If Twilight Golf is anything to go by, those who make a living developing games for the App Store are beginning to feel comfortable in their own skin. The aping of console titles has seemingly been put to bed, and rival iPhone games are now the inspiration instead. Twilight Golf couldn’t be a better example of this. At its core, it’s a game that plays with physics, but it’s dressed up in the clothes of many of its peers, with puzzling and platforming elements thrown in for good measure.
On first inspection, Twilight Golf appears to owe a great debt to the likes of Backflip Studio’s Ragdoll Blaster. Twilight Golf’s goal of both navigating and making use of the level’s architecture to get from one side of the screen to the other will seem very familiar to anyone who got their fix flinging dolls. But, in reality, play is actually a little more varied than that.
At a very base level, your job is merely to catapult a golden orb towards another dull orb, the latter lighting up upon touch. Indeed, bringing light back to the temple’s dank and darkened catacombs is how Twilight Golf is pitched, but it’s essentially a game where flicking your way to glory is your primary concern.
That’s your one and only action, in fact. Holding down and releasing or stroking your finger across the screen sends the orb flying in that particular direction, and one touch of the corresponding orb is enough to move forward to the next stage. The trick is to use as few strokes as possible, with medals encouraging you to retrace your steps and find a quicker path. With no online leaderboards, doing so is for nothing more than your personal achievement, but the goal remains tempting nonetheless.
While the early levels are a case of simple navigation, as each one passes, new elements are introduced that complicate matters. Switches that release the target orb come into play, as well as orbs that are caked in glue or transmit pulses that disrupt your path. Most levels offer up fresh challenges like triggering switches in a set order, or avoiding falling columns to cross a cavern, calling on the kind of qualities most platform titles live and die by: timing and patience.
What’s par on this hole again?.
Even though this variety is welcome and will certainly keep most players on their toes, it does leave the package as a whole feeling like a bit of a mixed bag. Some stages work far better than others, and those that feel a bit rushed damage the title as a whole. Plus, it can feel a bit short overall.
Such faults are far from a disaster, however, and Twilight Golf is utterly playable in the main. Its especially striking artwork is one factor that helps it shine, quite literally. But those looking to really branch out with such a physics-bending puzzler might see what’s on offer here as little more than a starter, moving on to the likes of Ragdoll Blaster for some additional depth.