Wizard Golf RPG is a mash-up of top-down mini-golf and turn-based dungeon-crawling. Instead of fairways and sand-traps, you're faced with chests and mana-depleting nasties.

Rather than a golfer, ball, and clubs, a druid takes on all three roles, flinging himself about the place as a fireball.

Initially, it's all quite jolly, with Gandalf McIlroy zooming around single-screen dungeons, smashing pots, bouncing off of walls, opening chests, collecting gems, colliding with skeletons, and finally reaching the hole, reimagined as a ladder to danker depths.

Three goals for each nine-hole course also encourage repeat play, even if the goals lack imagination - par, kill all monsters, and find hidden skulls. Par is required to access the next course in each quest. Getting enough skulls unlocks new quests.

Below the hole

However, the more you play, the more nagging issues transform what should have been a birdie into a bit of a bogie.

Visually, at least, the game's quite smart, even if the chunky pixelated characters are somewhat derivative of classic RPG titles. The audio's less impressive, comprising sparse spot effects and badly (and rapidly) looping short tunes.

But the gameplay is where Wizard Golf RPG's attempted drive too often becomes a nasty slice into a nearby fetid swamp.

The review copy was very buggy, occasionally depleting the druid's mana even when enemies had been disposed of, or not bestowing skulls despite playing the relevant sound effect on opening a chest.

Some holes even had impossible pars, meaning you'd have to to amazingly well on other holes to have a chance to par the lot.

The developer says 'balancing' the last of those issues will be fixed in an update, but that won't really be enough. Too many courses demand a level of precision that's absurdly difficult to achieve with the finicky power meter that buzzes back and forth like an angry fly trapped in a jar.

This robs the game of finesse and hurls it into luck territory, especially on courses where you regularly need to hit maximum power, to turn the druid into a fireball that blazes through (rather than rebounds off of) hazards.

Not-so-fair-way

Perhaps this is all supposed to drive you to the in-game store, which allows you to buy gems and subsequently gorge yourself on power-ups. There's a spell for stopping the ball dead, and another that enables the druid to smash through cracked walls.

It certainly feels that way, given that the latter spell enables you to collect an otherwise inaccessible skull on one hole, while the former makes holes comprising bridges and tiny islands surrounded by water hazards finally seem possible.

The question is whether you'll want to invest - either in terms of time or money - to make Wizard Golf RPG a bit more fun.

Looser pars earlier on, leaving Game Center for score battles, combined with a less crazed power meter would be a good start, as would squashing the many bugs.

As it stands, Wizard Golf RPG's free and worth a look, but don't expect it to blaze past the likes of the far superior Super Stickman Golf 2 in your 'oddball minigolf game' rankings.