Monday, August 22, 2011

IPad App Review: Super Stick Man Golf HD

Released Summer 2011, Super Stick Man Golf is a sequel to the entirely successful Stick Man Golf.  And as sequels go, it's pretty fantastic.  Essentially staying true to the original with the same easy control system but with improved graphics, more courses and now, power-ups, it's a big update.

All the courses from the original are there and while *most* of the tactics still work, Noodlecake have increased the sensitivity for the ball dropping into the hole.  No more can you blindly shoot at full speed and it will go in, care and attention to velocity is more apparent than before.  At first and after playing the first game to death, this was quite frustrating but it soon becomes second nature.  Thankfully, they have got rid of the wind on the 'hard' setting and instead have opted for more elaborate courses to compensate for a lack of choice in skill levels.

The power-ups I initially thought to be an unnecessary gimmick but they really do add an extra layer of gameplay.  Expect to see fire-balls (shoot stupidly long distances), sticky-balls (stick to walls) and amongst other stuff, the nitro-ball that essentially allows three shots to be performed in one go.  The latter is particularly essential in beating those all-important high-scores.  Speaking of which, GameCentre support is all present and correct which means you can compare your highs to those who are obviously cheating (somehow) from around the World.  You only get seven power-up shots to put in your 'bag' per round of golf so you can't just use them blithely on every hole and a little shot management is in order.

In addition to the original courses (or Classic Tour as they call it), there is also the Super-Tour (think, advanced) and Advanced Tour (think, super-advanced, super-hard).  The themes running throughout are eclectic and range from playing in trees to a space station to a rather beautiful autumnal course.  They are incredibly ridiculous (in a good way) and it takes some doing to get a gold star on all of them, over 250 in fact.

Multiplayer is probably the biggest addition to the series.  Now you can face off against anyone from around the World in a first-to-the-hole competition.  It's not perfect and finding a connection to a suitable host can take ages sometimes but playing against an online player is tense in a fun way.  The power-ups are divided equally so each player has the same opportunities.  I have found the games where the opposition is hosting the game to be a little one-sided - they seem to be able to get to their shot much faster and due to lag, those all-important milli-seconds add up to losing.  Of course, the opposite is also true so I suppose it balances out.  Multiplayer, along with GameCentre, add a massive dose of longevity that was perhaps missing from the first game.

The graphics have been given a marginal upgrade.  By that I mean they look a little more crisp, a little more depth of vision but they're still undeniably the same game.  That's not a criticism, just an observation.  Stability is good and I've had no crashes at all.  Apparently version 1.6 from July 2011 onwards solves a problem with unlocking with the Nitro-ball but it's not something I have come across. 

Overall, an excellent addition to the series and a worthy update, even if you have the original.  At a stupidly low price of 69 pence, it's a crime not to try it out.

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