Out Now: ‘Ava Airborne’, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’, ‘MLB Manager 2018’, ‘Simon the Sorcerer’, ‘Salad Hunt’, ‘Golfing Over It’, ‘Merge Gems!’, ‘Trick Shot 2’, ‘Woodways’, ‘Shot Online Golf’ and More

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

It’s time once again to round up all the best new iOS game releases of the past 7 days. As is the case with mobile, I’m still struggling to keep up with all the new games that launched last week, and the week before, and the week before that, and… you get the idea. This week is certainly not one to play catch-up with, as there’s tons of great stuff hitting the App Store this week. Ava Airborne is the latest from the makers of Hopiko and PKTBALL, and it’s an absolute gorgeous experience. Then there’s the long-awaited game adaptation of Ken Follett’s 1989 novel The Pillars of the Earth, and iOS ports of the ’90s point-and-click adventure series Simon the Sorcerer. Truly an eclectic week! So check out the full list of games below and let us know which ones you’ll be picking up.


 

Ava Airborne

iTunes Description

Ava believes she can fly. Immerse yourself in this thrilling journey across a beautiful yet hazardous skyline. Weave between giant bomb-balloons, dive into turbo-charged catapults, bounce off trampolines and launch up into the clouds. Just never touch the floor.

Defy gravity. With style.

Lovingly crafted by the multi-award winning British indie studio Laserdog, Ava Airborne lets you master the sky with anything you can find: cardboard wings, rocket-propelled boots, an old umbrella, or even a jet-fuelled trombone.

Forum Thread: Ava Airborne (by Laser Dog/Playstack)


Big Kidd Games: Farm Life

iTunes Description

Farm Life is a fast paced survival farming game. Find tools in the shed; farm, eat, kill, and stay alive.

Forum Thread: Big Kidd Games: Farm Life (by Rickey Darren Hottage)


Bio Block

iTunes Description

Take control of a fork lift in an unstable environment in an all new puzzle game

Experience a new type of puzzle game with over 60 challenging levels

Simple one touch controls and fantastic graphics!

Lift and move blocks, raise platforms, use lift and avoid enemies!

360 degree camera controls allow you to explore each visually beautiful level

Install and try this new puzzle game now!

Forum Thread: Bio Block (by Entity3 Limited)


Blocky Snakes

iTunes Description

Why did the snake cross the road?
Wait, that’s another story…

But now, get ready to hop into the world of the BLOCKY SNAKES!

A funny, challenging 3D game, where you can relive your memories with a classic hit! Slither through your way in a maze of obstacles! Eat fruits and frogs to be the biggest snake and gain more score! Dash through breakable blocks, deactivate traps! Collect coins and play with the Snake Crane to win new characters!

Forum Thread: Blocky Snakes (by Csaba Szilagyi)


Dame Tu Cosita Challenge

iTunes Description

Dance be in the groove and show your best dancing moves. Green Alien is attacked by raining bombs. How long can you survive this mayhem.

Simple game play avoid the bombs and collect the coins. Progress through the challenging levels and try to be the best dancing green alien in this galaxy.

Forum Thread: Dame Tu Cosita Challenge (by Volkan Kutlubay)


DanMachi – Memoria Freese

iTunes Description

Join millions of fans of the fantastically popular anime – “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” – in its first-ever fully-localized mobile RPG, Memoria Freese!

Memoria Freese transports you to the world of Orario where you can build your own powerful team to battle through a sprawling dungeon! Play in a dynamic timeline that changes everything from environments to character dialogue depending on the time of day you play!

Forum Thread: DanMachi – MEMORIA FREESE (by Ellation, Inc.)


Dungeon of Minos

iTunes Description

Move dungeon maze with your finger!
Can you avoid the minotaurs?
Includes over 100 stages and boss attack!

Clear in 1st move for 3 stars!
or 2 moves? 3 moves? It’s ok, you can clear!

Explorer & minotaurs moves the same way.
Let’s connect the path to guide the explorer!

Forum Thread: Dungeon of Minos (by seonghoon lym)


Escape & Avenge

iTunes Description

You’re trapped in the dungeon of a medieval town. The king imprisoned you and killed the wizard–your magical friend and accomplice–for trying to overthrow the crown. At least that’s what the note on the wall says. You can’t remember anything, including who you are or how you got here. Can you escape the dungeon, return to the castle, and avenge your friend’s death?

Forum Thread: Escape & Avenge (by HangZone)


FireworkDigCat

iTunes Description

Digging hard
Collect minerals!

Make wonderful fireworks with minerals
Try your own special experience.

Forum Thread: Firework DigCat (by 3cat games)


Golfing Over It

iTunes Description

· Golf your way up to the top of a surreal mountain.
· Listen as Alva explains why he made such a cruel game.
· Fall all the way back to the bottom.
· And if you manage to get to the top?
· Will that make you feel good?
· Will you feel that it’s all been worth it?
· I think you will.

Based on 2017’s hit “Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy”.
Bennett Foddy himself has played this game and has given it his blessing.

Forum Thread: Golfing Over It (by Carlos Navarro Estrella)


Grow Survivor

iTunes Description

You are a survivor of the Apocalips.
Hunt the Zombies and study vaccines and save the world

Pixelstar’s Clicker game ‘ Grow Survivor ‘ has arrived!

Simple manipulation!! And addictive!

Click on the screen to kill the zombies.

Gather Materials to Craft Weapons!

Forum Thread: Grow Survivor (by PIXELSTAR)


Hedgehogs Commandos

iTunes Description

World of Hedgehogs in danger. War is comming.
Spiteful UFOs seized the hedgehog commune. Four hedgehog fighting commandos will not give them any chance to destroy it.

Be the fifth member of the team. Destroy alien’s bases! Save your friends!

Use the commandos’ features to seize and destroy aliens’ bases.
You won’t be able to clean the commune from hateful aliens without rationality, speed and agility.

Forum Thread: Hedgehogs Commandos (by Alexander Bogachev)


Kansen

iTunes Description

Inspired by ataxx and hexxagon games, the goal of the game is to make your pieces constitute a majority of the pieces on the board at the end of the game, by converting as many of your opponent’s pieces as possible.

There are three game modes in Kansen: Online, Hotseat, against AI.

Forum Thread: Kansen (by Geeky Raccoons)


Luft: Onward and Upward

iTunes Description

Try and make your way off a planet with a tragic history in this platformer that takes advantage of the touch screen for controls. Collect gems and unlock new characters for new ways to play. How high can you make it?

Forum Thread: Luft: Onward and Upward (by Legion Works Games LLC)


Merge Gems!

iTunes Description

Merge Gems! gives you the power to merge rocks into beautiful gems! Merge and match rocks, gold and more and enjoy the sparkle and shine of gems.

The concept of the game is simple – you’ve got a box of gems, and your only objective is to match and merge them to make them as splendid as possible. Every so often, you’ll be gifted a new gem – and the faster you tap on the ​box at the bottom of the screen, the faster the gems will appear. Start matching the same rocks and gems and find the diamonds in the rough!

Forum Thread: Merge Gems! (by Gram Games)


MLB Manager 2018

iTunes Description

Guide your favorite Major League Baseball franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2018, officially licensed by MLB and the MLBPA, is based on the award-winning Out of the Park Baseball series.

MLB Manager 2018 features a living world that uses the same realistic simulation engine found in Out of the Park Baseball, the best-selling and best-rated baseball management game of all time. Each MLB team in the game features its actual 40-man projected 2018 Opening Day roster. The player ratings are based on the ZiPS player projection system created by famous baseball analyst Dan Szymborski.

Forum Thread: MLB Manager 2018 (by Out of the Park Developments)


Monster RPG 3

iTunes Description

Monster RPG 3 is a fantasy old-school/Japanese-style Role Playing Game (JRPG.) Monsters have reawakened in the land, and two friends are on a mission to find the source. Along the way they’ll meet some interesting characters and fight in turn-based battles. Unique Vampire attacks complement the classic-style combat. A chip-tune soundtrack synthesized in real time sets the tone as the heroes save the day in unconventional fashion.

Forum Thread: Monster RPG 3 (by Nooskewl)


OIL

iTunes Description

OIL is a game about digging for oil in early 1900’s America. It’s a two player game that you play against a computer player or with your friend on the same device. OIL is a tense digital board game that plays a lot like battleships with a major oil mining twist! Unlike battleships, in OIL you and your opponent share the same play-space and compete for the same oil. Use your strategic mastery to beat your opponent and show who is the best oil miner! Influenced by the film ‘There Will Be Blood’, OIL focuses on the competition of oil mining in the iconic setting of the American oil boom of the early 1900’s.

Forum Thread: OIL (by Wee Door)


Piece of the Pie Pursuit

iTunes Description

Domino’s Piece of the Pie Pursuit puts you right at the center of the machine seen in our TV commercial. Do you have what it takes to beat all six unique levels in the ultimate game for pizza fanatics? If you do, you’ll find yourself this much closer to getting your hands on real-world, piping hot pizza. That’s right. Beat this game. Get a one-time prize in the form of Piece of the Pie Rewards® bonus points toward free Domino’s pizza.

Each section of this connected machine will challenge your skills in fun new ways. Guide your pizza cutter car along a boost-filled track in a race against the clock. Use pizza sauce Spoodle catapults to reach crazy heights. This physics-based game has it all. There’s nothing else like it.

Forum Thread: Piece of the Pie Pursuit (by Domino’s Pizza)


The Pillars of the Earth

iTunes Description

Based on Ken Follett’s world-bestseller, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ retells the story of the village of Kingsbridge in a whole new interactive way. Play as Jack, Aliena and Philip and change the events of the book through exploration, decision-making and dialogues. This interactive novel is released in three ‘books’, containing 7 chapters each.

12th century, England: In a time of great poverty and war, a small town begins the construction of a cathedral to claim wealth and security for its people. In their struggle to survive, lives and destinies intertwine. Philip the monk becomes prior of the small abbey of Kingsbridge. At the same time, a boy called Jack is raised in the woods by his outlawed mother. His apprenticeship as a stonemason paves his way to become a gifted master builder. Together with the disgraced noblewoman Aliena, Jack and Philip begin the construction of one of the greatest cathedrals England will ever see.

Forum Thread: The Pillars of the Earth (by Daedalic Entertainment)


Pixel Survival World

iTunes Description

Pixel Survival World is a game where you and your allies will battle and defend against monsters. Protect your game, protect your friends and acquire epic loot in your battles. Much like a tower defense game, you will need to defend the Heroes Gate from destruction. You will encounter dangerous monsters, but as a Hero, you and your comrades will survive in the world of Pixel Survival World.

There are many different game modes found within the Pixel Worlds which you and your friends can enjoy. Different difficulty worlds will have different monsters and loots for you to gather. Secret pets, items, npcs, secret pixel worlds are scattered throughout the game.

Forum Thread: Pixel Survival World (by Cowbeans Inc.)


Play Shark

iTunes Description

“Play Shark” looks like terrible game, but it is funny and cute. Sharks have lots of teeth, you will try to play them. Don’t be eaten by them!

“Play Shark” is easy to learn, but hard to master. Touching screen will send players falling to bridge where sharks are waiting. Grasp the opportunity, you will not be eaten by sharks. Each survived warrior will receive a star. Five-star warrior can be bitten by a shark once. Ten or more stars can kill a shark.

Now, Let’s play sharks!

Forum Thread: Play Shark (by LI YIN JIAN)


Poker Puzzle Panic

iTunes Description

Poker Puzzle Panic is a round based, simon-says, poker themed puzzle game.

Traditional playing cards are arranged on a 5×5 grid waiting for you to connect them into a poker hand. Try to survive as many rounds you can, while the announcer dictates which poker hand you need to make and how long you have to make it. The further you progress the harder it gets! Use power ups and get the most points to place higher on the global leaderboard. And for the completion-ist, do your best to unlock all 30 achievements and find all 41 hidden hands.

Poker Puzzle Panic is also a great way to learn all the different poker hands. Great for beginners or poker masters!

Forum Thread: Poker Puzzle Panic (by Travis Fincaryk)


Rival: Crimson x Chaos

iTunes Description

Chaos has returned to the world of Kel. Will you side with the Crimson or Chaos? Build the ultimate team and Lead them into the spoils of victory!

Defend your arena against players from around the world in the next generation of strategy and tower defense.

Forum Thread: RIVAL: Crimson x Chaos (by Section Studios)


Robin Hood: Sherwood Sniper

iTunes Description

Join the epic battle agains the forces of the evil Sheriff in Robin Hood – Sherwood Sniper. Using your archery skills to battle the Sheriff’s men deep in Sherwood Forest, conducting raids and using precision bow and arrow shots to turn the tide of the battle. Uses touch mechanics to allow for precise aiming, and a physics engine to simulate arrow movement.

Forum Thread: Robin Hood: Sherwood Sniper (by Silver Elm Systems LLC)


Salad Hunt

iTunes Description

A family friendly FPS with cartoony weapons and destructible environments. Arcade rail-shooter gameplay in a simplified mobile format.

You are The Chef and discover that salad ingredients have come alive as cute, but mischievous characters that are ruining your kitchen! Toss whatever you can find at them to save what remains of the kitchen, or just destroy everything in the process.

Forum Thread: Salad Hunt (by Salad Hunters)


Shatterbrain

iTunes Description

Draw shapes to solve challenging physics puzzles. From the creator of the #1 hit puzzle game, Brain It On!

◆ Dozens of brain busting physics puzzles, with more being added all the time
◆ Multiple ways to solve each puzzle, can you find the best solution?
◆ Compete on the leaderboards for the fastest time or best solution

Forum Thread: Shatterbrain (by Orbital Nine Games)


ShotOnline Golf: WC

iTunes Description

Introducing Shot Online Golf: World Championship, bringing the world of golf to the palm of your hand. Featuring superb graphics, realistic gameplay, 1v1 real-time challenges along with many skills and items, Shot Online Golf: World Championship is the ultimate mobile golf game. If you love the thrills and tension of real golf, this is the game for you!

Forum Thread: Shotonline Golf:WC (by WEBZEN INC.)


Shut the Window

iTunes Description

Shut the Window is a one touch game where you have to close as many open windows as possible before the timer runs out. Inspired by real windows of Amsterdam, play through 10 handcrafted illustrations. Frustratingly fun, each design has its own charm. Try not to pull your hair out playing it.

Beautiful and addictive one touch game.
Breathtaking Illustrations inspired by real windows of Amsterdam.
Frustratingly fun. Makes you keep coming back for more!
No IAP, no monetization strategy, no currencies.
Share screenshots of your favorite windows and high scores with friends.

Forum Thread: Shut the Window (by Pixel Drop Studios)


Simon the Sorcerer

iTunes Description

There are some things that kids just shouldn’t have to put up with. Being transported to some weird dimension full of goblins, dwarves, swamplings, stupid wizards and sleeping giants is definitely one of them.
After escaping a “welcoming party”, Simon discovers that he has been brought on a quest to rescue the wizard Calypso from the evil sorcerer Sordid.

In the last 25 years, the ‘Simon the Sorcerer’ game series has made millions of players fall in love with Simon.
Now you can relive the renowned original adventure in a whole new way!

Forum Thread: Simon the Sorcerer (by MojoTouch & Adventure Soft)


Simon the Sorcerer – Mucusade

iTunes Description

Just when he thought his life was regaining some semblance of normality, Simon’s wonder years are once again turned upside down when the evil sorcerer Sordid returns from the grave with only one thing on his mind – revenge! Sordid reconstructs his Fortress of Doom and sends a magical wardrobe to fetch Simon, but it accidentally ends up on the doorstep of Calypso, the wizard Simon had to save in the first game. Simon then starts to look for a special fuel that can power back the wardrobe and get him home.

Journey with Simon through this inevitable sequel to the best selling Simon the Sorcerer, as he manages once more to get stuck in a land of twisted fairytales, recycled gags and carbon dated clichés! With a cast of thousands (mostly woodworm) and enough Swampy Stew to keep an underprivileged country sick for a year, this classic adventure will keep you well entertained until we manage to make another sequel.

Forum Thread: Simon the Sorcerer 2 (by MojoTouch & Adventure Soft)


Spinning Pong

iTunes Description

A simple but strongly addictive game that was created during one evening!
Do you remember pong consoles? Enjoy playing the pong-like game by turning your iOS device. Have a lot of fun!

Forum Thread: Spinning Pong (by Dariusz Socha)


Street Food South East Asia

iTunes Description

You inherit your fathers street food hawker stall which has been part of the family for generations and you need to bring it back prosperity. Along the way you set out to expand your hawker stall empire and become a Street Food tycoon. Something that your father was never able to accomplish.

Street Food South East Asia brings back all the simple gameplay from the original but with new RPG gameplay elements.

Forum Thread: Street Food South East Asia (by Tomosan Studios)


Tetrun

iTunes Description

Experience a real parkour flow! Endless fun begins. Do not stop with a falling dice and show your best!

– climb as high as possible and discover all levels
– avoid falling dice
– show the best combo
– overcome your friends
– unlock all tricks
– learn all gestures

Forum Thread: Tetrun (by Cableek)


Trick Shot 2

iTunes Description

Simply get the ball in the box. How hard can it be?

Trick Shot 2 – Infinity brings brand new challenges and a fully featured level editor to create, play and share your own levels, in fact, every level in the game was created using the built in editor!

Forum Thread: Trick Shot 2 (by Jonathan Topf)


Uncivil War

iTunes Description

Collect hundreds of cards and build the ultimate deck in this free indie trading card game (TCG). Fans of TCG will love the depth, challenge and tactics of the online multiplayer PVP duels, and the offline PVE campaign. Build a deck strategy and defeat your enemies on the field of card battle.

Based on the classic War card game, and inspired by the American Civil War, this free trading card game (TCG) is well balanced and highly accessible, but requires deep strategic deckbuilding to win the card war!

Forum Thread: Uncivil War TCG (by Iron Horse Games)


Windrose: Origin

iTunes Description

A brand new puzzle game!

Anyone can finish a level, but you should finish it with the minimum number of moves to get the maximum score. If you want to reach 3 stars on each level you should make your moves cleverly.

Forum Thread: Windrose: Origin (by Baris Araci)


Woodways

iTunes Description

Woodways is a puzzle game in which you control all characters at once. Guide different animals to their destination, each with its own attributes and ways to interact with the environment. Travel through various areas with new mechanics and visuals, filled with all sorts of combinations of layouts and characters.

Forum Thread: Woodways (by Stav Goldstein)


Woven Words

iTunes Description

It all fits together in this unique brain-twister!

The Woven Words puzzle grids come in all different shapes and sizes,
and when you’re done every row and every column will spell out
complete words! Each game board is a mix of letters and blank tiles.
Can you find the right letters for the blank tiles so that every line spells
a word both down and across?

Forum Thread: Woven Words (by Blue Ox Family Games)


ZoroMe

iTunes Description

ZoroMe is a 3D-puzzle game with dice that challenges to the limits of the player’s mind!

Experience rich content with simple gameplay!

A rainbow die will help you get astronomical scores!
100 points?
1,000 points?
1,000,000,000 points??

Compete with players from across the world for a higher score!

Forum Thread: ZoroMe (by UUUM Co)


TouchArcade
Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

PGA TOUR AR brings pro golfing geekery to iOS

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Watching golf is famously boring, but the just-announced PGA TOUR AR app spices it up a bit. It brings a live, augmented reality view of golf games to iPad and iPhone, putting the tournament in users’ living rooms. “Tapping into ARKit in iOS 11 allows us to showcase real-time data provided by ShotLink and CDW […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

‘Meat Cannon Golf’ is a Completely Absurd Golfing Game for Carnivores, Currently Accepting Beta Testers

One of the fun things about mobile is the wide variety of silly ideas people come up with for games. And just when you think you’ve seen it all something like Meat Cannon Golf comes along and raises the bar for absurdity in game ideas. So it’s a golfing game, obviously, but instead of using the standard wood and iron clubs we all know and love, or those tiny little white balls which are so easy to lose, you’ll be firing various types of meats from a cannon trying to get that hunk of meat to land into a hole in as few “strokes” as possible. Yep. Check out this early look at one of the holes that will be in Meat Cannon Golf.

So yeah, this is a thing. If you’re weird like me and are very intrigued by the idea of Meat Cannon Golf, you can actually head over to the game’s forum thread and sign up for potential beta testing for both iOS and Android platforms. There’s also some pretty great animated gifs and additional video clips in that thread that more looks at this wacky game, and if you’re not really interested in testing but you’re still interested in the game you can just sign up on the Meat Cannon Golf official website to get notified when the game launches.

TouchArcade

‘Freeways’, the Traffic Management Game from the Creator of ‘Desert Golfing’, Updated with iPhone Support

Sometimes I wonder if Justin Smith from Captain Games realizes his own genius when creating games, or if he just makes games that happen to be stunningly brilliant. One of my all-time favorite games is Enviro-Bear 2010 [$ 0.99], which is a silly game about a bear driving a car with absurdly difficult driving physics. Beyond its wacky surface, though, there is a ton of depth, and it’s remained on my phone since its original release nearly a decade ago. Then there’s Desert Golfing [$ 1.99]. This totally stripped-down 2D golfing game has you whacking a ball into a hole in as few strokes as possible, moving from hole to hole in stark, barely changing environments until… well, until the world falls into the sun, or something. I guess it technically has an end, but most people will never see it and most don’t seem to care. It’s a perfect mobile game to pop out and play a few holes here and there, but if you squint your eyes just right, you can also pull some deep philosophical meanings out of Desert Golfing. No joke.

There are even more examples, but the bottom line is that Justin Smith makes games that look almost laughably bad on the surface but always have some sort of hidden meaning and depth. I don’t know if that’s on purpose or a happy accident but either way his library of games is a gift to us gamers. The latest Justin Smith release is Freeways [$ 1.99 (HD)], a traffic management sim of sorts, and like his previous games you can’t judge this book by its cover. Your job is to connect specific destinations to a number of different freeways by intuitively drawing the paths right on your screen. Traffic will begin pouring out the moment you create a road, and it’s up to you to create freeway exchanges that let traffic flow freely and allow drivers to get to and from their destinations. Once you complete a map you can check on the efficiency of your design, or lack thereof.

It’s a deceptively engrossing experience, as sometimes you can dream up some wacky design that you figure will never work in a million years and then find out that it’s actually getting the job done. Similarly, sometimes you’ll design what you think is the most ingenious freeway design ever conceived, only to see traffic jams crop up in places you never expected due to problems you never anticipated. Freeways looks like a simple Flash arcade game on its surface, but behaves like a sophisticated traffic management simulation in practice. It’s really remarkable, and yes, a lot of fun too. Never thought I’d say that about traffic management.

Anyway, apologies for burying the lede this far down in the story, but the reason we’re talking about Freeways today is that when it originally launched in mid-September it was an iPad only game, which made sense as the extra screen real estate would be helpful when weaving your complex tapestry of freeways. However, that also severely limited the audience for the game, and following a ton of requests Justin Smith has spent the past month or so making the game friendly for the smaller screens of iPhones, with a new Universal update arriving for Freeways today. Playing it on my iPhone 7 Plus and it seems just fine to me, but your own mileage may vary. What’s important is that we all at least have the option of experiencing this little gem on our phones now, so if you’ve enjoyed Smith’s previous releases or the thought of skillfully managing freeway traffic gets you all excited, be sure to give the newly Universal Freeways a spin and check out our forums for more impressions of the game.

TouchArcade

Classic Reload – ‘Desert Golfing’

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where can’t seem to get ourselves out of the bunker. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store’s past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It’s a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the driver of this doomed golf cart, I try to choose a good selection of games from month to month. That said, if there’s something you want to see, don’t be shy! You can leave suggestions below in the comments. I can’t promise it will appear soon, but it will be added to the master list for future consideration.

Whether you call them Blinkbat Games, Captain Games, or just go with Justin Smith, the developer of Desert Golfing [$ 1.99] is pretty obviously not the type to follow well-trodden paths. Their list of titles includes such classics as Enviro-Bear 2010, Cribbage with Grandpas, and No Brakes Valet among others. Even the games that sound like they might be normal, like Realistic Summer Sports Simulator, are pretty wild. There’s a term for games like these here in Japan: baka-ge, or “stupid games”. It’s not meant to be a judgement on their quality, rather that they tend to be pretty silly or absurd affairs. And certainly, the premise of Desert Golfing seems to slot right into this category. You’re golfing a seemingly infinite number of holes through an unchanging desert. If you play long enough, just about everything in the preceding sentence turns out to be false, but it’s going to be true enough for most.

Something weird happened with Desert Golfing, though. It went right past absurd and somehow ended up in the realm of zen. While the developer says he was aiming at something with existential vibes, a great number of people found peace in the game’s simple mechanics. The game became extraordinarily popular and is easily Smith’s most well-known effort since going indie. In an interview with Gamasutra, Smith revealed the two ideas that came together to form Desert Golfing. First, he wanted to play golf on top of screenshots of thatgamecompany’s Journey. He also wanted to make something that contained the joy of an Angry Birds-like slingshot mechanic in more simplistic trappings. The game took just two weeks of work, apparently, so I guess that ended up paying off rather well for him.

Desert Golfing performed the rare feat of breaking out of the mobile gaming side of things and spilling over into the industry at large. Not only were there think-pieces written about it, but some of those think-pieces had think-pieces written about them. If I can get a little think-piecey myself for a moment, I’d like to note that human beings naturally tend to look for the meaning or intent behind things. It’s how we make sense of a world that is entirely too random at times. Not everything will satisfy that desire, however, and it’s often the case that the more meaningless and random something is, the more humans will tie themselves in knots trying to find sense in it. Does Desert Golfing intentionally carry a deeper subtext? Is it just a silly little game? Is it trying to get people to over-think it as some sort of meta-troll? I honestly have no idea, and I wonder if even its creator does. I suppose the important thing is that the game has entertained a lot of people. Anything past that is just gravy.

I suppose I’d best describe the actual game mechanics. So, you’re golfing in a desert. There are 64,465 holes, all procedurally generated. Every player is on the same seed, though, so your level 1,035 will be the same as mine. Each hole occupies a single screen that is played from a side-view. Sliding your finger on the screen will display an arrow that tells you the direction and relative power of the shot you’re about to take. Just release your finger and you’ll let fly. If the ball goes off the edge of the screen, it’ll be sent back to its starting position, costing you a stroke. Sink the ball and the screen simply ratchet-scrolls to the next hole. There are no Mulligans here. The only way to reset your score is to delete the app itself. You have to accept whatever score you got and hope to do better in the future to flatten out your average. Not that it really matters.

Each screen presents a slightly different layout. The first thousand or so holes won’t offer you much more than sandy hills, peaks, and bluffs. After you get really far into things, you might see the occasional cactus or rock. The color palette will change every thousand or so holes, as well. Oh, and there’s water. Sometimes. It’s not so rare as cacti are, but it’s used quite sparingly. That’s basically all there is to it. Do a big shot, putt once or twice, and it’s on to the next hole. If you get a couple thousand holes deep, things get a lot trickier, but one would hope you would be prepared for a step up in difficulty by then.

It’s all utterly pointless, but it works quite well as something to play when you only have a little time. There’s no menu and virtually no boot-up time at all. Start the game and you’ll be right at the hole where you left it. Have to go somewhere? No problem. Close the app worry-free. It won’t lose your place, or your score, even if you want it to. There’s no over-arching story to deal with, and even if you went months between plays, it’s always clear what you need to do. Get the ball to the hole in as few shots as possible. That never changes. There’s something appealing about golf on a primal level, I think. Dropping the ball into the cup is always satisfying, and I don’t think I’ve played a golf game yet that didn’t give that same feeling. Desert Golfing‘s reliable physics make it better than a lot of similar games, though. Just the fact that you’re playing the whole time on sand changes things up a fair bit. You can actually putt the ball up a hill and count on traction to stop it.

Anyway, the fact that the game is so long and never forgets your progress means that you’re unlikely to ever need to replay it. The title of this article is a sham, to tell the truth. I didn’t replay Desert Golfing. I resumed it. I doubt I’ll ever finish it. That’s fine, though. You’re just chasing a ball around in a giant sandbox. To assign any meaning or greater goal to it is folly. Perhaps more than most modern games, this one really isn’t about getting anywhere in particular. Rather, you just enjoy each hole as it comes, knowing that there’s nothing you can do about the ones you screwed up in the past, but that there will always be another hole ahead of you to try better on. Until there aren’t anymore, anyway, but you probably won’t think about that much until it gets really close. Oh, now I see how the think-pieces happened. Neat.

Desert Golfing is somehow 64-bit compatible, so it should survive the upcoming shift just fine. Smith has been good about fixing the game on the few occasions where it has had trouble, so I see no need to worry about that in the foreseeable future. That’s a good thing, because although there are a few dedicated players who are somewhat near the end, I suspect the rest of us will need at least another ten years or so to even get close. Will we keep trying? That’s the better question. I’ll probably keep going until I get to a hole that really annoys me. Then I’ll say that I’m going to stop, and I might even press down on the screen so that it wiggles with the little X in the corner. But I’ll probably just leave it be and come back again later. Such is Desert Golfing.

That’s just my take on Desert Golfing, though. What do you all think? You can leave your stories, thoughts, and comments down below. The RPG Reload Play-Along of Final Fantasy 5 is alive and kicking in the forums, as well. Don’t forget to stop by and join in! This will be a two-month Play-Along to ensure everyone has ample time to finish. As for me, I’ll be back next week with another RPG Reload Glossary article. Thanks for reading!

Next Week’s Reload: It’s time for another Glossary!

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