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Stick Golf Review: An Improbably Good Idea

So, here’s a surprise. To make a great golf game, you need neither stunning 3D graphics, nor amazingly realistic physics and environmental conditions. What you do need are crisp 2D graphics, some simple yet beautiful background art, and a little stick man that reminds me of the little yellow Google Streetview dude. Throw in a good velocity/vector/bounce calculating engine, and you’ve got one of the most fun handheld golf games ever created!

That’s Stick Golf. Review over. Thank you for coming.

Oh. Still not convinced?

How about some detail?

Stick Golf is incredibly simple, insanely easy to play, and yet excruciatingly difficult to master. The levels are like this. You’ve got a 2D course made up of 9 2D holes. Unlike games that try to simulate a real golf course, Stick Golf doesn’t even attempt it. You hit your ball around a complex 2D stage that could very well have you hitting your ball through chasms to the hole which may well be  above your head on a free floating piece of land.

Add to the mix that you can play each hole on easy (no wind) or hard (with wind) and you’ve got a challenge on your hands. Scoring works just like real golf. You’ll beat your head against the wall trying to bring your score for the course in at -10 or better so you get your gold star award.

Also, unlike other golf games there are a massive number of courses built in. There are four course packs, each with 4 completely different 9 holes courses. You get a lot with this purchase and the gameplay is quick and easy enough to keep it on your iDevice for a long time.

This is a ‘you can’t go wrong game’ for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. Here’s why in a nutshell.

Likes

Graphics: I’m a big fan of good gameplay and slick paired down graphics that look really appealing and yet don’t make the game feel like a badly conceived Flash presentation. This game uses its simple look to make you love it. It’s just visually comfortable.

Gameplay: When Stick Gold was put in front of me, I reluctantly tried it. This was another case of screenshots really not doing the game justice. I love golf games and it just didn’t seem like my kind of thing. Wrong. The control is slick, simple, and easy with just enough challenge to make the game really hard when it should be and relaxing when the time is right. In this, it perfectly mimics top notch realistic physics golf games. The game runs beautifully without a hiccup and looking ahead at the courses you have to unlock makes me feel like I’ve got a long relationship with Stick Golf ahead of me.

Fun: It just is. There’s some games that really make a difference when it comes to deciding whether or not leave your DS or PSP at home because you’ve got enough on your iPhone and Stick Golf is certainly one of those simple gems.

Dislikes

OpenFeint: I’d love to see this attached to Game Center. I’ve never really liked OpenFeint, and I think Stick Golf would flourish among the current crop of Game Center titles. It’s the perfect game for competition with your friends and I’d really like to be able to do so on Game Center.

This is just one of those game that’s so much fun I hate to see anyone miss it. If you’ve got any doubt, check out the reviews from users on the app store. At the moment it’s showing 739 five star reviews and it’s no mystery why.

Stick Golf is developed by Jordan Schidlowsky and was reviewed on version 2.4 for iPhone 4. It is available for $0.99 on the iPhone and $2.99 for iPad.




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