icon Author: Laurel Ann
Par for the Dungeon Review

Par for the Dungeon is a cartoony miniature golf puzzle game with a dungeon-delving theme. Developed by Sleeping Giant Games, it was released on PC through Steam on October 17, 2023, with a staggered release on mobile devices.

In Par for the Dungeon, you play as an anthropomorphic golf ball with a beloved pet dog that has a penchant for getting dog-napped. In order to rescue your dog, you must propel yourself through nine three-hole courses to reach the end of the dungeon, where your dog awaits trapped in a cage. With four worlds available to play, the game has a total of 108 holes for you to solve.

Casual Simplicity

Designed to be easy to play on mobile devices as well as on a desktop computer, the game has a simple interface with a pullback mechanic for aiming your ball and any equipment used in each level. A gauge on the targeting arrow indicates how much force will go into your action and the arrow itself shows exactly which direction you're going to go.

The simplistic visuals keep things clear so that each puzzle is easy to read, but at the same time there is a lot of motion in the game with basic animations on most of the background features in addition to the moving parts of each puzzle. Together with the soft, casual background music and the atmospheric sounds of blowing wind, running water, and rumbling machinery, it makes the world feel alive and vibrant.

There are a few places where these simple graphics make things slightly more difficult because it can be hard to tell that there is an elevation change from some angles. But there is always an angle from which the shadow can be seen clearly, so when you bounce back after hitting the side of a hill, you can tell what happened.

Shooting through the Dungeons

Each hole is set up as a dungeon adventure putting puzzle. Throughout each course, you collect coins that can be spent on equipment such as bows, swords, bombs, and grappling hooks. Available equipment changes from world to world along with the obstacles you will face. Your main goal is to reach the hole in as few strokes as possible, but each hole starts out blocked by a grate. In order to remove that grate, you need to defeat all Bogeys (the mischievous dog-nappers) on the level.

Courses are built in sets of three and, though you start each course without coins or equipment, any coins or equipment gained carries over to the next hole. Earlier courses in each world typically introduce new item and obstacle mechanics in a simple manner, with the complexity increasing in later courses to have more difficult puzzles near the end of the dungeon. New courses and character cosmetics are unlocked based on the number of strokes it takes to complete a course, but using items doesn't count toward your strokes, so you need to save coins and use items carefully if you want to achieve the best result.

Although a few of the puzzles can be tricky, most of them are fairly straightforward. Every puzzle has a clear solution to be found and you don't need to make par on every course to advance. As long as you've completed the course (even with a high stroke count) you can advance to the next one and return later to try again.

Great Puzzles with Some Minor Issues

In general, it's a great little puzzle game that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. However, there are a few kinks that might detract slightly from the experience. There isn't a zoom option and the camera automatically pans back to your character when you're about to make a shot. Since there are a few places where your goal is a bit distant, this means that you can't see where you're aiming while you're shooting. There aren't too many places like this, but it can still be a bit annoying.

In the PC version of the game, you get a free "Retry" each time you start a hole, but once you've used it, you need to complete the hole to earn another. This isn't so bad if you're on the first hole of a course because you can just back out to the menu and try again, but if you're on the third hole and keep messing up early, it can be a bit tedious to keep making your way to the end of the hole in order to reset it. You can't save mid-course, so if you decide to give up and try again later, you'll have to repeat the first two holes. This is a little bit easier in the mobile version of the game, where you get three free retries to start and then need to watch an ad to earn more retries, three at a time. If you don't want to watch ads, the mobile version also allows you to purchase bundles of retries in the store, which seems reasonable considering the mobile version is available for free.

I did have an issue with a bug I encountered while playing the desktop version of the game which involved some assets not loading properly on a hole. I could still complete the course, but I couldn't get all the crowns. When I returned to it later after completing a few other courses and quitting and reopening the game, the assets loaded and the course could be mastered. When the game developers read an earlier version of this review, they got in contact with me for details on the bug. Within three days, there was a small update patch for bug fixes. I can't be 100% sure the update included my bug, but I haven't noticed any other bugs since then on PC, Android, or iOS. What I do feel certain of is that if you happen to spot any bugs while playing and point them out to the developers, they'd be eager to fix them.

Quick Reference:

Par for the Dungeon is a mini golf puzzle game with a dungeon adventure theme.

Best played with breaks if you're getting frustrated.


• Cute themed puzzles.

• Good animations.

• Fun for children and adults.


• No zoom function.

• Limited instant repeat attempts.

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