Video games are about both form and function. It doesn't matter how pretty your game is, or how cleverly you get players from one part of your world to the next - you need to get the basic gameplay right or people will get bored.
At first glance, Wonderputt is a breathtakingly good-looking game, and its transitions from hole to hole are whimsical enough to make you smile when they happen.
But the actual golfing - the thing you're buying the game for - is just too bland.
The game takes place on a single screen, with 18 holes of miniature golf arranged around it. Each of these has a par score, and the more points you get under that the better. The holes are all cleverly interlaced, and watching the way the world changes is awe-inspiring.
The sections of the course aren't static, though. Once you've finished off a hole on a snowy slope, it melts and turns into a lily pad-covered pond. Putt the ball in the pond and it freezes and becomes a new challenge.
All of this surreal deformation happens in a small section of the screen, letting the game give you five holes where it looked like only one would fit.
You control your strokes by tapping the ball and dragging back your finger, angling your shot by sliding it around, and then letting fly by lifting it from the screen. The problem is, there's so much packed into the world that it's easy to obscure an important obstacle with your slovenly digits.
Wonder no more
The system worked fine in the game's original incarnation as a free Flash title, with mouse and pointer letting you angle your shots without a care. Here it feels like a hangover, and you're rarely able to get the precision you really need.
A lack of variation thwarts Wonderputt, too. Once you've played through it once, you've basically seen it all. There are achievements to unlock, and rainbow shards to collect, but no extra courses to play.
It's a colossal shame, because everything else about the package is stunning, from the mood-setting music to the brilliant animations and well thought-out holes. Wonderputt is a game you'll want to love with all your heart, but it quickly turns into too much of a chore.