Designed by a team of husband and wife curlers, Granite is probably the world’s best computer version of curling, one of the more “niche” winter sports that became an official Winter Olympics sport in 1998. The game is best described as “lawn bowling on ice,” except that you slide huge granite stones down the ice rather than rolling them. For anyone (and I assume most of you ;)) who is unfamiliar with the sport, here’s a short summary from an excellent PageWise page: “A curling sheet is 46 yards long and 14 feet wide. On either end is a house painted into the ice with concentric circles. In the center is the button, the ultimate goal. Curlers attempt to slide the stones as close as possible to the button. Each curling team is comprised of four players, all of whom will deliver two stones in alternate turns with the opposing team. When all eight stones are delivered, it constitutes and end. A match consists of 10, and sometimes, 12 ends. A point is scored for each curling stone that winds up closer to the button than the opponent's stones. Thus, only one team can score in any given end and the number of points can range from one to eight. If no stones from either team wind up in the house no points are scored in that end. The team with the most accumulated points from the 10 ends is the match winner.” |
Curling has many unique features that set it apart from other sports, the most notable of which is “sweeping”: a rule that allow a player's teammates to brush the ice in front of the sliding stone to allow it to go further. Effective sweeping, which can lengthen a stone’s journey and determine its final destination, requires astute skill and experience. Rapid brushing and the proper amount of pressure will help give the stone the proper “curl”, or curve. A good combination of reflexes, timing, and strategy are required to succeed in the game.
Granite faithfully renders the sport for Windows system, including bright graphics, accurate physics, and a good number of alternate views you can view the action from. The game provides an excellent practice mode where beginners can learn how different types of rocks and ice surfaces interact, and veteran players can adjust the skill level of computer opponents to suit their level of expertise. With many gameplay options, good physics, and an accessible interface, Granite is a great curling game for both beginners and expert curlers. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs