Matt Davis, creator of the popular Avatar Golf for Xbox Live’s Indie section, recently lamented the often critical attitude of gamers to indie sports titles: “You will still get compared to the elite developers and their games,” he complained.
Whether it is fair or not to compare something like Avatar Golf to EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour series is an argument for another day, though. Gameloft’s Let’s Golf! for the Playstation Minis collection is what we’re talking about today – a port of an iPhone game that actually does stand up quite well when compared to another full priced title, Hot Shots Golf.
When I say it stands up quite well, I mean that the two games are nigh on indistinguishable. As I first loaded up Let’s Golf! I actually thought it was a slimmed down version of Clap Hanz’s disarmingly cute golfing series.
So it may look like a good game, but does it play like one? Quick answer: yes, it plays nicely. Shot selection is instantly familiar to anyone who has used a three-click swing system before (it’s been around since the 16-bit era, so you should have). Clicking the X button starts the swing meter, a second click sets the shot strength, and a third sets how straight you’ll hit it.
So hitting shots is really easy, but there is one niggling annoyance to it. If you hit a perfect shot (full power, perfect direction) the game has a tendency to overpower your shot, sending it a good 10 to 20 yards further than it normally would. When hitting a drive up a par 4 fairway this is great. When trying to land one on the green of a par 3, it becomes a bit frustrating. Adjusting the power of your shot is a way to remedy this, but there will always be that occasion where it happens at the most inopportune time.
When you do screw up, you can always pause the game and select restart hole. Even in the game’s Tournament mode this option is available, so those with less self discipline will find themselves correcting mistakes and winning tournaments first time round. It’s nice to have the option of restarting a hole, as even just one or two misplaced shots can screw up your whole round.
Tournament mode is Let’s Golf’s main mode. Starting with two of four locations available to play, Fiji and England, winning on each course opens up the next two, Scotland and USA. Once Tournament mode has been exhausted, there is Instant Play, which loads up a random selection of holes to play, perfect for a quick blast. Free Hole mode is the place to practice, allowing any one of the game’s 63 holes to be played.
Winning tournaments not only unlocks further courses, but extra characters and costumes as well. These unlockable incentives are what drives the player on, adding a longevity that is rarely present in budget titles.
The game’s only multiplayer mode, Hotseat, is played on the one system, with players passing their PSP between them after each shot. While it’s a fun diversion, the lack of Wi-Fi multiplayer that was present in the iPhone version is mildly disappointing.
Let’s Golf! won’t be winning any awards for originality, but what it does provide is a great little budget game that will last. Some may be put off by the candy coated visuals, but to do so would mean missing out on arguably the best of the Minis currently available. If more Minis are produced matching the quality of this title, we should all be very happy.
Gamer Limit gives Let’s Golf! 7/10