The gameplay of Milo’s Astro Lanes is simple enough to understand: knock down all ten pins ten (eleven if you’re lucky!) times in a row, with two chances before they reset and your score for the round is marked down. These lanes – the things you roll the ball down – have been changed throughout the years, and now that it is the 22nd century it’s possible to bowl in space, on other planets and even in a park. There are two modes, a league mode for a single player to go through each setting the game has to offer and try to beat the computer, earning trophies and completing challenges as you go. There is also a multiplayer mode, where you choose your ball, character and level and compete against up to three other people in space bowling. Utilize eight different power-ups scattered throughout the levels to help yourself or hurt your foes, ranging from a goo ball to a white dwarf.
There are six characters that you can play as: Milo, Ann Droid, Dr. Onuki, Nutian Warbler, Johnny Slamball, and 10 PIN. Each has their own distinct model making it easy for you to tell who you’re playing as in the heat of the moment, but they largely play the same.
There are twelve lanes in total in Milo’s Astro Lanes, five unique settings each with their own bowling alley. They range from a volcano on Venus, to the inside of an alien’s mouth, to a park!
: Hyperspace Express is perhaps the most basic of the Astro Lanes, but it quickly becomes complex. The first incarnation is a simple lane with a short hop, but the second adds bumps and side lanes to the half before the hop. Express III adds a large hole in the center which makes it much harder to get to the pins without a gutter ball.
: How about Venus? Another fairly straightforward level, except the pins are located in an active volcano which regularly erupts and may disrupt your ball with a splash of the magma erupting from the top. Venus II creates a second chasm for you to hurdle and in the third the geometry itself begins to warp, making it hard to traverse the other red planet.
: A lane on a giant alien head’s tongue, this particular level comes in three flavors. The first is very basic, with no obstacles to speak of, but Invasion II brings an alien spaceship to zap the ball (and the tongue!), slowing it down. The alien will bite down on his own tongue in regular intervals, making it harder for you to hit the pins. Invasion III is the same as II but the lane has been shrunk down significantly, giving an added challenge.
: Unlocked in the second tier of the tournament mode, Asteroid Terror is a fairly standard lane with some environmental hazards to beware of. The first version of it just has a short bump in the center and is a straightaway, but the second incarnation has a larger bump and spills out to make a bowl shape, though it’s a bit hard to miss the pins. Both versions come with blue rabbits that pop out and deflect your ball away, Terror II’s version having more places for these bunnies to show up.
: Nebulous Park is only available in the last tier of the levels in the league play. It is a park in space, with a large hill and a tree in the background that houses the pins. The hill is especially problematic in getting the pins to the ball safely, so it’s easy to see why this is reserved for those who have persevered through to the final area.
Throughout the course of the game there are power-ups scattered around the field in the form of colored stars. You can hold one of each star, and use each in an offensive and defensive way; the latter you may only use when it is your opponent’s turn.
: An offensive use of the green star turns it into the turbo ball, which is good for getting your ball out of danger but tends to cause more problems than it solves. Using it on the enemy drops a goo ball, causing it to corrode and eventually disappear.
: Using it on your own ball turns it into a megaball, arguably the strongest power-up in the game. Using it on the enemy turns it into the peaball, making it harder to hit the pins but it’s still possible to hit them so it’s not as useful as some of the powers that stop play completely.
: Using it on yourself replaces your ball with a white dwarf; in effect, it resets the state of your current ball. Using the red star it on the enemy makes their ball bounce with the help of a spring, each getting higher until it eventually bounces into space.
: Using a blue star on yourself creates two clones at your side which is a good defensive use for green, red and blue stars that may be coming at you, as well as making it easier to get easy pins. Using the blue star on the enemy drops a bomb that explodes and destroys the main ball, but leaves all clones alone.