First of all, a big congratulations to Noodlecake on another great game, especially one which took so long in the making (jab jab )
Now that we've all had a chance to get to terms with the new game, what are your thought on this iteration, compared to Super Stickman Golf 2?
I'd probably say that the three main changes gameplay-wise are the addition of spin, the Free Shot powerup and the -1 shot for swishes. I like the spin and swish features, but I'm not a fan of the Free Shot (golden ball). I feel that in SSG2, great shots/ holes in multiplayer were defined by choosing an appropriate powerup, and making a skilful shot to try and get a hole in one, but now it's mostly easier to achieve the same score with two mediocre-difficulty shots: one with a Free Shot and the other with spin. The one good thing about the Free Shot is that it sometimes forces players to make skilful shots without help from a power (nitro, grav. etc) or spin. I think, though, that the proof is in the pudding in terms of the Free Shot being too 'overpowered' - it's the most used powerup that I've seen in multiplayer matches. In SSG2, the mulligan was probably the most common powerup for low-level players, while at higher levels the Nitro Ball was probably the most used because it allowed you to effectively cover large distances and gave some fine control, all with just one shot. Also, the addition of the Free Shot has made the Gold Crown more important. There's plenty of players I've beaten on multiplayer simply because they (presumably) haven't unlocked the gold crown yet, which gave me 1, 2 or 3 extra powerups compared to them - which are fairly easy to convert into a 3 shot lead most of the time. I feel that the game would hold more interest without the Free Shot, but that's just my opinion.
Since Noodlecake has implemented worldwide leaderboards into this game, there will probably be a bigger push for people to set ever lower scores. I think combining this with the swish mechanic is a good idea - whereas in SSG2, it was relatively easy for multiple people to achieve the same, theoretical minimum score, now because of the swish mechanic, the theoretical best score depends on how many swishes you can get (and it has become exponentially more difficult to get the theoretical minimum score for a course). I can foresee that (provided Noodlecake manages to keep hackers out of the leaderboards), the players with the best scores will be those that use the Campsite Killer mask (I can't imagine any of the courses except Space Land can be optimised without it), have lots of bux (to buy extra powerups), and combine some skill with lots of attempts and a good memory of how much power to hit each shot with.
I'm a fan of the zig-zag, anti-grav and shield ball powerups - I think they make nice additions to the arsenal. While the best players in SSG2 were usually masters of the Nitro Ball, I feel that great SSG3 players will be able to get a lot of long-range swishes with the anti-grav ball (since it gives you a lot of fine control if you're skilled enough with it, which I am not). Depending on the course, I think some of the very high level players might even use Campsite Killer on multiplayer matches, because you only need to get a few swishes to make it worth it, and put your score out of reach of a player using a Gold Crown or something similar.
Finally, I wonder what future releases will hold - I'm tipping:
more courses: not really sticking my neck out on this one, since they're already releasing new courses, but maybe they'll add more tours, like they did for SSG2, instead of just the 'downloadable' courses? Perhaps when they have 4 downloadable courses of the same difficulty, they will roll them into a tour and release them to the players that haven't purchased the pro upgrade? 5 tours currently feels a little thin (perhaps because we are used to where SSG2 left off)
level editor: if they can get this to work, it might be pretty cool. Users would have to spend a lot of time on each hole (I imagine it's harder than it seems to create a good course - I can tell Noodlecake puts a lot of effort into their hole design, because pretty much every hole seems to have a cool/ effective way of completing it, which must be more than coincidence)
more hats, characters, race modes, trails and trophies: more hats might be cool, I imagine there's tons more ideas they could implement. I wonder if any hats they might release will overtake the Campsite Killer mask as the favourite, turning the leaderboards on their heads? More characters is a no brainer way of getting more content out - they seem to have a solid framework to add more characters using the card system, which will keep some players interested in the game for a long time. New race modes would be good - props to Noodlecake for creating some really interesting ones already, but there are loads more that they could implement without too much coding (I imagine). Trails - again - are a no brainer: more content, more unlockables, nobody's going to complain, presumably easy to add. I'm surprised they haven't included a 'trail-less' option, for people that want that 'clean' look, in the same way as they have the 'hatless' option for people that just want the vanilla experience. I would really like to see more trophies: some of the SSG2 achievements/trophies were really varied and fun, so it would be nice to see Noodlecake implement a few more hole-specific trophies (they could take some ideas from the /r/SSG3 subreddit to get started). The current trophies (1000 shots, unlock all characters, 10 race mode points, etc) do seem rather dry
fixing race mode: I understand this must be very difficult, since Noodlecake struggled with it mightily in SSG2, and it has more than a few issues right now. Hopefully as Pokemon Go cools down - giving SSG3 a userbase boost - we will see more race mode matchup successes, more varied opponents in turn-based multiplayer and more cash for Noodlecake to justify fixing bugs. My current race mode success rate in terms of starting and finishing a course is too low for me to justify me bothering to try, which is a shame because there are some really fun game modes that I want to try out.
wind: this is a feature that I believe was talked about at some point (included in a sneak preview?), and I was surprised to not see it in the game. It seems like they already have the mechanics in place (since wind is essentially similar to one of those gravity hazards they have isn't it?). Since people have already set high scores for tours on the leaderboards, it would probably be unfair to release wind as a pervasive hazard that gets added to all existing courses, so I imagine if they do ever include wind, it will either be a hazard specific only to some new courses that they release, or an option to tun on (in the same way we have options for no hats/powerups etc)
two (?) new powerups: Noodlecake certainly seems to have left graphical space in the powerup menu for two new powerups, and apparently cyber-sleuths have done some digging and found that Noodlecake has included the graphics for the Hazard Swap powerup in the game's data files. To me, this is neither here nor there until they fix the race mode, because I certainly didn't use Hazard Swap much in SSG2 for turn-by-turn (it's usually most optimal to avoid the hazards completely where possible). It's always fun in race mode to pull the rug out from under your opponent as they try to hit a safe shot into sand though >.<. As an aside, I reckon the reason they haven't implemented Hazard Swap yet is probably because the 'daily races' seem to be bots/ghosts of past runs, which clearly wouldn't mesh well with being able to change the physics of your opponent's shots after the ghost run has already been recorded. It seems like it would be easy for the developers to simply disallow that powerup during the daily race, however, so maybe this theory doesn't make that much sense after all. On the same train of thought, maybe the possible second future powerup might also be one that influences your opponent's shot during race mode: i.e. perhaps a powerup that forces anti-grav on your opponent's ball or something? Other possible powerup ideas I've had: Ball that makes the hole bigger (swish-city), Bouncy Ball (a la Rubber Glove hat), No Bounce Ball (a la Cat Burglar hat), something to do with the VR Glasses that (so far) I believe actually do nothing, unlike The Goggles in SSG2
replay saving: this would be straight-up cool. Possibly saving, sending and sharing replays could be a great addition, and really add some interest to perfecting those insane shots that you might not try on multiplayer, or even when attempting a single player high-score. Noodlecake, again, seems to have the framework in place with the replay system they already have in multiplayer turn-by-turn. Hopefully this isn't too far off!
Phew, that was longer than I intended, I was originally only going to post the very first sentence ;P