Review – Let’s Play Curling!!

Yes folks, we are reviewing a freaking CURLING video game today. The fact a fully-featured curling game is available on the Nintendo Switch is already baffling enough, but things get even weirder when you realise it was developed by Imagineer of all companies. Do you know who they are? Ever heard of Quest 64? Yes, those guys. Just like in my Ace Angler review, this is yet another Switch exclusive developed by a long-lasting Japanese developer behind some cult (or in this case, infamous) Nintendo 64 titles which managed to, somehow, survive for the past twenty years. From Quest 64 to curling. What a journey.

Let's Play Curling Mission Curling

This game barely pushes the limits of the Dreamcast’s hardware, let alone the Switch.

The weird thing about Let’s Play Curling is that, unlike other sports simulators, such as MLB: The Show or Cricket 22, I have actually played curling in real life before. This made me realize that there’s a lot more to the sport than just sliding and sweeping a heavy granite stone on an icy floor. There’s a lot of strategy involved, given how you are not only tasked with placing your stone as closely as possible to the center of the targeted area, but you also have to ensure your opponent’s stones are removed from these spots. It’s equal parts bowling and chess, and that’s no exaggeration. Curling is actually a fun sport (with the exception of the sweeping, that is painful), so a game centered around it could actually work. Let’s Play Curling does some things right, but it suffers from a myriad of technical and content-related issues.

The first main issue is its presentation. Let’s Play Curling looks obscenely dated. It looks cute, but beyond basic. As if this was originally developed with the constraints of the Dreamcast in mind. The fact it can’t even target 30fps with such simplistic visuals is equally baffling, but considering the pace of the sport itself, that wasn’t that much of an issue. It runs as well as a curling game should, I suppose. The soundtrack is really basic, to the point of not even noticing its existence. Imagineer did not try to push the boundaries of what is capable with the Switch’s hardware at all. With that said, they did take advantage of the system’s criminally underutilized motion controls.

Let's Play Curling Sweeping

Sweeping with motion controls is painful. Don’t do it.

You can throw the stone just like you would in a motion-based bowling game, but with more nuance. You’re not trying to slide the stone as strongly as possible, so you need to pay attention to your strength. That alone is a plus, and surprisingly intuitive. The problem lies on sweeping. Unfortunately, the damn thing is a core part of the sport of curling, and forces you to shake the Joy-Con up and down incessantly. Sweeping is painful and exhausting in the real life version of curling, so there was no way to properly make the motion-based equivalent in Let’s Play Curling hassle-free. In this regard, I resorted to just tapping the A button like a lunatic, for the sake of my arm.

Content-wise, Let’s Play Curling tries its best with what little it has at its disposal (as in, the limited scope of the sport itself). There are competitions, versus modes against the CPU and other players, simplistic objective-based missions, and a few minigames. That last one was a standout, namely the penguin-based one, which basically turns curling into an ice-based version of bowling, with an addictive gameplay loop. Sadly, that’s also the biggest issue with Let’s Play Curling as a whole: it’s not a lot of substance, especially for a game that costs forty bucks.

Let's Play Curling Penguins

The penguin-based minigame is a lot more fun than it has any right to be.

Let’s put it this way: there’s enough content in Let’s Play Curling to justify its existence as a video game, and not just a mode in a winter sport compilation title, but not at the currently asked price tag. It’s not a deep experience, it doesn’t look appealing, and you won’t play it for more than twenty or so minutes at a time. I commend Imagineer for milking as much content as possible with what little they had at their disposal, especially in an ultra niche sport like curling, but this one is a tough recommendation.


Graphics: 5.5

It looks cute, but beyond basic. As if this was originally developed with the constraints of the Dreamcast in mind.

Gameplay: 7.0

Really simple, but surprisingly responsive. There is a certain degree of strategy in the core loop of curling that makes the game way more entertaining than expected. Motion controls are present, but monstrously tiresome, especially when sweeping.

Sound: 5.5

The soundtrack is really basic, to the point of not even noticing its existence.

Fun Factor: 6.5

Curling is a niche sport with limited appeal, but Let’s Play Curling does the best with what little it has at its disposal. Its modes and minigames are entertaining enough, but the sport of curling just doesn’t translate well as a full-fledged, nearly fully priced game.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Let’s Play Curling is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Let’s Play Curling was provided by the publisher.