"You should really get into golf," all my friends told me. "Golf's great! No, seriously, come out and hit the links with us, you'll have a blast." Being the highly impressionable and socially needy person that I am, I relented.
Eleven years later, all I have to show for my hundred and twenty dollars is a dusty set of golf clubs and traumatically bad memories of mud traps (yes, mud traps, not sand traps), and the things that lived in them.
What I needed was something that could tilt things in my favor. What I needed, besides a few thousand hours of golf lessons, was the ability to manipulate each hole such that it catered to my personal playing style. What I needed was Putt Base.
A sort of physics-based puzzler in the same vein as PuzzPinball, Putt Base tasks you with holes that would make a mini-putt master balk, and then asks that you complete each with a hole-in-one.
Sound impossible? Don't worry, to your credit you get to edit the course to your liking with a limited number of several different blocks that can change the direction your ball travels, give it a little boost, or nullify the bounce while increasing momentum.
Further, while there is a reward and demerit system at work in Putt Base, you effectively have all the time in the world to map things out just right. No need to throw your clubs, though I can't promise you won't eventually end up splayed out on the course screaming, "Why don't you just go home?!"
Analysis: When I first picked up Putt Base, two things jumped right out at me that allowed this game to stand apart from an already pretty well stocked field. The first was the fact that it wasn't gravity based, and the second was the fact that you received full control of the ball's direction when you first set things in motion.
In all of the variants of this style of game I've played before, there's always gravity, and the opening direction of ball travel is almost always straight down. That Putt Base alters these two seemingly minor factors in gameplay really opens up the field of possibilities for anyone willing to explore them.
Because you are no longer constrained by gravity, and forced to deal with the opening direction as it is given to you, each level has a plethora of solutions just waiting to be discovered. It's all about you, what you see, and how you plot out a path to the hole. The one downside to this is that occasionally the game will devolve into pixel hunting, but this shouldn't be too common of an occurrence.
Beyond this, Putt Base remains pretty straight forward. The types of blocks available is a little bit meager but gets the job done, and the fact that you can't rotate them can be either a blessing or a curse depending on if you see this as an added challenge, or an annoying oversight.
I would have also liked to have seen a little more variety in the aesthetics; the visuals are nice, but a lack of variation can get a little on the repetitive side after a while. But beyond some cosmetic shortcomings, and a general desire for a little bit more of everything, there's not a whole lot to complain about with Putt Base.
The point and advancement system takes a little getting used to but is ultimately fair, and gives you just enough incentive to go back to try completed levels again while at the same time forcing you to put a little effort into reaching the next level.
All in all, if you're a fan of this style of game, Putt Base will definitely be a welcome addition to the growing library already out there. If you aren't, there just might be enough new offered here to change your mind.