Wonderputt is in good company, because golf games are pretty common on the App Store. Wonderputt uses the basic touchscreen controls found in other golf games, but it also brings new ideas to the putting green. The sense of design in Wonderputt makes the game surprising, and it’s a delight to play.
Just like in miniature golf, your goal is to get the ball into the hole while avoiding traps and obstacles. Naturally, you want to do so in as few swings of the club as possible. In Wonderputt, you’re scored for each stroke you take, and at the end of the game, you’re given a final score. Like an arcade game, Wonderputt puts emphasis on playing again and again in an attempt to get the best score possible.
The controls are simple. Hold your finger where the ball is and drag your finger backwards to adjust the strength of your swing. Moving your finger to either side determines the direction of your swing. An arrow appears behind the ball to indicate direction as well as strength. If the arrow moves from green to red, then you’re going to swing and hit the ball with all your strength. If you hit the ball too hard and knock it out of bounds, you’re given another ball and can try again.
“Our moats are now piranha-free.”
But the real emphasis in this game is design. All 18 holes on the course are contained in a winding amusement park with a farm, buildings, Stonehenge, and a spaceship. Each of the holes is hidden somewhere in the course, and you won’t realize where until the ball drops and the course reveals itself.
The most surprising thing about this course is that it is visible the entire time you’re playing. The game never zooms in on your particular hole to give you a first-person perspective of the obstacles in front of you. The entire map is visible, so you can watch as the ball moves around this entire course.
Wonderputt’s graphics appear simple at first, but we came to love them the more we played. The game has a sense of humor, particularly in the layout of each new obstacle, which keeps the game fun and interesting. It’s a clever course that you will come to know very well the more you play.
One problem with Wonderputt is visibility. It can be hard to hit a ball where you want it to go, since the game doesn’t zoom in to give you a closer look at where your ball is. There are times where it would be easier to zoom in and see how precise you need to be to get that hole-in-one. This caused a few moments of frustration as we were playing, but it didn’t become so frustrating that we didn’t finish.
To the end of the rainbow.
Another problem with Wonderputt is that it isn’t multiplayer-friendly. It keeps track of your scores and the stats on each hole you play, but it doesn’t allow for players to pass the iPad around and try to beat each other’s high scores. However, there are Game Center leaderboards.
Despite the drawbacks, we played Wonderputt over and over again. Once you get through the course once, you can try the ‘rainbow’ game mode, where you must not only complete all 18 holes, but you must also collect shards of a rainbow that are scattered throughout the course.
Wonderputt is a truly modern mini golf game that astounded us with its clever design. It’s another game you can impress your friends with when you want to show off the brilliant games you can find on the App Store. It has a few areas of possible improvement, but the current game is clever enough to draw your attention and not let go.