I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again: Pastille is a very talented and prolific indie studio that I wish more people were buzzing about. The Sweden-based outfit first came to my attention last year with their exciting reimagining of Tic-Tac-Toe, Bill Ball Boll, and I’ve enjoyed each of their releases more than the last since then. That pattern holds true with Curling Buddies (out now, free), Pastille’s biggest, best-looking and most ambitious game to date.

As its name suggests, Curling Buddies is loosely inspired by the Olympic sport of curling. I say “loosely inspired by” because, to the best of my knowledge, the real-world game doesn’t involve hurling little dudes across obstacle-filled ice rinks and trying to hit a target, which is what Curling Buddies is all about. It’s a hugely amusing premise that, coupled with intuitive tap-and-drag controls, makes the game easy to get into and a joy to play.

Don’t let Curling Buddies’ accessibility and charmingly cute visuals fool you though — this game is far from a cake walk. It starts off straightforwardly enough, but as you work your way through its 40 level campaign, the course designs become increasingly elaborate and challenging. These trickier stages often contain multiple hazards and moving obstacles that must be skillfully avoided, so you need to put quite a bit of strategic thought into how hard and at what angle to throw your character.

Like any game worth its salt, Curling Buddies features a secondary zombie mode. This action-packed spin on the main game tasks you with transforming a rapidly approaching horde of undead monsters back to ordinary mortals by firing your character at them. You can try the first level of this mode for free, and unlock the rest via a $0.99 IAP (which also gives you access to a host of exclusive playable characters). It’s a blast, so be sure to at least sample the zombie mode if you decide to download the game!

Verdict

I can honestly say Curling Buddies is the best curling-based video game I’ve ever played — and not just because it’s the only one! Intuitive controls, challenging gameplay, adorable visuals, and a cool unlockable zombie mode all make this one a joy to play. Pastille have outdone themselves once again!

Positives
Extremely fun gameplay with simple controls
Colorful visuals and catchy sounds
Lots of levels and characters to unlock
Zombie mode is an absolute blast
Negatives
Certain levels are patience-testingly tricky
4.5
Excellent
Download on the App Store