Game

This frenetic platformer provides a big challenge for gamers

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.11
Size: 14.7 MB
Platform: iPhone/iPad
Developer: GESINIMO GAMES

Punchgolf

The name PUNCHGOLF is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, there’s punching, but there’s very little resembling golf to speak of.

Jump, punch, collect stuff

That said, it’s a fairly novel approach to 2D platforming. You play a little character who, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, runs until it completes a level, collecting items along the way. Simple, familiar. However, the nuance comes with a great big boxing glove. The appearance of this giant hand bashes the character on its way – but this little character is not indestructible, and should it hit a wall or knock an edge at the wrong angle, it’s toast.

Time it right to avoid smashing into walls

It gets pretty difficult thanks to the speed it’s pelting at, so you have to look to your old friend the bizarre, where-did-it-even-come-from massive red boxing glove to bosh you down and out of the way of the obstacles. You do this by double-tapping. Tap once to jump, tap again to smash the little guy back down so he doesn’t jump too far into a wall.

So, where’s this whole golf thing coming from? Well, we can confirm, that having just checked the App Store page once more to double-check whether the stupidly ginormous does-it-even-know-it’s-alive red boxing glove even has a name, we’ve since found that the little character is actually a golf ball. Well, that explains it. We’ll ignore the legs and body it seems to use to run with.

Punch down to avoid flying into obstacles

Nonsensities aside, PUNCHGOLF’s appeal is in its relative difficulty. It’s fiddly, and requires skill and timing, which many platformers forget. It reminds us a little of Mr Jump in that regard and shares some of the same sensibilities.

However, design-wise it’s also a little less honed. The super-short levels are fast, but a little samey. Don’t expect too much in the way of varying game mechanics. The pixel-led endless runner has a number of different design approaches. But these are almost like skins which you unlock with a (pretty large) amount of items that you collect. For example, you can collect 3 of the items per level and you’ll have to grab the lot on the first 25 levels before you can give the game a new lick of paint. Alternatively, you can watch an ad. We weren’t sure which was more exhausting.

Playing in landscape might help… but we found it slowed the game down

You can also choose different balls which may also represent other non-ball like options like chicken and ghosts. You can also turn your device to landscape which allows you to see more of what’s coming up in front of you. Sadly, we also ran into lower framerates and more bugs in that orientation. There’s another weird quirk – this one’s intentional, at least – which abruptly launches slow-motion after collecting the final item in a level. At this point you inevitably panic, hit another button, smash into a wall, and have to restart the level. That was infuriating.

Smash down to end the level!

Despite all the weirdness, PUNCHGOLF can be fun, if you’re in the right mood. (Even if it’s not quite golf-y enough to make our golf games roundup.) It’s free and ad-supported and the constant respawning does mean those ads come around pretty quick. But who are you to complain? Get punching.

PUNCHGOLF – a fist-powered platform game
Decent game, if lacking in memorability
For
  • Challenging gameplay
  • Breakneck speed
Against
  • Lacking in variety
  • Minor quirks and bugs
3.5Overall Score