Sunday Lawn is a classic top-down puzzle game that presents a twist on the classic game Snake. Do your best to mow the lawn without crossing your own path while avoiding animals, opening gates, and keeping your wits about you to earn a high score.
In 2022, Sunday Lawn is a decade old. This venerable app is still great fun, however, and the low one-time price helps it maintain its place among the greats. It runs great on all devices, there's plenty of content, and you won't risk getting sucked into gacha-style microtransactions, ensuring that you'll have plenty of fun on a small budget.
In Sunday Lawn, you control Charlie, a man tasked with pushing a powerful lawnmower in order to cut all of the grass on one of several yards. This might sound like a chore, but the game has two twists that turn it into a puzzle game and a test of your foresight and reactions. First, your score is based on how much grass you mow before you cross your own path. In other words, you're incentivized to play Snake and avoid hitting your "tail." Levels utilize combinations of wide open spaces, narrow passages, and small alcoves, meaning you'll have to think carefully and react quickly to guide Charlie through unmowed grass for as long as possible. The game doesn't end when you hit a patch you've already mowed, but you lose your streak and your score will suffer.
Second, the game's lawns aren't empty. Instead of just grass, you'll deal with hedgehogs, dogs, switches, and barriers on most of the game's missions. Hedgehogs patrol back and forth in a small area, while dogs walk back and forth more liberally and occasionally drop a dollop of droppings on the grass. Running into the animals will cause a big penalty. Stepping in poop will slightly reduce your score. Additionally, several colored buttons and colored barriers can be found on some levels. Running over a colored button will toggle the corresponding barrier. This means that you'll have to plan your route so that you can hit these buttons at the right time and open up critical paths for your mower, enabling you to cut all of the level's grass.
Sunday Lawn has 41 challenge levels, 8 arcade levels, and a bonus game involving sheep. The challenge levels get progressively more and more difficult. Each time you complete a level, you're given a rating from one to three stars. Earning three stars on each of the game's 41 challenge levels will require you to plan out your routes and cut long streaks of grass, all while avoiding the hazards presented by each unique stage. You can retry each level as many times as you like in any order.
In arcade mode, however, you must play through each of the game's 8 arcade maps in sequence. If you die, your whole run ends. It's a fun throwback to older styles of games that utilized strict progression systems. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to set high scores in this mode, too, demonstrating your mastery of mowing lawns.
Sunday Lawn has two control schemes. One involves swiping to change direction, while the other has an on-screen directional pad that you tap to direct Charlie and his mower. Be sure to try both and see which one works best for you. Many players think that the weakest part of Sunday Lawn is its slightly imprecise controls, so you're in good company if both options feel a bit dated and lackluster. Just choose whichever one feels right in your fingers.
Sunday Lawn is two games rolled up into one. One game is about pathfinding. You'll want to guide Charlie towards unmowed grass to maximize your score. There are a bunch of tricks and techniques you can use here to make it easier to keep Charlie's mower from crossing its own path. First, plan ahead. If you know that there's a section one unit wide, make sure that you have a plan to enter that section from unmowed grass and exit on unmowed grass. This means that you'll need to leave a strip of grass at one end of the passage - or mow the rest of the lawn before you enter the narrow section.
Second, recognize patterns and subdivide areas in your head. If there's a big rectangular section of lawn, you can mow it by going up and down or left and right in alternating stripes. If there's a bunch of weirdness on one half of the rectangle or you're trying to figure out what to do about the entrances, exits, and alcoves in the shape, don't be afraid to cut the rectangle up into smaller sections. Mow most of it but leave a band for later. The best runs will often involve you deliberately mowing large parts of an area while leaving other big chunks totally unmowed so that you can utilize them in future sections of your run.
The other part of Sunday Lawn involves dodging animals and manipulating switches. These variables can complicate your streaks a lot. Don't worry if you lose some of your score to dodge a hedgehog or a dog. Part of the game is figuring out how to balance these two competing pillars of gameplay. The animals move in predictable patterns. With practice, you'll be able to plan for both animals and architecture at the same time while preserving a big streak.
If you're getting tired of the animals on the field, look for an oil pack. This powerup will supercharge your lawnmower and make you invincible. You can go straight through all types of obstacles for a few seconds after grabbing this powerup. Be sure to take advantage of this boon whenever the game lets you so you can power through the level's most complicated sections with ease.
Finally, don't be afraid to retry levels more than once. Part of the game is recognizing the landscape, hazards, and complications featured in each stage. The more you play a stage, the better you'll know its layout and residents. This will make planning out routes easier and give you lots of experience avoiding pesky hedgehogs and dogs. When you know where everything is, you'll be able to set high scores with ease.
Are you a Sunday Lawn master? Which of the game's challenge levels is your favorite? What's your arcade mode high score? Did we miss any strategy tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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