You Should Play: Super Stickman Golf
[These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.]
Golf: The sport of kings. (Or is that chess boxing? I always get them confused.) Well, regardless, it’s not usually the kind of activity I’d enjoy unless you have to putt into a clown’s mouth or there’s ice cream at the end of the day. But Noodlecake’s Super Stickman Golf has made me a believer.
You are a stick figure—no, trust me, you are—playing your way through one of more than three dozen courses, each with its own obstacles and unique terrain. Along the way, you’ll unlock additional power-ups to make your life a bit easier: For example, the Ice Ball lets you freeze a water trap into ice upon contact, the Sticky Ball makes your shots stick to walls, and the Super Ball increases the power of your shots immensely.
While battling against par is enjoyable enough on your own, it’s better to spoil a good walk with the help of a few of your friends, either locally over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or remotely over the Internet.
And it’s here that Super Stickman Golf delivers in spades, because you don’t sit around waiting for all your friends to sink their own shots—instead, you’re racing, simultaneously to be the first to drop your ball in the hole. And instead of having to choose your load-out of special powers at the beginning, you get 10 uses between all your powers for the entire match; your own tactics dictate whether you use them sparingly or blow them all on a difficult hole.
In the end, though Super Stickman Golf might not have the benefit of tiny windmills or post-golf ice cream, it’s still a gaming experience that’s bound to leave you with a smile.
Easy to learn, hard to master: Super Stickman offers only two basic factors you can control: the angle of your shot and its power. If you’ve ever played the classic DOS tank game Scorched Earth or any of the games from the Worms series, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. But coming up with the perfect shot that clears that small hill, yet avoids the water trap in the valley? Eat your heart out, Rory McIlroy.
Speedy: A round of Super Stickman Golf takes only 10 or 15 minutes. Heck, you can probably play eight to 10 games in the amount of time it would normally take you to watch a few rounds of golf on TV. That makes it a great game to pick up when you’re sitting in the doctor’s waiting office, or even on the subway.
Frenetic: It’s not just that the game is fast, it’s that—with apologies to Vin Diesel—it’s furious. Multiplayer is a seat-of-your-pants affair, which makes the thrill of victory that much sweeter, and the agony of defeat that much more crushing. There is nothing better than watching your adversaries futilely chip away at a shot that they just can’t seem to make—and nothing worse than when those positions are reversed.
Longevity: There are a ton of courses in this game—close to 40 at this point, with the additional (and free) expansions Noodlecake has already added. That’s a lot of time to spend golfing, stickman or not. Plus, even if you hit par on all the courses, you’ll still want to spend time gold-starring them (beating par on each hole in a course) or picking up the game’s many achievements.
Compelling: I don’t mean “compelling” in terms of empathy for your little stickman hero, but rather in terms of the game itself: Super Stickman Golf is surprisingly immersive, given the rather simple nature of the graphics and gameplay. But heaven help me if I didn’t end up trying to tilt my iPhone to one side or the other just so the ball would roll that last inch into the hole.
Developer: Noodlecake Studios
Platforms: iOS (Universal), Android, BlackBerry, Roku