Wednesday 16 December 2015

Putt & Putter (Master System review)

Developer: SIMS
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1992

Putt & Putter is a miniature golf game that was released a year prior on the Sega Game Gear.

It features 18 holes (spread across three stages) and the objective is to continually finish under par to receive additional balls that act as lives; fail to reach par and you lose balls. When you're ready to take a shot an indicator line shows you a partial view of the ball's path, as well as how it will careen off an obstacle. The courses are completely different from the portable version although Stage 1 does feature the same pinball bumpers and moving travelators that push your ball over the edge; however, one new object is a switch that disables the latter. In Stage 2 there are multiple 'In' icons that teleport your ball somewhere else on the course; the problem is that it's potluck as to whether you pick the right one and you can end up back near the start! Stage 3 introduces moving platforms and tons of water hazards. It's challenging, but not in a good way, and serious frustration starts to set in due to the punishing courses with little margin for error. Overall, there's nothing interesting about any of the courses as the level design is bland and devoid of any fun factor. Also, with only 18 holes (24 if you count the Practice holes) it's much shorter than the miniscule Game Gear version (that had 32 courses) so before long you've seen everything it has to offer. If you make it through all six holes in a stage you reach a Bonus Round; this challenges you to putt the ball in one go while avoiding tons of obstacles on a small scale course. You have five tries and each time you succeed you gain an additional ball towards the next stage. It's a novel approach but one that's rather dull, once again due to the boring design.
Putt & Putter is frustrating as it takes the worst parts from the Game Gear original and makes an entire set of courses based around these features! When the level design is this poor it's just no fun to play and I'd recommend avoiding this one completely unless you're a golf fanatic.
Random trivia: The Master System version was only released in Brazil, Europe and Korea.

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