The Canadian government will tell you that I live in a nation with two national sports: hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer.
This is a lie.
Or at the very least, it’s an omission of truth. While it’s not talked about with quite the same reverence as that other ice sport, curling is something we Canadians have developed a healthy obsession with. It’s an invention of the Scots from nearly 600 years ago, and a tradition we’ve long since adopted as our own.
So when there’s a video game that recreates the thrill of throwing a curling stone, I approach it with more than just fleeting curiosity. I approach it as my civic duty.
Into the Circle isn’t a curling simulation so much as it’s what curling would look like if it were a quick-fix high score game that Ketchapp would publish. Players press and hold on their playing piece (I want to call it a rock, they want to call it a ball, so we’ll agree to disagree) to build up the strength of a shot, then release when they’re ready to slide it towards a circle. If your piece doesn’t stop inside the circle, it’s game over.
You’ll need to time the aiming right (there’s an arrow that swipes left to right and back again) before you build up the strength, so every shot requires two precisely timed moments if you want to succeed. And if you want even more points, you’ll want to hit the target in the center of each circle. This is no easy feat.
As a casual curling fan (or as casual as my citizenship allows me to be), it would be hard for me to not be wooed by Into the Circle’s charms. And it seems like I’m not alone; publisher Gameblyr has told me that more than 4 million games have been played since its launch last week.
I’ve got to think at least 50 of those were me.
If endless curling-inspired high score drives sound up your alley (and why wouldn’t they?), you can download Into the Circle for free from the App Store.