Formats: PSN on PS3
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Zen Studios
Ah minigolf games and Demon’s Souls in the same weekend. Will my pads survive? Will my sanity hold? Probably not.
£6.29 gets you an impressive amount of crazy golf shenanigans with 144 holes, 6-player local or online multiplayer and a course editor to create your own knuckle mawing middle finger salutes to reason.
The graphics are just about the right side of average and the holes here put any real-life minigolf courses to shame with loop-d-loops, moving platforms, mine-cart swings, lifting bridges and all sorts of manic multiple routes to the hole. None of that windmill shit. They take place over several different environments, from shipwrecked pirate islands, London rooftops, jungle ruins and the arctic. Great, slippery ice and golf combined finally.
There are a few ball powerups that you can collect to get around easier, such as: rocket boosts, weights for stopping your ball bouncing, glue to slow it down, or magnets to attract it to the hole. The best of them is the motion control one where you use the Six-axis pad to steer the ball. You can use them straightaway or save them for another shot.
So vast are some of the courses, you won’t be able to tell where the hole is. The camera angles are more to blame here though. Pressing square gives you an overhead view and allows you to rotate it. You can’t zoom though, and sometimes the camera will self-destruct as it rushes into a building or underneath the walkway the course is on. When you need to plan several bounces in advance this can be a complete nightmare as you try and judge the angles and surface gradient changes. If you’ve played the excellent Everybody’s Golf, you’ll hate it even more and despise the lack of a similar button to zoom to the hole.
Another part they should have robbed from that game is the ‘skip’ function that let’s you fast forward to where the ball stops moving after landing. Watching a wayward ball slowly roll for ages can be painful and will have you impulsively pressing X, despite it not doing anything. Apart from accidentally activating that powerup you forgot you had.
The controls are a complete bitch at times too, despite there being three setups. The standard 3-click system falls on its face with the final click needing to land in a miserably small zone, with the slightest imperfection resulting is the ball spazzing off at an angle. Even close tap-ins are awkward. Navigating moving objects is pure luck with this setup as it’s impossible to time with the long shot-taking time required.
The one-button setup has you holding X until the needle has reached the required zone. The harder you press it, the faster the needle moves. The second part of that is bollocks though to be honest. Pressing with the same amount of pressure can make the needle crawl up the gauge or fly off like a rocket. Not great when you’re t**ting a simple putt over a hole from half a foot away.
The final method uses a swing of the right analogue stick backwards, then forwards, like you may have experienced in pool/snooker games. Try it once, then never go back.
Combine the above problems with the way that many of the holes require a lot of trial and error shots before you crack them and the enthusiasm really starts to wane. When you’re trying to progress through one of the single player tournaments and you’re miles ahead until one bends you over and uses you as a club storage device it really makes you think ‘Am I actually enjoying this on my one day off work this week?’
If you want to lessen your misery, drag some more players down with you. Local multiplayer is pretty fun and will reassure you that it’s not just you that the game doesn’t like. Anyone going second does kind of have an advantage as they can see what’ll get yet another out of bounds shot. It’s a strange mix of competitiveness and co-op as you want to win, but you’ll be working together to try and work out the best way through some of the holes.
There’s a hole editor too for you to create and publish your own little bastards. It’s fairly easy to use, if you ever used the editor in the Tony Hawk’s games you’ll feel quite at home. Hell if you can’t play the game that well yourself, you could still muster a sadistic smile for this side of it. Already, there are over 600 courses and over 12500 holes. There’s a mix of genius, fun, easy, hard, unfair, crippled and heartbreaking. Which pretty much sums up the rest of the game.
- 144 holes
- Can be (sort of) fun in multiplayer
- Cool create a course options
- Irritating controls
- Unhelpful camera angles
- Trial and error gameplay for the most part
The Short Version: The dodgy controls and overly-harsh trial and error gameplay can be immensely frustrating in single player. It still is in multiplayer obviously, but the mix of competitive and co-op that emerges between players might warm you to it. The ‘create a course’ options might entice creative types with a cruel streak.