Impressions: Wonderputt

Why are crazy golf courses mostly coastal entities?

Lots of people are talking about Wonderputt, even though it’s a Flash crazy golf game…wait, come back! It’s a Flash crazy golf game with alien abductions and rocket ships! I can’t help but notice that people are still walking away, pretending to have urgent appointments elsewhere, perhaps with more complex and worthy games. Well, forget those games for a minute. I made Wonderputt sound zany, didn’t I, with all that clamouring about alien abductions? It’s not zany, I promise you. Although the voiceover in the trailer below also makes it sound like it might be wacky, which is another thing it’s not.

Science, eh? To be honest, when I played I didn’t feel like I was learning much about anything, except how bad I am at determining angles. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that using Wonderputt as a learning tool would be ill-advised. I’m no scientist but I don’t think anything that happens here could or should be recreated under laboratory conditions. There are far better places to look if it’s science you’re after.

What Wonderputt can provide, however, is an elegant and beautifully designed slice of game right there in your browser. It sounds strange to say in relation to a golf game, but the real joy is between holes, watching how the course, which is a miniature world, alters and shifts to create new obstacles, or to direct your ball toward existing ones. Some of the transitions made me grin and if I were a more extrovert character, I may have doffed my hat, or even barked out a manly huzzah and applauded with a degree of gusto.

The game plays as you might expect. The position of the cursor determines the angle and power of a shot and the less you use to sink the ball, the better. It won’t take long to play through to the end, although taking to the course again adds an extra challenge. Maybe you’ll want to go back and be challenged, but I played for the charm and satisfaction of it. There’s something so very right about the bounce of the ball and the way the score racks up at the end of each hole.

Ultimately, Wonderputt is little more than a fancified coffeebreak timewaster. That said, I immediately wanted to show it to other people. Not just by sharing it here but by calling them over to my screen and letting them have a go. That’s probably why it’s had two million plays in a fortnight. It’s intuitive and simple so there’s no barrier to entry, and it may be a tiny toy but it’s packed with imagination. Will it stick with you? Probably not. But it might brighten up your day and sometimes, that’s enough. Go play.


  1. simoroth says:

    Love the art, but I’m not sure I can invest myself in a free to play, interactive entertainment product, that doesn’t have a hat shop.

  2. Lobotomist says:

    Great, but hell it needs full screen option

    • simoroth says:

      Yeah zooming in in firefox makes it about 10 times more playable.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      If you have Firefox and adblock plus, you can right click where it offers to block the flash player on the page and choose to open it on a new tab – this makes it full screen (almost) and on it’s own – no rubbish round the edge.

      Works on other flash elements too.

    • Kefren says:

      And press F11.

  3. Shar_ds says:

    Played whilst drinking a coffee… it was indeed suited!

  4. terry says:

    Fun until the hole with the timed grill things, then too trial and error for me. Charming graphics though!

  5. Robin says:

    It’s pretty and enjoyable enough while it lasts, I do find myself raising an eyebrow at plans for an iOS version though.

  6. Porkolt says:

    I had this wacky space golf game years ago. I loved it to death. This definitely compares (and looks a lot better, I might add). Great fun to play.

    Just too bad it’s only 18 holes and such. But I could see this thing doing really well as a series of iOS apps with the same idea, just a different course every time.

  7. Coins says:

    For some reason this reminds me a great deal of a certain click-puzzle world-building flash game which name escapes me. Golf is cool too, though.

  8. airtekh says:

    Very pretty.

    Music reminds me of the Mirror’s Edge title screen music.

  9. Matzerath says:

    The look for this is amazing. It’s a classy game — an adjective not too many Flash games achieve.

  10. jokomul says:

    Wonderputt is wonderful. If only it was longer :(

  11. Aninhumer says:

    This game is what would happen if the guy who makes the GROW games made a golf game with Google Sketchup. I mean this in a good way.

  12. Avaenuha says:

    Seems like a revamp of Fuzzy Golf, which was a delightful alien-based minigolf game of some two decades ago. I loved that game to death, even after I had memorised the pixel positions of each golf swing.

  13. jrodman says:

    Looks great, but the gameplay does not satisfy.

    The isometric look gets in the way of aiming, and the holes are way too small on the screen. In addition, there’s too much trial and error and replaying a specific hole isn’t available.

    If it had the ability to zoom in on the current hole, and maybe some better aiming UI, it would be a good deal better of a game, but that would detract from its aesthetic, I think.

  14. Dinger says:

    beautiful visuals, cute and witty transitions, mediocre gameplay. Reminds me of Bruce Carver’s early work.

    It’s a fun coffee-break kinda thing, but it commits the cardinal sin of minigolf course design: volcanoes. Volcanoes require the player to hit the ball within a very narrow force band, with punishment being having to redo the shot. Sure, some trial-and-error is needed, but volcanoes are all stick and no carrot. Give me incremental progress.

  15. jakonovski says:

    It looks like a zany golf game to me.

  16. arccos says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting this one. I love interesting little games like this. Any chance this can be a regular feature?