Hi! We’re Afterburn—a tiny studio based in Lodz, Poland—and we made Golf Peaks, a small puzzle game where you use cards to golf your way through grid-shaped courses! Today we’ll tell you a bit more about how this title came to life.
Hole in one
The idea came to us in an unexpected way. When browsing through game jam releases and small web-based experiences, we realized that most golf games are played in a very similar way. They usually require the player to select shot direction and strength, wait for the physics to settle down, and hope that the ball ended up where they wanted.
This got us thinking: What if we kept the theme of golf, but used it to construct a purely-logical puzzle game? Despite the fact that no one in our team had any proper knowledge of the sport, we gave ourselves a month to create a prototype to see if there was a fun game waiting to be discovered. The final game took us six months with some additional time post-release to add more levels for free.
Par for the course
When working on Golf Peaks we tried to come up with mechanics that would allow us to create fun puzzles while also making sense within the theme of the sport (well, at least to an extent). It quickly turned out that golf was surprisingly potent. Our two main interactions are rolling the ball on the ground and launching it in the air, both of which are intuitive. Then we added elevation and slopes to the mix to create obstacles for the player to get over.
Once the core gameplay was in place it was time to introduce new field types based on stuff that already exists on courses. Sand bunkers stop the ball from rolling through. Frictionless ice allows you to move further, but you have to watch out not to slide too far. And quicksand... well, you probably should avoid stopping on that one.
Teeing it up
During development we tested Golf Peaks on our family, friends, and strangers to make sure that new puzzles are introduced in a way where you have enough time to experiment and learn them. That was actually inspired by the design of modern Mario levels: introduce a new mechanic in a safe scenario, then ask the player to solve a more difficult puzzle using what they’ve learned, and finally present the new element with an unexpected twist to surprise the audience.
From the start we also wanted to make the game accessible to all kinds of players, so we made sure that the gameplay doesn’t rely on words, meaning that you can enjoy it regardless of where you live or how old you are.
We’re pretty happy with how Golf Peaks turned out, and we hope that you’ll also enjoy it!Learn more about Golf Peaks