Gophers aren't usually a nuisance in miniature golf, yet they dig up their fair share of pitfalls in Mini Golf Wacky Worlds. This kooky putting game has out-of-control style and charm that could use fundamental changes to fill in some of its holes.
The controls are functional but unremarkable. Each hole begins with the tee off, which involves setting your golfer's starting position and shot angle by sliding a finger left or right. Once confirmed, you determine the power of the swing using a vertical gauge on the right.
A system that provides for greater interaction would not only be more fun, but likely increase precision. The vertical power gauge doesn't feel entirely accurate, though it is functional. Similarly, sliding a finger to set the shot angle works, even though it jumps instead of slowly panning to the left or right when prompted.
These issues don't sink Mini Golf Wacky Worlds, especially since the game's best asset - the courses themselves - is the main draw.
The game takes you on a wild ride through four crazy courses: Tiki Links, Sky Lands, Arctic Nine, and Cheese World. While tiki-styled miniature golfing has long been a tradition and the quaint gardens of Sky Lands feel familiar, the 18 holes split between the frosty fairways of the Arctic Nine and gooey greens of Cheese World are wholly original.
Wacky, indeed: each course comes with holes featuring unusual contraptions, odd angles, and other unlikely obstacles that fit within its kooky theme. Knives cut through massive cheddar wheels in Cheese World, for instance, while ladybugs flutter about in Sky World.
Sinking your putts is as much a matter of circumventing these obstacles as it is figuring out the geometry of the hole.
Fortunately, par is within reach on every hole. Thanks to generous stroke counts nearly early every hole can be met with par or better on first pass when played in the main Tee Off mode. This becomes much more difficult in Gopher Golf and Timed Golf. Both take place on the four aforementioned course, the difference being the rules of play.
Gopher Golf tasks you with sink putts, but doing so while avoiding gophers that pop up on the green. You can knock gophers out by hitting them with your ball, earning bonus points in the process. The drawback, however, is the ability for a gopher to toss a ball resting within reach.
It's considerably more difficult than stroke play, though in a way that comes across as more cartoon comedy than a serious challenge. Some of the holes are tough enough without having your ball frustratingly flung back near the tee.
While the presence of gophers succeeds in making the game more difficult, it doesn't gel as intended. Instead of being a funny tweak on putt-putt golf, it ends up more an annoyance.
Timed Golf, on the other hand, does deliver. Here the goal lies in completing a course under par time. The number of strokes you take is irrelevant so long as you finish before the clock runs out. Of course, fewer strokes preserves time, so you're motivated to play smartly instead of madly rushing. It may not be as quirky as Gopher Golf, but it's never frustrating either.
Without multiplayer of any sort (at the very least a pass-around option should have been included) and the lacklustre quality of Gopher Golf, the game comes down to the quirky appeal of its visuals and course design. Mini Golf Wacky Worlds is entertaining enough in that regard, even if it isn't totally out of this world.