I've been golfing before. The first time I tagged along with my dad. He hit a ball just off a slope. We hopped in the buggy to retrieve it, he told me to lean out and grab it as we rumbled by, I fell out and tumbled down the slope. The second time, I actually played! Just one hole, though. Why? Because golf is boring when you have to, you know, fish your ball out of sand traps and actually walk around. Yep, that's golf: boring at best, painful at worst. Thanks, Dad.
Super Stickman Golf, however, is neither boring nor painful. It is awesome. If you enjoyed developer Noodlecake's golf-slash-physics-puzzler, you'll be happy to hear that Super Stickman Golf 2 [$2.99] is loads better, and available at the same impulse-buy price point.
Super Stickman Golf 2 challenges you to complete courses at or under par. Sounds a lot like golf, right? Well, instead of straight shots from tee-off to the green, each hole in Super Stickman Golf 2 plays out like an obstacle course. There are pits, sand traps, water traps, moving platforms, lasers that vaporize your perfectly-aimed shots, and portals inspired by Valve's popular spatial puzzler: smack a ball through one portal and it pops out the other.
Super Stickman Golf 2 is at its best once you've unlocked a few different ball types and set foot in the more challenging courses. You might need to smack an ice ball against the wall to send it arcing over your avatar and sailing into the pond below, which freezes over, setting up your next shot. On another occasion, you could use the sticky ball to pull a Spider-Man and take your next shot hanging from a wall or ceiling, or use the magnets adorning the walls to repel your ball straight to the hole. Pursuing and finally capturing elusive hole-in-ones is addictive, and you'll often find yourself playing courses over and over to knock a single point off your total score.
Super Stickman Golf 2 also introduces customization options, some of which might prove divisive in multiplayer. As you complete achievements and solve courses, you'll earn bux, in-game currency that lets you play a lottery for a chance to earn hats. Each hat modifies your game in a different way, such as adding power to your shots, slowing down or speeding up your shot meter, or turning water to blood, a purely aesthetic change. Players who prefer to play using only ball power-ups might not like the fact that hats can be worn in multiplayer games, but more skilled players usually come out on top over those who rely on hats.
The bigger issue arises with the game's IAP offerings. Players interested in multiplayer can race to the cup to see who can complete a hole first, or play friends over a series of turn-based matches. You can even host up to 25 turn-based sessions at once--if you're willing to pay $3 for IAP. In Noodlecake's defense, 25 is a big number, and most players probably won't want or need to host that many sessions simultaneously. But charging real money for a power meter that shows the strength of your last shot, which you might need to determine whether you should add or decrease power to your next shot, seems unfair. The obvious ploy to take more of your money to enable features that maybe, probably should have been part of the standard package is a recurring problem spread far and wide across the App Store.
IAP grievances aside, Super Stickman Golf 2 is a fun and compelling puzzler, and a steal at only a buck.
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