Zany Golf is a fun and quirky mini-golf game brought to us by Will Harvey and the team that would later go on to develop The Immortal
Zany Golf introduces a clever and addicting gameplay similar to table pool video games, but with a campy theme of miniature golf in a very bizarro world.
Players click on the ball, pull the mouse in the reverse direction we want the ball to travel (the further back you pull the more powerful the stroke) and release the mouse button to launch the ball.
The game starts out a lot like one might expect in mini golf - almost to the point of comfortable cliché. You whack your golf ball to go through some sort of cartoonishly miniaturized building: a windmill, a barn or a lighthouse. It makes me feel like I’m back in Dallas in 1986, playing Putt-Putt
golf with my brother with 9 holes of mini-golf and a nice, big arcade.
The game is really easy for anyone to sit down and play. Frankly those kinds of games are pretty few and far between, so Zany Golf gets huge marks on accessibility and being approachable right out of the gate.
And the graphics look fantastic. Full stop.
The tunes are a borderline manic carnival, which actually works really well. The game was originally designed on the Apple IIgs with 15-voice synthesis. As such, the score on the Amiga is missing some instruments and notes and is even crazier sounding than was originally intended. But it works.
There are nine main levels, and one bonus round. As a result, the game feels really short. And that’s where Zany Golf falls down a little bit. The balance is a bit out of whack.
The first three levels are so easy, they can be learned and completed in extremely short order.
But then there is the pinball level.
Pinball removes the idea of skill “shots” the user tries to make through accurate geometry, and introduces a fairly basic pinball machine and a whole lotta random. At it’s core, this makes the level and being able to beat it almost 100% random and, frankly, often comes off feeling unfair and somewhat broken.
Not only is the pinball board not a very good design, but the controls are pretty terrible, too. Several times we've hit the ball with the flippers only to watch the ball go down the drain anyway.
If and when you ever do get past the unfair pinball level, you’re back to really fun and innovative levels that shine with creativity. In some regards, the level designs and interactions remind us of the artistic originality of Marble Madness.
Zany Golf is one of the few games on the Amiga that I’d label as modern-kid-friendly. My son loves the chance to play. And when we beat a hole under par, it really does make us scream out with triumph. If the pinball hole wasn’t such a random drag, and if the game was 18 holes instead of just 9, Zany Golf would be one of our favorite games. As it stands, it leaves us wanting a more.
We intentionally did not show every single level below in order to keep some of the surprise for those that want to give Zany Golf a try for the first time.
This game was played via boot-floppy on an Amiga 2000 running OS 1.3.
Intro Animation and Music