How to characterize Wonderputt, the new mini-golf putting game from Reece Millidge of Damp Gnat? You're pushing a little ball around eighteen holes in pursuit of the lowest score, so it may seem like an open-and-shut adventure golf game with a healthy helping of physics to power some impossible in the real world issues like a course that's inspired by M. C. Escher's Waterfall. But just look at that screencap! That's some seriously wonderful art there, and wait until you see it animated.
The control scheme should be familiar, especially to those who have played the studio's previous release Adverputt: move the cursor around, and an arrow will show where you're aiming and how powerful the hit will be. Then just click to launch the ball. Simple as that. If you're playing in normal mode (the mode that's available when you first start the game), your only goal is to complete each hole with the fewest strokes possible. After you beat the game once, you'll unlock a mode where collectables (little rainbow gems) will appear on the course, and collecting them will fill up a rainbow and add points to your score.
The upper left corner contains sound and music controls, as well as an "i" icon that takes you to something like a menu screen. Here, you can check out your achievements for things like speed completion, check your current and previous scores, and jump to a specific hole if you've already completed the game.
Analysis: The world of Wonderputt is a delightfully surreal locale. I started to write a bit about some of the surprises in store, but it's really better for you to discover the, yes, wonders of the animations during and between holes yourself. The myriad sound effects and music work perfectly with the visuals, so don't turn the sound and music off unless you don't have a choice otherwise.
Reece could have simply made this a webtoy if sharing the art with no effort on the player's part was all that he wanted to do. Some holes require quite a lot of effort, actually. The physics aren't unfair or broken, it's just some of the requirements are very precise, with numerous holes featuring narrow platforms, ramps, ledges, and even water traps. You can take as many strokes as you need to finish a hole, although you might feel somewhat depressed when you finally finish a hole, feeling triumphant, and then see "bogey x 15" pop up on the screen. But then a tiny orca or something comes along in the transitional animation and distracts you from this depression and all is right with the world again. It's like the Flash game version of an ice cream from the snack shop to cheer yourself up after the windmill hole completely owns you at the miniature golf course. And since Wonderputt involves 100% less public humiliation, I'd say it's a clear advantage to Wonderputt. Well played, Wonderputt. Well. Played.