If you’ve been hanging around Newgrounds then the mere mention of anything being based around stick-figures probably leaves you with an immediate expectation for massive amounts of violence and blood. Although Super Stickman Golf 3 (out now, free) has neither blood nor violence contained anywhere within, it’s still an amazingly solid game despite the absolute lack of any obtainable massacre. While I’d normally wait until much further down to mention something like this, I’d just like to explicitly declare up front that Super Stickman Golf 3 is quite pleasantly non-aggressive with its IAP options as well.
Perhaps the first major thing you’ll notice about Super Stickman Golf 3 is that the entire experience is played from a two-dimensional side-view, rather than a perspective more commonly associated with golfing games. This radically changes the experience into what might best be called a mixture of golfing meets platform-jumping, as your goal here is to safely launch your ball from one floating-island over to the next. Although this probably goes without saying, but managing to drop your ball into the abyss below — much like doing so would affect Super Mario himself — is going to get you penalized.
Your basic controls in Super Stickman Golf 3 are pretty much standard for most older golfing games (if you’ve ever tackled any of them), such as the energy bar you tap once to begin it moving back and forth. You’ll then tap this button a second time to lock in the strength of your next swing, with the power gauge having a different meaning based on whether or not your stick-golfer is currently standing on a green-patch. To put it in other words: your protagonist avoids viciously slamming the ball off into the stratosphere whenever he’s standing on the greens (but be careful, as not all green-patches are near the goal).
Beyond merely choosing the power of your next strike, you may additionally choose in which of the 360-degrees available your golfer next sends his ball (unless — yet again — you’re standing upon the greens, at which point he’ll avoid launching the ball upwards). One novel thing here is that you’re free to select the angle of your shot after the strength has already been locked in, whereas most other games force you to pick a direction without yet knowing precisely how hard you’ll be swinging. It’s possible this has been done since you’ll sometimes find yourself shooting from a rotating platform (just remember that after everything is locked in, the actual swing still takes a few frames).
If you’re still having trouble visualizing how all of this would work from a two-dimensional side-view, then just imagine that you’re playing the golfing equivalent of Worms, Scorched Earth or even Haypi Dragon (our review).
While that by itself might be a nice change of pace from most other golfing games out there, you will — in order to ensure things stay fresh — additionally be dealing with a wide range of obstacles over in Super Stickman Golf 3. Other than the obvious hazards such as sand and water, you’ll additionally encounter: sticky-surfaces, anti-gravity fields, frustrating bank-shots, all alongside plenty other perilous predicaments! As you progress through the various courses, each of which contains nine holes to conquer, you’ll quickly realize that Super Stickman Golf 3 is far more of a puzzle-game than it ever truly was about golfing.
Thankfully to help you out with these perplexing situations are an array of abilities no real-world golfer would ever dare hope for, such as the means to apply some serious post-launch spin to your ball! Players can — once per launching — choose to add bonus left/right spin to their ball (at least up until the moment it stops rolling), with the added caveat that this spin will be stronger the sooner its activated. Correctly employing this technique can often allow you to easily shave entire strokes off your score (which is vital to success), whereas misuse of this ability can easily throw your ball down treacherous ledges!
Speaking of shaving precious strokes off your score, you’ll additionally reduce your current score by one whenever the ball lands perfectly in the hole without first touching the ground (this is known as a “swish”, and doesn’t even have to be on your first swing)! Of course one must be sure when attempting this impressive-feat that they haven’t used excessive amounts of power, or else their ball will careen off the hole’s edge (in the process flying off to only God knows where)! Thankfully I’ve never once had problems with the game’s controls, and — as such — it was always exclusively my fault whenever such a horrible fate ended up befalling me during Super Stickman Golf 3.
Anyways, beyond dramatically post-launch changing the spin of your ball, you’ll additionally have various power-ups which you can employ to aid with surviving otherwise tricky situations. Although you begin with only the Mulligan — which lets you redo a shot — later abilities include: a sticky ball that stops on most surfaces, an ice ball that can land safely on water, a physics defying anti-gravity ball, plus numerous others. You can use these special abilities up to seven times during any given course, with additional uses — beyond the initial seven — requiring the expenditure of what Super Stickman Golf 3 refers to as “Bux” (either that, or wholesale restarting the course from scratch).
Although these “Bux” can be slowly earned — either by completing in-game objectives, or by grabbing them with your ball — you’ll primarily want to save these up for additional card-packs (unless of course your plan to buy them in bulk via IAPs). These card-packs are additionally earned by completing each of the game’s nine-hole courses for the very first time, and reward the player with a randomized assortment of cards when opened. These cards — once they’ve first been obtained — allow you to permanently change your stick-golfer’s appearance in various ways, with the options selected usually having minor-perks towards your ability to make use of Super Stickman Golf 3’s helpful power-ups.
Thankfully, so long as you’re willing to redo a course a few times – or at least until you’ve mastered its lay-out – it never actually seemed as though one truly needed to buy “Bux” in order to complete something. Admittedly: one can also spend “Bux” to more expediently increase their range of customization options, but — as I just mentioned — none of the wardrobe-rewarded perks were ever significantly powerful. This leaves IAP options such as the permanent EXP-Doubler (although I’ve not yet figured out your in-game level’s purpose), the ability to see your last shot’s strength, and the ad-remover.
Ultimately I’d have to say that I genuinely recommend Super Stickman Golf 3, especially if you ever fancied playing a game that somehow successfully combined elements of the Worms series with the conceit of golfing. There’s a wide variety of courses to challenge, obstacles to evade, and power-ups to employ, all making for a game you won’t likely complete any time soon (especially since even more courses can be purchased later on). Couple this with an array of IAP options that aren’t likely to drive you bonkers, and you quickly have the obvious king of two-dimensional side-view based golfing experiences (assuming this was ever a fully-developed genre to begin with).
Super Stickman Golf 3 is a unique blend of golfing mixed with a two-dimensional side-view perspective, with the end result playing quite a bit more like a single-player puzzle-driven version of Worms than a golfing simulator. Players are challenged to use their skill — plus their power-ups — to traverse through a variety of nine-hole courses, each of which are laden with various trials: sticky-floors, anti-gravity fields, tricky bank-shots, and more! Thankfully the controls for Super Stickman Golf 3 are certainly up to the challenge, and the game’s IAP-options — although existent — are not designed with the intent of blocking players striving for golfing-glory.