Mini-Golf Gone Wild

Any real sportsman knows there’s nothing miniature about minigolf. Dealing with clown windmills, uneven terrain, and the constant bear attacks isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Even dedicated weekend warriors sometimes can’t make it to their battlefield of choice. Super Putt lets you play in such varied and–as the name would imply–extreme locations, like a lifeless desert, or even the planet Mars. Super Putt has a neat, cartoonish look, and features play enhancing power-ups that distinguish it from other games in the genre.

In Super Putt, you can choose between four distinctive characters, each of which obviously hails from one of the game’s several minigolf locales. For example, Zub–the bobbleheaded, Spielberg-style alien–likely comes from the Outer Limits course, or at least Cactus Creek. Despite their physical differences, all of these characters play the same. You have only to aim and to select the speed at which you’d like to hit the ball. There are no annoying power meters or similar timing elements–just you, the ball, and freedom.

Just about every hole houses a bouncing present icon, which, when struck, will yield one of several fabulous prizes. One such item allows you to see the exact course of your ball, while another will tip in your shot, should it fall just short of the pin. The addition of these power-ups adds some welcome uniqueness to the game.

Also unique is Super Putt’s online play, which can match you against another putter using GPRS connectivity. Alternately, you can challenge a buddy directly by entering his user name. You can watch your opponent line up his shot, but not in real time. It seems like your phone pings the server every two to three seconds and finds out where your adversary is aiming his putter. When the shot fires, however, you and your opponent will see it roll almost simultaneously. Signals were never dropped, even during extended pauses.

Super Putt Xtreme’s wild courses aren’t just visually set on other planets; the physics are matched to these forbidding locales as well. Mars’ gravity is less than that of Earth’s. You’ll have to compensate accordingly, especially while putting into jump pads or ramps, because either is liable to send your ball hurtling into the stratosphere. Putting is all about physics, so it’s great that Mforma switched up that element of play.

Audiovisually, Super Putt isn’t all that impressive when compared to other games on the LG VX 8000. However, the game’s colorful characters and courses maintain a consistent style, reminiscent of Hot Shots Golf. You won’t hear much sound, save for the celebratory whoops of your characters. While some more audio variety would have been nice, the game’s near silence could be said to aid one’s concentration.

To adapt a Homer Simpson line, if horse racing is the sport of kings, then, surely, minigolf must be a very good sport as well. In turn, Super Putt Xtreme is a very good representation of that sport, and it is recommendable to any fan thereof.

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