Show and Tell: Desert Golfing

by | Mar 4, 2015 | Class Activities, Show & Tell

Desert Golfing is a 2D mobile game with one simple mechanic: a golf ball is on the left side of the screen, and the player must drag their finger to swing the ball into a hole on the right side of the screen. The geometry of the course is randomized simple hills, slopes, and valleys. If the ball goes off the side of the screen, it gets reset. Once the player gets the ball into the hole, the screen slides to the left, generating a new hole for the ball to land in. This is endlessly generated, with the player’s score increasing with every hole. That’s the entire game, this one simple mechanic. So why do I keep playing it?

Within five minutes of playing, I could tell that I had seen everything Desert Golfing had to offer.  The next hour I spent playing confirmed this. The Game has a simple aesthetic, with the sky being a solid light orange and the ground being a solid dark orange. The only other objects are the golf  ball and a small flag denoting the hole. The game looks so simple, and this is reinforced by it’s loading. When the player loads the game, it takes them right to the level where they left off. No splash screen, no menu. There’s no music in the game, and minimal sound effects for hitting, bouncing, and respawning the ball. It almost seems as if the game is a prototype instead of a full release, since it’s just a single mechanic, constantly generating new levels to play with that mechanic. But the act of swinging and watching the ball follow your trajectory against the irregularly shaped terrain is compelling enough that the simplicity of the game becomes an advantage. This game is about shooting a ball into a hole by dragging your finger, and it strips away everything to deliver that distilled experience.

The game crashes often on my phone, but due to the ease of jumping back in, that’s not a huge issue. Additionally, the sound effects can become a little grating, but since most mobile games are played with the sound on silent, this isn’t a huge issue either. Overall, Desert Golfing is a great game that utilizes it’s simple mechanic with endlessly generated terrain to offer the player constant new challenges to keep the game entertaining.