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This little piece of PSN software has hit us at an unfortunate time. While most golf fans will be concentrating on the latest Tiger Woods installment, the folks over at Zen Studios will be shaking their heads wondering why the powers that be decided to release their game at the same time as Tiger Woods 11.

Sure, some PSN titles are able to stand up (and even trump) highly anticipated AAA releases, but unfortunately Planet Minigolf doesn’t have a lot going for it from the beginning. Unless, of course, you’re obsessed with the 90s.

Planet Minigolf is Zen Studios’ attempt at reviving the long-dead fascination of minigolf by throwing in a few zany characters and an electric guitar-driven soundtrack. If you don’t think that combination could ever work, you’d likely never get a job working for Zen Studios. Somehow, the team has managed to take an average idea for a PSN game and turned it into one of the most annoyingly juvenile releases you are ever likely to encounter.

Sure, the gameplay is tidy, and the decision to include PlayStation Move accessibility is acknowledged, but when you have to turn off the sound and imagine that your character doesn’t in fact look as startlingly ridiculous as he appears in order to enjoy the minigolf, there’s something very, very wrong with the core of the game.

Despite the emphasis on career mode, Planet Minigolf is much more tolerable in small doses. Gamers can take on more than 140 individual holes throughout the entire game, many of which provide a frustratingly enjoyable experience. The development team has done a sound job of knocking out some of the kinks and bugs, although a patch in the near future seems necessary. Still, after mastering the controls, each nine-hole round will flow well – not mentioning the intermittent shouts of “how the hell did my ball end up there?”

Upon choosing a course, you will be given the choice of four difficulty modes (three of which are locked until you achieve certain goals) and the option of playing on a custom course. Custom courses are designed to incorporate the build tool that is surprisingly well implemented, and despite the game having only been out since the beginning of the month, there are literally scores of user-created/edited courses already available. Fans of LittleBigPlanet won’t find anything revolutionary here, but, if you have the patience, Planet Minigolf’s build tool is an enjoyable time waster.

While building and playing on quirky custom courses is a highlight of the game, it’s unfortunate that the elements surrounding it are so lackluster. It seems that the developers tried to find a balance between creating an accessible golf title and one that would appeal to the younger generation; instead, they have achieved neither, and only end up alienating gamers with poor customization options and ear-bleedingly annoying sound and commentary.

It’s a shame that the game offers so much in the way of online play and course building capabilities, both of which are outstanding and worth coming back for, but destroys whatever intention of fun there was initially by amping up the “crazy Uncle Joe” factor. A PSN title worth $12.95 US should never make a gamer regret their purchase.

Unfortunately, despite some solid gameplay on the course, that is exactly what many Planet Minigolf buyers will feel. Regret that it could have been an enjoyable multiplayer experience. Regret that it could have been a pleasant game to play with the kids. And yes, regret that they just spent $12.95 when there are countless superior titles worth half that much.

At the end of it all, Planet Minigolf will only please gamers with a love of building golf courses. The condescending nature of every hole brings the entire atmosphere of Zen Studios’ title to its knees, and with that the respectability of the developer. The marketing team needs to go back to do their research, because for a game that includes a complex course building tool and ridiculous difficulty settings, this certainly seems like it was intended for children.

Rating Category
6.5 Presentation
Not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, especially for a PlayStation 3 exclusive. Still, the sheer diversity of each course is enough to whet your visual appetite.
How does our scoring system work?
6.0 Gameplay
There are plenty of bugs to frustrate the discerning gamer, but the basic gameplay, after mastering the controls, is solid.
1.0 Sound
If I haven’t already made it clear in the review: the audio is pure garbage.
6.0 Longevity
There are a few reasons to come back to the game. Unfortunately, none of them involve playing minigolf.
5.5 Overall
Planet Minigolf offers flashes of brilliance, but these are far outweighed by the amateur development decisions and a general lack of respect for the gamer.

  1. The bird in the header looks really creepy.

  2. I don’t know what you’re talking about Simon, I love to listen to Death Metal when playing Minigolf.

    • avatar Omar

      thank you for all your efforts that you have put in this. Very inieresttng information. There’s folks ud stand on their heads and then say the fault was i’ their boots. by George Eliot.

  3. avatar Brian

    The menus have the rock soundtrack, but the actual game doesn’t have any at all…but of course you would have had to get further than the menus to know that. And you neglected to mention that the game supports custom soundtracks (not to mention…turning the music off).

    You claim there are bugs, but you don’t give even one example. You also don’t explain why the characters look ridiculous or specifics of “the condescending nature of every hole.”

    It’s also $9.99.

    Maybe before you start pointing fingers at development and marketing teams, you should make sure your own stuff is solid.

    • Of course the game doesn’t have the rock soundtrack in-game. I never said that, but apparently you didn’t read the entire review. Also, the game was in fact $12.99 when released (and when this review was written).

      Spend a couple of minutes researching this game (or just looking at pictures) and you will be able to see the lack of customization (which I mentioned) with the characters. I also believe I explained why Planet Minigolf doesn’t treat the gamer with enough respect, especially for the demographic they are targeting.

      You are either a member of the development team, or someone who has a hard-on for Zen Studios. Either way, you are entitled to your opinion, as am I. I believe that gamers have a right to know how poor this title is when it promised so much a few months ago.

    • avatar Vero

      did I say that? No….but dont make this a Sony thing…its not….other sites do it…and the fact that someone can gain coortnl of your primary email address, then they can send passwords from your other various accounts, facebook, amazon, eBay, PayPal, your BANK perhaps….trust and believe, its FAR worse for someone using a basic exploit to gain access to your EMAIL address than a PSN account…..

    • avatar Gary

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  4. avatar Brian

    Or maybe I’m just someone who likes the game and also likes quality reviews. There are things wrong with the game, but you don’t explain them and instead prefer to spend your words hurling insults at the developers. Check my IP address – I’m in California, not Hungary.

    Soundtrack: “…and an electric guitar-driven soundtrack…” is all you say about it. Yes, I read the entire review. In the game I counted 1 song with electric guitar in the menu, and then the music that plays after a match is over. The music that plays during the game itself is specific to the theme you are in and does not have any electric guitar – there is a sea shanty-sounding tune for the pirate island, x-files sounding electronica for the arctic stage, some kind of ethnic tune for the jungle, and more electronica for the london level. And leaving out the fact the custom soundtracks exist, when your biggest beef with the game is with the music, seems like a big omission.

    I still don’t understand “the condescending nature of every hole” or what’s wrong with the characters – they’re not the best designs ever, and it would be nice to be able to create your own and customize it to a higher degree, but really…what other game came out at $10 and offers so many features? Even if it came with nothing but the course editor/sharing and 2 characters, it would be worth it.

    The game was never $12.99 or $12.95 – you are just making things up. I googled “planet minigolf release price” (no quotes) and saw this:

    • avatar Bombony

      Again; _IF_ the rumors are true it’s a grim reoatzliian for big companies, and a huge opportunity for IS consultants and White/Black Hats.The way Chris’ post read to me was that people shouldn’t be upset with Sony and that it wasn’t a big deal, if only because other companies have had the same (or similar) issues. If you don’t mind that your personal information was stolen, fine. Some people do mind.I don’t have a huge problem with it; because I never put any credit card info on my account, I don’t use my home address or any actual personal information, and the e-mail and password I used varies for each of my consoles for this exact reason.My case is not that common and a LOT of people use the same e-mail address/username for every service they have, and go so far as to add their debit and credit cards to their accounts for ease of use. So, yeah, it’s a bit of a bigger deal than just not having service for a month, give or take a few hours.

  5. avatar Jos

    The game is and has always been $ 9.99. I bought it the day of release at that price. In fact, I quite enjoy it.

  6. avatar Crowqueen

    Yeah it was 9.99 I bought it the day it came out.Me and my friend play it every night together.Its not the best of games but it’s still pretty fun and some of the hole are pretty hard so dont think its meant just for kids.I wouldnt rate it very high but imo still think it was worth 9.99.

    • avatar Tamarind

      / I liked Alundra, but I definitely didn’t fiinsh it even with a walk through (from so who knew how accurate it actually was) I got stuck and gave up like a middle aged white male after his boss fires him and his wife leaves him.

  7. avatar Brian

    I figured it out – Simon Jones must be located in Australia, where the game is in fact $12.95 in Australian dollars.

  8. avatar Kanticha

    Speaking as a gamer who has never found the fun in playing with ppoele halfway around the world, I have always appreciated PlayStation over XBox. While I am by no means pleased with Sony and their handling of this fiasco, it’s not enough to drive me to switch to XBox Live over PSN. The PS3 feels smoother to me, has 99% of the games I want (damn you Mass Effect) and best of all, yes, it doesn’t charge for it’s multiplayer experience, which in my extremely limited experience is not that terrible on PS3. I realize that this is not the case for everyone, and I know a lot of ppoele prefer XBox to PS3. More power to them. I’m a disgruntled Sony fan, but a Sony fan nonetheless. The only thing that gathers more dust than my XBox is my Wii (when is the next Zelda due?).

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