What a name! I remember when the label of 3D was thrown around with gay abandon: SWIV 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, Lemmings 3D, Prince of Persia 3D… Polygons were the future, and boy were developers keen to point out that they were using them. Of course, at least most cases of this phenomenon had the good graces to belong to pre-existing franchises, so that proclaiming their 3D-ness was a good way to emphasise the way in which they diverged from their predecessors.
Nowadays the use of the term in a game seems quaint – even on smartphones, the use of 3D graphics is hardly a rarety, so its inclusion seems unusual to draw attention to. Particularly in a game which, well, manages to be quite so plain-looking as Curling3D. Nevertheless, graphics and nomenclature are hardly the most important aspects of a game. What does Curling3D offer for its £2.99 price-point?
Not a lot, as it turns out. Offering one solitary game mode (imaginatively titled ‘Game’), you can play a curling match against the computer, or against a friend. And that’s it. Nothing to unlock, no epic campaign to play through. You can choose your nationality and gender, but the game will only refer to you by your colours outside of the selection screen, making such a decision moot. But perhaps the game makes up for it by being, as it advertises itself, an “Ultra-Realistic, 3D, Curling Simulation”.
But what is curling? For those of you who aren’t fans of the winter Olympics, you may be unaware of the sport, so a brief description. The game goes for the fanciful description of it as “chess on ice”. A fairer description would be “bowls with sweeping”. Simply: there’s a massive target at the end of a lane of ice. You and your opponent take it in turns to lob a stone up said lane, with the team with the closest stone to the centre come the end of the game being the winner. Like bowls, the game is as much about obstructing your opponent as it is about scoring, as the stones are not removed after play, and may be knocked off their line by either player. Things are further complicated by the curlers in charge of sweeping the ice in front of the stone, an activity which either causes it to travel further, or to curl more, depending on the timing of the sweep. This allows for some impressively-angled shots, but Chess it ain’t.
What it is, is supremely easy to implement as a computer game, particularly on a phone. After all, there are very few interactions required: the ability to control the force, spin and direction of the stone, plus the ability to instigate the sweeping of the ice, are the only aspects which players need to be granted control of. Meanwhile, the environment is simple to render, the rules easy to implement, and the game easy to understand.
Which begs the question: why so much money, and why so little extra content? This is not a terrible rendition of the sport, to be sure, but it’s hardly the most compelling, or most packed release, and the pricing just doesn’t match up with the content. It feels, quite simply, lightweight. It’s not even particularly polished: the graphics are plain, with simple animation and many of the character models cloned across the different nationalities. Despite having to deal with very few aspects in a turn-based environment, the controls manage to be frustrating, with the motion for launching the stone being all-too-often misinterpreted as an attempt to choose its rotation.
Whatever Curling3D is, it isn’t worth £2.99. Give it a try if you must, but don’t expect much bang for your buck.
Curling3D Gameplay Video
Version Under Review : 18.104.22.168
There is NO trial version available and the full version is available for $3.99
Our Rating for Curling3D