Review: Curling3D


You wouldn't think that Curling would make an absorbing game for Windows Phone, but thankfully the team at MaxNick decided otherwise. Curling3D brings the target game from the ice rink into your Windows Phone handset with a delightful mix of graphics and computer AI, to provide a big gaming challenge.

Author: MaxNick

Version Reviewed:

Buy Link | Download / Information Link

First up, Curling3D is not a fast game. That's not to say that it runs slowly - you can put a huge amount of speed into each stone, and you'll need to sweep in front of it at just the right time to get more distance from each throw you make - but with eight stones to be cast by both players in an end, and the matches scored over ten ends, that's a lot of stones in a regular match. You can shorten this to four ends and four stones in the game settings, but even then these are long matches to play. Thankfully fast app switching is implemented, and if you move to another task on your phone you'll also have the option to continue the previous game if you simply launch the app. Congratulations to MaxNick both for going for a full implementation of Curling, and having the basics of a Windows Phone app all sorted so it just works for the casual game player.

As the name implies, the key to curling is taking your stone, and imparting some spin on it to curl it in towards the target at the other end of the ice rink, threading a path in-between other stones that have already been thrown. Or you could be destructive and try and push stones out of the way.

 Curling 3D Curling 3D

The control system is a three stage process. The first is deciding how much curl, if any, to put on your stone - which is accomplished with a clockwise or anti-clockwise slide of your finger around the stone before you throw it. Throwing is the second stage, and by pulling up from the stone you set not only the power of the throw but also the exact angle along the ice to use.

The final stage is what most people remember curling for - the people with the brooms polishing the ice in front of the stone. This helps tweak the distance, and the smart curler will use a little less power than needed on their throw, allowing the sweepers to polish the ice and increase the distance the stone can travel, thus helping the stone get closer to the eye of the target.

And with those basic controls, you have an intense game that blends the skill needed to throw a stone with the strategy needed to get as many stones as possible closer to the eye than your opponent to increase your score.

MaxNick have put a lot of thought into the Windows Phone interface for Curling3D. Luckily they've not gone for a gimmicky use of the accelerometer, instead going for the on-screen controls that allow a fine grain of accuracy,  which eliminates a lot of guesswork that a weaker interface might provide. They've also got a very smart AI that, while not unbeatable, does provide a strong challenge - of course, part of that challenge is working out your own strategies to play curling (quick hint, put one stone long, behind the target, and tuck another stone at the front to act as a guard, then start bringing in stones from the side and go for the centre of the target).

 Curling 3D Curling 3D

The graphics are also impressive, moving from a 3D side view of the rink to a full overhead view, and then back again as the stone approaches the target. There's a small plan view of the area around target on the side of the screen that you can expand to see where all the stones are. It's also nice to see the bleachers in the stadium, the glass walls, and the advertising banners around the edge of the rink - right now advertising MaxNick, but I wonder if there's a monetisation opportunity there?

Audio is well thought out, at least for the sound effects, with the efforts of the sweepers clearly heard, the sweeping of the brushes, and the applause of the crowd. The less said about the music in the background, the better.

Curling is a minority sport, but I think that Curling3D on Windows Phone will have a far better reach. It's a smart game to play, and very accessible. But it's a subtle game to play, and MaxNick have captured that as well. It's definitely worth looking at the trial version, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Reviewed by at