App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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There have been quite a few attempts to develop games that double as a sort of daily ritual in the wake of Wordle, but I'm not sure many have had all the requisite components to compete at this level. After spending a few weeks with Coffee Golf, though, I am prepared to say that this daily golfer is probably the closest I've seen anything come to recreating such a winning formula.
Coffee Golf is a casual golf game that serves up a unique landscape with five different holes on it every day. With three clubs at your disposal, you can chart your own path through the course in an effort to take as few strokes as possible. Once you've completed the course, your score is tallied, you can get some limited information on how you measured up against other players, and share your score easily by copying your scorecard to post an emoji-laden readout of your performance.
Outside of the nonlinear structure, Coffee Golf doesn't get too off-kilter with its brand of golfing. Course obstacles are standard sand traps and trees, and your clubs are the familiar basic tools of a driver, wedge, and putter. You control your strokes through dragging and releasing on the screen, with longer shots typically being less accurate than short-game strokes.
If you spend even a small amount of time with Coffee Golf, its similarity to Wordle is easy to see. Each time you boot the app, you see the day's course and start, with no other menu options or alternate modes around to distract you. Also, each course just takes a few minutes to complete and your shareable scorecard is just as colorful, clever, and fun to share as Wordle's.
Where it departs--obviously--is in the actual activity, but I have to say I quite like the feel of Coffee Golf's swing mechanics and it feels more immediately like a game of skill than Wordle. Where the latter always starts as a pure guessing game, the way you decide to approach holes from your first tee-off in Coffee Golf has an impact on the rest of your performance on the day's challenge.
Coffee Golf is a completely free game, but it does offer a single, odd in-app purchase. For $ 3.99, players can unlock "unlimited play" which allows you to replay the day's challenge as many times as you want. This means that paying players can try to change their score after already playing the course, which feels somewhat antithetical to the kind of "once per day" design principle of the game and ones like it.
I can see why someone might want this feature, as Coffee Golf does have an element of randomness to its shot accuracy that can occasionally really throw off a day's score. That said, managing swing variability feels like a core "risk vs. reward" system that creates the challenge of the game in the first place. Personally, I couldn't see using unlimited play as all that rewarding as I'd know that my first attempt is really my true score, but if someone wants to pay for that option who am I to say otherwise?
The bottom line
This is all to say that Coffee Golf is a high quality, fun, and free daily golfer. It is just frictionless enough to making daily play incredibly easy while also maintaining a sense of challenge to drive you to improve. Because of this, I plan to keep golfing over my morning coffee for a good long time.