring a Spare or Strike in the Final Frame

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Strike Final Frame

If you score either a spare or a strike in the final frame of the match, you are given 1 or 2 extra balls respectively to throw at the pins. The points you earn from these shots are the bonus points awarded for the spare or strike.

Total of 300 Points

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Total Scores
All in all, you can get a maximum of 300 points in a perfect match of bowling. This happens when you get 12 consecutive strikes, 10 during the match, and the 2 additional strikes afterwards.

Example of a Perfect Score Sheet

7 8 9 10
X - X - X - X X X
210 240 270 300

How to Get 300 Points in Bowling

Bowling Online Play

Play Against Random Players

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Random Players
Enter a knockout tourney in the global matchmaking against other players. You can survive the tournament by scoring and getting a high rank in the match.

Two Players can Participate from the same Nintendo Switch Device

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Play on Same Device
You can play with one more player locally and join the matchmaking together in the same Nintendo Switch device. However, you will need to have an additional Joy-Con for the additional player to join.

How to Play Local and Online Multiplayer

Can You Throw the Bowling Ball Backwards?

You Cannot Throw It Backwards

Nintendo Switch Sports - Bowling - Cannot Throw Backward
Throwing the ball backwards was a beloved mechanic in the original Wii Sports game, and resulted in the ball rolling towards the audience behind the player.

Unfortunately, this mechanic is not making a return in Nintendo Switch Sports. Attempting to do so will only drop the ball to the ground and place it back in your hand.

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