When it comes to making mobile game sequels, I imagine its tough, especially if the preceding game was a hit of sorts. Building something that is familiar, but also compelling enough over its predecessor can be a difficult proposition. On the one hand, creating a whole new title does give a developer an opportunity to put something out that is current with regards to trends, but on the other hand, we gamers can be very tempermental. Do NOT mess with what works.
Sequels to sequels? Oh my.
Super Stickman Golf 3 is finally here, and it has a lot of legacy to live up to and, hopefully, build upon.
Once again, the player takes on the persona of the ubuiquitous stick figure; again, it’s armed with clubs and is tasked with navigating some very interesting designed golf courses.
The graphics make the game, really; the game utilizes a lot of telltale green to begin, plus other colors that provide nice contrast further on. The animations are clean and effective, and altogether, the game looks familiar with a dash of the whimsical.
The control mechanism remains virtual; one button serves as a shot power meter, and is crucial with regards to getting the right amount of force on a shot. There are direction buttons that one can use to be the perfect flight path, and other visual tools as well (such as spin).
The gameplay is easy to get into, especially versus the game engine: get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. The fun is in the getting there, because, as noted, the courses almost defy physics in places. There are nooks and crannies to to avoid, and some that one might actually have use. The game incorporates “bux” in places, and these are great to get, but are not always conducive to the main goal of minimizing strokes. Cards can be collected, and the “hat” system is pretty cool. There are a few multiplayer options one can get into, and extra courses one can access.
It’s a sequel’s sequel, in that it stands on its own, but is a pretty compelling franchise extender too. It needs little by way of tutorial, and is playable on the go.
Nimbleit, makers of the ridiculously popular Tiny Tower games have released a curiously looking golf game on Android entitled GOLFINITY. It looks to be endless game of minigolf with an exceedingly simple, stark style.
Nimblebit, known for their reasonable amounts of free to play tomfoolery have seen fit to make GOLFINITY completely free. The only snag is that every time the player retires a hole they must watch an ad first; it remains to be seen how annoying this will be.
The gameplay is leveled, with success in the current level opening up a successive one. The intro stage introduces players to the game, with pop-up text helping the player with hands-on learning. Each level is, in essence, a challenge of some sort, and the key is to complete the challenges within the set number of shots one is allowed.
For instance, the first level shows the basics of driving the ball long. The basic controls for swinging entail tapping and holding on the screen and waiting for the swing meter to reach the optimal power level, and then swiping up to effect the strike. The idea is to get the ball as close to the cup as possible; there are circles around the hole, which make it look like a bullseye on the ground, and just like a dart board, there are different point awards for landing the ball in a particular ring. Of course, the closer the ball is to the hole, the higher the point tally. Then, the following portions show how to putt, adjust perspective, and even do intricate things like using gestures to affect the flight of the ball and spin on the ball itself
As the game progresses, the conditions become even more nuanced, with stuff like wind becoming an issue. To move on, one must accumulate enough points to attain one star n the star meter; 3 stars denote an excellent run. Holes in one are of especially high value, but these are also quite hard to do.
The game does have an energy requirement for free players; failing levels depletes the number of playable balls one has; when these are out, one can wait for natural replenishment over time, or just use real cash. Player attributes (like accuracy) can be improved, and there are even arcade-like items like sticky substance to help prevent the ball from rolling past the target.
All in all, it’s a fine game, albeit with the energy requirement.
Astro Golf is a putt-putt game that does a visual switch on players.
Players substitute sun-kissed greens for the metal and somewhat unpredictable futuristic confines of a space ship. Our cuddly robot becomes the ball, and the goal is to finish levels by guiding it into holes in a set number of shots. Moving the spherical robot is a matter of long-pressing and “drawing” on the sphere (like one would do on a pinball machine) and releasing; the amount of power on the pull determines how hard and potentially far it goes.
The gameplay is defined by the environment; the elements will be familiar to anyone who has dabbled in miniature golf; the path from the start point to the hole is rarely a straight, flat line. There are obstacles, bumpers, bridges, ramps and more to traverse, and the playing area has different-colored nuts lining the play area that can be collected for gold. A lot of times, there is more than one way to solve what u=is in essence a riddle, as there might be another way to get to the cup, prior to the first shot, it is possible to zoom in and scan to study the area. At the end of a level, gold is generated based on performance, and if the level is passed, the next one is unlocked. levels can be repeated for more gold and/or better scores.
The gold can be redeemed for other characters and power-ups. the power-ups make the game easier, which is key at some junctures when the gameplay gets harder. Real cash can be used as well, but doesn’t feel necessary to enjoy the game.
It’s a fun diversion, and I especially like the customization options and the cheeky ode to mechanics, and the physics and such work well with the fantastic graphics.
Okay, I admit it. I really didn’t want to have a go at Golfy Bird. I mean, it is from Noodlecake, yes, which is almost always a positive. Still, it sounds suspiciously like The App That Was Pulled that we deign not mention by name. Frankly, the clones that popped up were somewhat depressing, and I even winced at real birds for a spell.
I was wrong.
Golfy Bird is its own person, and it’s somebody that might be very easy to like, and even fall in love with.
The graphics are appealing, in that they are fairly familiar, with a tint of retro that works. It is first and foremost a golf game, so the 2D graphics that highlight interestingly designed golf greens are expected. The animations are useful, and the whole visual representation is far from flashy, which I think is a good thing. If the courses look familiar, you’re not mistaken; they are based off of the courses in Noodlecake’sSuper Stickman Golf 2 game.
As already noted, it’s a golf game — the idea is to pocket the bird in the holes with the least number of taps. To do this, the controls needed are a left movement button and a right movement button; tapping on them moves the button in the corresponding direction, while continuous, close-interval taps cause the bird-ball to go airborne in the corresponding direction, and it remains airborne and moving. The holes start out easy, and then get harder, with obstacles, bounces and combinations becoming integral. I thought the game could dearly use a zoom mechanism to cut out some guesswork, but the holes can be replayed, which is of some consolation.
The game employs a similar “scoring” system as to that made ubiquitous by Angry Birds, in that there are thresholds of success. If one makes it in the par number, one passes with bronze. A few shots less? Silver… and so on. The game play is leveled, and stars (which are accumulated by finishing holes) are the currency to get into the 30+ successive courses. To remove ads in this freemium game, a 99c in-app purchase is required.
I don’t always fall in love with games, but when I do, I fall in love with games like Golfy Bird. Give it a shot to find out why.
Word games come a dime a dozen on Android, and thus, it takes a decent game to make headway. Gotta tell you, with the elements Word Puttz brings to the table, it might just have more than a passing flirtation with success.
At first blush, it reads like one’s run-of-the mill crossword puzzle, except for the limited area. But the first glance is deceptive, and leaves one wondering how word search, scrabble and putt-putt (yes, people, the mini-golf game) get added to the mix.
The game uses spoon-fed tutorials to highlight the game play at pertinent points. The playing area is made up of squared grid, with a golf-style cup at one end. The most prominent element is the word search; using the tray of seven letters that are replenished as they are used, words have to be constructed using a placed start letter, with the end goal being using crossword strategies to create a word that crosses over the aforementioned cup. No diagonal constructions are allowed; one has to go down or across.
To add to the challenge, words created score points, and each letter tile has assigned points that resemble Scrabble scoring; for example, a worth with a “J” in it is of high premium. The Scrabble element introduces the possibility of using strategy, as general rules of that game are observed, like the creation of combo words. it is also possible to “dance” around the cup while trying to earn more points, as points control the assignation of level measuring stars Ã la Angry Birds. There is a tile exchanger, “hintz” and reversal button, and real cash can be used to stock up on some of the boosts, including wildcard “octo-balls.”
As the game progresses through the higher levels, more challenges are thrown at the player: optional gold coins that can be crossed over for bonus points, point thresholds to open the cup, the need to spell backwards and even a race to the cup versus the game UI. Just when one suspects the gameplay might get a bit too monotonous, the developer adds in some flair.
While the game is an all-rounder of sorts, I did wish the challenge level rose faster. An optional means of shutting down ads apart from real cash might have been nice, even if it was hard to do.
Still, this is a fun free-to-play game, and one that I spent a bit too long “trying” out.
Rollabear is somewhere in the middle between a bowling course and a mini-golf. The task is to launch bears across the courses, trying to get a high-score. The game is due early October, and looks like a lot of fun. Stay tuned for details from the developers here: Rollabear Official Web-Site.
Golf Star is an epic career-minded golf sim from Android heavyweight Com2uS.
Simply put, the graphics are pretty good. There is something to be said for the effective use of virtual light and perspective to enhance the visual consumption. The swinging motion looks quite realistic, and the developer seems to have really studied related motion. The background imagery is nice too, with the requisite green coloring holding sway. The color separation works to shape the look of the fairways and such too.
Secondarily, the customization options are fun to manipulate, and options include the ability to adjust facial features and skin tone. This helps users develop somewhat of a personal stake in the game, I think.
After one wades through the playing options, the play itself is logical… almost too much so, in fact. In single player, a lot of the gameplay is based on challenges. Their are enough, and there is a sense that they are achievable. The actual game mechanism is what is interesting. there is a gauge controlling power at the bottom, and manipulating it for the long drives involves precise dual taps: one to get distance and the other to tweak direction. When tapped at the right points, the screen announces the perfect shot and bonus points are assigned. The short game is intricate in different ways, allowing for wind elements and lay of the hole. Working the meter effectively takes some practice, but is relatively fun. The action segment feels well thought out.
The sundry items feel a bit busy though. There’s the heart system, for instance. Hearts are the currency for playing, and are a consumable resource. There are ways to earn them, but if one get into the game for a few games, they’ll be gone, at which point you can buy some or wait for time replenishment. There are upgradable attributes, of course, and they do make the game easier, but I would have likes a more straightforward equipping method. There are plenty of bonuses for doing the challenges and interacting with Facebook friends, for example.
In conclusion, fun game either long term or in the doctor’s office, and not too many games can boast that.
Mini Golf Matchup is a pleasant putt putt sim that puts a major emphasis on social interaction.
The multiplayer format really encourages playing with friends. I can play with people in my email contacts, or random strangers. Upon finding an opponent, it comes down to turn-by-turn play on the same course. I love the fact that I could have games going against numerous people simultaneously, and at my own pace. For the random games, I simply waited for the game to do the matching, and waited for my turn.
The courses had different looks, different levels of difficulty/hazards and different scenery. To get the ball into play, I simply long-pressed and pulled… sort of like creating the virtual motion that mimics how a pinball machine game is started. In true real-life fashion, the shortest distance between tee and chip was rarely a straight line; thus, using the boundaries as bumpers was almost a needed skill.
The game incorporated gems in the playing area, as well as at least one big gem. The more I hit, the more points I was able to procure. Five (5) shots make par, and basic golf terms apply. To score points, I tried to make the hole in as few shots as possible while getting bonuses for clearing gems and the big bonus diamond. Holes in one are always celebrated, and a bonus carries over to the next hole.
I think the developer made a good choice by working in achievements into the game. The achievements range from using do-overs (a feature allowing players to redo a shot) to skimming shots over water. I could use coins to skip them, but I thought the ones I tried were fun. Graphically, it was bright and rich, exhibiting a whimsical artistic style I almost expected in a game like this. The animations are brash in a good way.
I think the game could use better notifications. The ads are not too irritating, and in an case, it is possible to get rid of them via in-app purchase.
I think MGM is a sleeper that must be played to be appreciated.
Super Stickman Golf 2Â is formulaic in the best of ways. Consider the enhancements that came from the originalÂ Stick(man) GolfÂ toÂ Super Stickman GolfÂ – same great gameplay, inventive new courses, a great soundtrack, new super balls, and even eventually multiplayer. It was a very good game that became great thanks to the work that was done on it. That is the formula forÂ SSG2: it adds more great things to an already great package.
The gameplay is the standard hybrid of golf with physics-based “artillery” games where the goal is to launch the ball around a two-dimensional course, trying to get it in the cup in as few strokes as possible. To add it to the craziness, there’s limited-use ball powerups that can freeze water upon impact, stick to walls, and even more. One new powerup is a hole magnet that draws the ball to the hole. Courses integrate new elements like portals, sticky walls, and more.
The big new addition to the game is a long-awaited one: turn-based multiplayer. The firstÂ SSGÂ got a live multiplayer mode in an update on iOS, but no asynchronous mode, which seemed like an omission because of golf’s turn-based nature. Turn-based multiplayer has one player challenging another, choosing the nine-hole course, and then playing through the hole first. The next player watches the replay, plays that hole and then the next one, switching off with their opponent until all 9 holes are completed, and the person with the fewest total strokes wins. The winner gets 1000 XP and 2 Golf Bux; the loser gets 500 XP and 0 Bux, with draws giving 750 XP and 1 buck to each player. Fans of the live race mode multiplayer will be glad to know that it’s still here, but the turn-based multiplayer is such a natural fit for the game and is so much fun that it’s the star of the show: it’s very, very easy to get hooked on this.
Sadly, the lack of a Game-Center-esque service on Android makes it difficult to challenge friends, as there’s just a username entry and seemingly no way to enter a friend’s name manually, which takes some of the fun out of it. Live multiplayer is not in at launch, but NoodleCake says that it is in the works. There’s no way to recover a username, so use an app to back up your save file.
Yes, the game now has in-game currency, which is used on speeding up level-ups to unlock some of the super balls & new costumes, and on the hat lottery to get new hats. Hats are not just stylish, they also contain gameplay modifiers, like additional power, a slower power meter, or sticky super balls. Golf Bux can be earned by completing achievements, or collecting them throughout the courses. Golf Bux can also be bought with real-world money, along with a few other upgrades like the last shot power indicator, additional multiplayer match slots, and an XP doubler. All are optional upgrades, and the powerups can be earned in-game, but spending money can definitely help in a concrete way. Such is the modern app economy.
Super Stickman Golf 2Â is exactly what I could have hoped for from this sequel: new courses, new rockin’ music from Whitaker Trebella & additional contributors, and of course, the turn-based multiplayer. Much like the originals, this is definitely worth checking out.
9-Iron Ninja is an interesting title. The core concept is something that has the potential for real fun, but it feels like it wasn’t completely executed.
The best way to describe the game in relation to existing titles would be Super Stickman Golf Blitz. That is, this is a 2D golf game, like an Artillery game but with golf balls raining from the sky instead of death and destruction. But instead of playing on set courses of different holes, 9 Iron Ninja tkaes players through the game one hole at a time. Players get 6 strokes per level in which to sink the ball. If they don’t, it’s game over. Getting the ball in sooner nets more points, and high scores are definitely the goal here.
The game is free and ad-supported, with stars that can be earned for unlocking new disguises and trophies. The stars that are earned for doing well on a hole are built around a currency system that can be used to unlock new colors and costumes for the ninja, along with trophies. The developer claims that the game is built around being a zen-like experience, and to that end, it is very easy to sink loads of time in to the game, as the experience tends to seamlessly blend one hole into another, even after a game over, which still allows the player to finish their current hole.
But there lies the problem: 9 Iron Ninja seems to lack any kind of punch. The holes can wildly vary in difficulty and they still have the same 6-shot limit, which means that there’s no balancing, and it means that a long session may be a case of just getting the luck of the draw with easy holes. The experience just winds up being a random wandering, rather than anything that drives the player to keep going, keep coming back to the game. The game also desperately needs high-resolution graphics; it looks very blurry on the Nexus 7 and Galaxy S III.
9 Iron Ninja feels a lot like the prototype to a “blitz”-style 2D golf game that I could see being realized at some point in the future. Perhaps someday soon, this will actually be realized, but until then, to get a glimpse of a possible future, download 9 Iron Ninja, but realize that it’s not fully-formed quite yet.