Desert Golfing is brilliant.
It’s brilliant in a way I don’t think I even fully comprehend yet, so here I am writing about it. Desert Golfing is a game about playing golf in a desert, basically exactly what the name indicates. It’s a procedurally generated map that goes on to what’s supposed to be “infinity” (even if it’s around 22500 holes in reality). What’s great about Desert Golfing is the fact that it’s one of the few mobile games that dare to be truly minimalistic. In an age of endless eye candy and glossy animations design to hook you into consuming digital goods, Desert Golfing is a bland, silent and minimalistic experience. There is no menu, no music, no save/load, no leaderboards and no tutorial. The game allows the player to figure it out without interrupting.
There’s something about playing this game alone, pulling off the sickest bouncing shot and watching as the ball perfectly bounces into the hole whilst being unable to share it. We’re so used to the gamification of sharing that it’s almost unnatural to play a game where progress and success isn’t celebrated in some form. The best the game manages to reward you is by throwing in a cactus at some point without any direct functional impact on the game other than taking the joke further.
Desert Golfing shows that minimalism in game design works and is avaliable on iOS, Android and PC. I highly recommend it on a mobile platform as the brilliance really shines through when played for small amounts as the game has virtually no startup time.