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Golf Battle – fast-paced online mini-golf

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Developer: Miniclip
Price: Free
Size: 129 MB
Version: 1.9.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Golf Battle

Golf is the gamiest of sports. It tasks you with getting to the end of a series of twisty, obstacle-strewn ‘levels’ as efficiently as possible through a series of skillful bounces and rebounds. It’s basically Super Mario, but with dimpled balls.

Game makers have exploited this kinship to great effect over the years. And while Golf Battle isn’t as tight as Super Stickman 3 or as imaginative as Golf Club: Wasteland, it does provide a very fun game of casually competitive mini-golf.

The color-coded control system is highly intuitive

The game it bears most resemblance to, at least conceptually, is Golf Blitz. Just as in Noodlecake’s masterpiece, the idea is to sink putts at the same time as your online opponents. You don’t just need to be accurate with your chip-and-putt game, but also quick.

Finishing first gives you the edge in a tie-break situation, and it also starts a countdown for your opponents to finish. There’s even a dedicated Rush mode where speed is everything, and finishing one hole hurries you on to the next regardless of your opponent’s position.

There are often multiple routes to success

The main difference between Golf Battle and the aforementioned Golf Blitz is the perspective. This one is fully 3D, and you can pan the camera around simply by touching and dragging left and right. The graphics are bland but crisp and colourful, as Miniclip’s games tend to be.

Control is similarly on the nose: a simple matter of touching and dragging away from the ball to set your power, then releasing to give the ball a good thwack. You’ll gradually accrue and upgrade clubs that will let you hit further and more accurately, but the onus is on you to play the right shot and keep the ball in bounds.

Holing out allows you the luxury of watching you opponents scramble

That becomes surprisingly challenging as further themed courses unlock, bringing branching pathways, precarious bridges, banked turns, slippery ice and more. The range of environmental modifiers and the variety of courses is genuinely impressive, and they encourage you to do much more than just hit and hope.

There’s a fair amount of heavy-handed IAP prompts and loot box timers to wade through, though the game still leans on skill first and foremost. It’s far from pay to win, even if you can pay to bolster the potency of your clubs.

Loot boxes are present

We also find it irritating that you have to log in using Facebook if you want anything more than a random jumble of numbers for your user name and image.

Ultimately, Golf Battle doesn’t join the very elite of the casual golf sub-genre. Golf Blitz, in particular, does this kind of thing much better, with more personality and nuance. But if all you’re after is a simple and slick game of online 3D mini-golf, it should suit you to a tee.