Back in 2014, Captain Games released one of my favorite mobile games in Desert Golfing. It was a three dollar, procedurally generated 2D golf game that was fairly straightforward. There weren’t any tricks or additional depth to the game, it was just a really simple and well made infinite golf game that might occasionally screw you over with levels that were impossible to complete. It was addicting and calming in a way a lot of mobile games are not. Fast forward to July of 2020, and the sequel, Golf on Mars, was released and it quickly became an obsession of mine just like Desert Golfing did.

I don’t like golf very much as a sport, but I do enjoy it in video game form with 1996 Neo Geo classic Neo Turf Masters being one of my all time favorites. But I find most modern golf games to be a little more tedious and mechanics heavy than I usually enjoy. But Golf on Mars, like its predecessor, doesn’t try to be anything more than a fun way to kill a few minutes at a time. A ball appears, you drag your finger back and release to shoot and do your best to get it in the hole. There’s no par to contend with nor any reward for a hole-in-one, it is truly and endless meditative golf experience – or your version of hell if your really don’t like golf.

Golf on Mars doesn’t innovate too much, but adds in two integral features that will better prevent you from hitting a sudden dead-end in the way you could in Desert Golfing. The first is the ability to add spin to the ball. A small circle will appear that denotes if you’re spinning the ball clockwise or counterclockwise, which is controlled by dragging another finger across the screen while you’re pulled back for your shot. It’s simple and doesn’t really have too many practical applications for a lot of levels, but whenever I’d need to land on one of the many precarious platforms, I was glad it was there.

The other is the ability to skip levels. Sometimes the procedural generation will spit out levels that you literally cannot finish. Maybe the hole is on a platform too high or far away, or an obstacle fell over and covered the hole. Whatever it is, after 25 strokes the game pops up a button that allows you to skip the level. It might not seem like a big innovation, but it truly sucked in Desert Golfing to be on hole 5000 or something, and suddenly be face to face with an impossible challenge that would make the game unplayable. I wish you could just hit that button from the start considering I never need 25 strokes to realize a hole is functionally busted, but it is what it is.

Otherwise, Golf on Mars is just a really solid time waster. It isn’t a game of depth or something that requires much attention, but it’s a great game to pull out when you’ve got nothing else to do. I think everyone who has a passing interest in arcade styled golf games should give it a shot, but I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. All I know is that I’m on level 2100, and I’m still opening up the app almost daily in the hopes I’ll see a UFO or something.

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