Everyone loves quick round of mini golf at the beach or your local theme park. The cheesy themed courses, sea of kids and rusty golf clubs can never be replaced in a computer game. But if you cant make it to your local theme park every time you want a bit of golfing fun then you might want to consider Pocket Mini-Golf, by Momentum Games. This title is currently the top selling game at Handango, so is it really a hole in one? Read on to find out.
The game arrived in the form of a windows installer, as is common these days, and installation was a doddle. Be aware though that you will need at least 4Mb of free storage space though, and it did take some time to install, so much so that I thought the phone had frozen for a moment.
After this first little sand trap every thing else was easy putting. The game is quick to load and easy to get into. There are a number of different game options which I�ll get into later. To start a game you just choose your game mode, player, difficulty level and course. Then you are teeing up for your first put. If you are replaying a course then the previous options are saved so it�s just a case of click, click, click, click go.
First impressions are of a very nicely polished bit of software with all the right elements of a great smartphone game. When you first step up to the tee you�ll be delighted by the pretty cartoony visuals. A chirpy theme tune plays in the background, getting you into the theme park spirit.
When you get down to the actual putting you�ll be pleased to hear it plays as good as it looks. You can see exactly where the ball is heading by a row of yellow dots (which go red if obstructed.) There are two different control methods of adjusting where the dots should point. For the first one, moving the joystick/joypad moves the aim in the same direction, whereas for the second method right is clockwise, and left anticlockwise. Both of these work well, so it�s a personal preference to which you use. Having lined up the perfect shot the next thing to do is give it a good whack. In the easy game you just hit the left softkey, adjust the power with the joypad and give another tap of the button to hit the ball. The hard version is similar, but the power meter goes up and down, and you have to tap the button at the right second to get the right power. This does obviously make it harder, but that�s the point.
You get 3 18-hole courses to put your way through, with holes ranging from the ludicrously easy to the downright club manglers. For every hole you need to test your skill at judging angles and power. The screen starts centred around the flagpole, and then pans across to your player teeing up for the shot. When you move your aim the camera moves also to get include as much of the screen in front of the ball as it can. If that�s not enough the * key moves the screen in the direction of the aim for as long as you hold it. If you cant see properly then the right softkey rotates the view 90 degrees, and the 0 key hides the player. When you take the hit the camera follows the ball till its final resting place. Its all very fluid, all very well thought out. The physics model is spot on, with the ball bouncing, rolling and flying just like you would expect. You do though have to spend a fair bit of time judging a shot before whacking if you want to have any chance of completing a course under par, which I find great fun. (I did a Maths degree in case you�re wondering ;) )
But supposing you�d rather just whack it? Well it just so happens that Pocket Mini-Golf has a mode to please the action fans too, with the arcade game. In this mode your aim is to complete each hole in a set amount of time, taking as many shots as you like. This leads to you just aiming in the approximate direction and whacking madly (kind of like many people play real mini golf in fact.) This is a great addition to the game, which really adds value. I did however find this mode a little too easy. Even on the hard setting I completed all 3 courses in arcade mode first try, with loads of time to spare. You can always try and top your time though I suppose.
One final play mode is Practise, where you can pick any hole of any course in order to brush up your skills. If one hole is causing you to stumble then this is the way to beat it!
As you have already no doubt seen from the screenshots the graphics are very charming. The water bubbles up and down, but that�s unfortunately the only animation you�ll see. The trees and scenery are static and there are sadly no novelty windmills or giant monkeys, but you can�t have everything eh? Its also a shame the different players don�t have more character. All they do is lean on the club! Sound effects are as you would expect, with a whack when you hit the ball, a rattle when the ball sinks, and a cheer for a hole in one! The music also fits in well, and changes to a racier track at the completion of every hole, where you can review your stats so far. Every time you complete a course you can add your name into the highscores, and see a nice pretty firework display.
Pocket Mini-Golf is ridiculously addictive. The sense of statisfaction you get from sinking a really tricky shot is huge, as is the annoyance when it rolls just an inch too far... Splash! Grrr! I just can�t stop myself loading it every spare moment. Hit the home key and the game exits and saves at that point instantly; load it up again (its only a few seconds), hit resume and you�re right back at the point you left off. One time an incoming call interrupted my game just as I was taking the swing, and after resuming the game I even saw the shot complete before carrying on! It�s the perfect phone game, as any second you have spare can be used to take a few more shots.
It�s the perfect phone game, as any second you have spare can be used to take a few more shots.
The game draws you along masterfully meaning you�ll need to complete the courses in order, and under par to unlock the next one. Each of the 3 courses is more difficult than the previous one, and the final course can only be unlocked when the second one has been completed using the hard control method. Although I�ve now managed to do this, I�m still a long way from completing the final course under par, so it should keep you challenged for some time.
If you�re after one of the most addictive games on the Smartphone market then look no more. With 2 main play modes and 54 holes to knock through there�s plenty of game for your money. Its cute, its addictive and its great fun whether you want to play for minutes or hours! I dare you to resist its charms.
Cute and polished graphics.
Play for hours or seconds.
No kids running across the course kicking your ball away.
No level editor (though expansion is available.)
No novelty windmills.
Too difficult to put down.
Pocket Mini-Golf scores 10/10
(I�d have liked a level editor, but that�s just a wishful fancy - its gameplay that�s king. The fact that�s its so ridiculously difficult to put down, as well as a great all rounder makes it a winner for me! )
There is now an expansion pack available, Mini Golf extra. I�ve not tried it myself, but it looks good with 72 new holes spread over 4 new courses, plus some additional enhancements such as game-affecting characteristics based on your player choice. Save some money and buy them both together, as you WILL want more as soon as get into Pocket Mini Golf.
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