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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.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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