Play a newer, more airborne version of mini golf with Pangolin

No doubt you’ve played miniature golf at some point in your life. Maybe you even experienced the game on one of those cool courses that are decorated with fiberglass dinosaurs and rusty windmill blades that squeal like tortured rabbits as they rotate forever and ever. But not even a day at Pedro’s Crazy Golf Extravaganza can prepare you for the wonders—and occasional frustration—of playing a version of golf that features traps, trampolines, and a scaly mammal.

Pangolin for iOS is a gravity puzzle/golf hybrid with some pretty unique and tough challenges. Your job is to guide the game’s protagonist, a pangolin (that’s an armored, anteater-like mammal—it rolls up for easy storage and golf ball imitations) to the hole at the end of each level.

Easier said than done, though. Most of the courses are filled with traps like bumpers, spikes, crates, and moving walls. Moreover, pangolins are chill animals and don’t like to move under their own power if they can help it. That’s why you need to bounce your pangolin pal from place to place using elastics that you place by tapping the screen with two fingers. If your fingers are close together, the pangolin will bounce gently; if they’re far apart, the elastic will be taut, and he’ll bounce higher and further.

You have a limited number of “shots” in each level, so every move you make counts. If you screw up, you can swipe the screen for a quick restart—an action that’ll become as natural as breathing if you stick with Pangolin for any amount of time. It’s not a forgiving game, and you’ll probably wind up grinding your teeth as you attempt certain levels over, over, and over in order to feel out the correct angle and tension for the elastics you need to lay down. Having to start a level over again is especially frustrating if said level presents a pack of difficult or tedious challenges. Enduring a rough ride through a minefield of bumpers loses its appeal quickly if you experience it several times just to get back to that one area of the level where you’re constantly getting stuck. Optional checkpoints would go a long way in Pangolin.


The game’s pay wall also might not fly with some players, though it’s a decent and fair way to try before you buy. Pangolin is “free” for the first ten levels. After that, you need to purchase level packs. If you like what you see after the initial ten levels, by all means, pay for the additional packs. If it’s not your cup of bug-and-root tea, move on.

Pangolin should wind up with more fans than critics, though. Despite its frustrations, it’s cute, it’s unique, and swirling safely into the portal at the end of a level is oh-so satisfying. If you’re into gravity puzzles and putting, pick up Pangolin. He’s cuddlier than a golf ball any day of the week.