Developer: NoodleCake Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 2.4
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

In the rush to push graphics and sound to the bleeding edge, a lot of developers seem to forget that the most important thing about any game is to provide solid, fun core gameplay. This is a concept the studio behind Stick Golf takes very seriously, as they have released a game which may not be visually overwhelming, but instead offers some of the most fun and engaging play of any app in recent memory. This game is as straightforward as it gets, and it’s also one of the most fun games you’ll play all year.

The setup in Stick Golf couldn’t be simpler, merely aim the trajectory of your ball, set the power and then try and get to the green in as few strokes as possible. The trick comes in the level design, which features an ever-expanding lineup of super-challenging holes. Course design is the epitome of risk/reward, with plenty of shots meant to entice players to take a risk. Hit the shot perfectly and you’ll be set up for an amazing score, miss by just a fraction and you’re in a hazard and likely taking penalty strokes. This layout makes the game challenging but rarely frustrating, as you always feel that you’re right on the cusp of figuring out a hole and shooting an unbelievable score.

The only thing that prevents Stick Golf from being a dream come true is the lack of fine-tuning in the controls. You can only change your shot direction by tapping on onscreen arrows, so it’s sometimes difficult to get the absolute perfect angle. This isn’t a problem in most games, but in a title demanding this high a level of precision it can sometimes cause problems. Then again, most missed shots are due to your own miscalculation rather than the game trying to cheat you, so this minor issue may be little more than a scapegoat.

With tons of challenge, a wide variety of substantially different courses and a great sense of verticality in the levels, Stick Golf is an app which any iPhone owner should definitely have in their collection. Say goodbye to your loved ones since you won’t be seeing them for a while and then dive into this absolutely amazing game.

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