|Posted by Morpheel on December 24, 2016 at 2:05 PM|
Guru Morpheel here to talk about Mini Golf Resort for the 3DS, by Teyon.
My previous experience with a mini golf game made by Teyon wasn't exactly a positive one, being 101 Minigolf World for the DSi. It was an extremely rough game in all senses of the word, to say the least. So when I learned about this new entry by them, my expectations weren't exactly high. Is Mini Gold Resort another triple bogey or a hole in one? Let's find out.
As you start the game, you will notice the game is entirely reliant on the touch screen. The only use the other inputs have, is to rotate the camera during the mini golf gameplay, and to show the "help" screen in the world map, everything else is controlled via touch.
Upon creating a new file in one of the two spots available, you'll be taken to the character creation menu. Here you can customize your character from very limited pool of options. The characters are in general kinda ugly and the limited options don't help much. The most mind boggling thing about this whole character creation process is, however, that it seems completely inconsequential and useless; The only time you will ever see your character is when you choose your file and between holes, in a strangely dark abyss. Standing there, doing nothing.
Now that we are done there, we are sent to the resort itself. Well, it's more like a planet, but you get the idea. Here you have access to the four locations where the golfing takes place. Each island has its own theme (pirate, Egypt, Rome and "spooky") and 14 courses with 18 holes each. This gives us a total of 1008 individual holes to play through, if it sounds like a lot it's because it is.
Quite conveniently, you're not just dropped in the place with all the courses available at once, there's a progression to things: each island functions as a mini map, you start with only one course open in each map the others are unlocked as you play through them. This map structure helps keep things manageable and gives the game a sense of progression that helps the experience. Unofrtunately, you can't suspend your games mid-course. So if you need to go to the in-game shop, or have to change games, then you'll need to start again from the first hole.
Well, now that you spent a few minutes figuring out how to explore the map and where to begin, you selected a course and are ready to golf. Unfortunately, this is where you realize your suspicions were right; this game is not exactly very good. Now, don't get me wrong, the game is enjoyable, but it is still a rough, unpolished experience. The ball is a fuzzy pixely thing, definitely not a 3D model of a ball, and the physics are rather slippery and bouncy.
You can use the touch screen, or the many buttons, to rotate the camera around the ball and adjust your aim. Once you're done with that, just tap the ball icon on the touch screen to initiate the "golf mode", where a power bar appears and sliding your stylus across the screen now instead acts as hitting the ball with the putter. The power bar, as expected, controls the amount of power your hit will have; go too high and you may risk going out of bounds or missing the hole, and believe me: it will happen much too often.
While having a way to gauge the amount of power is nice, there isn't really a way to tell how far the ball will go, or if it will be enough, you'll need to eye it based on experience. There's also the fact that, while you can adjust the camera and align you ball perfectly to where you want it to go... The direction of your swipe still affects the direction the ball goes, so you need to be very precise with it.
After each hole, you will be scored and rewarded some money, which you can use to buy power ups and new clothing items for your avatar. These are a bit expensive though, so it will take several dozens of holes before you're able to use them. There's also this odd thing where for some reason the holes in the spooky island seem to give consireably lesser amounts of money. If it's intended or a glitch, I don't really know, but it's a noticeable difference.
An important thing to say is that the obstacles are very inconsistent, sometimes they work fine, other times they simply refuse to. For example, I've seen the ball fail to go up a ramp, instead bouncing back out as if it had touched a wall. And the less we talk about the loop-the-loops the better. Then there's some graphical issues, like fans looking static, or the particle effects meant to signal a warp hole not appearing. Then there's the fact that the world outside the play field is completely intangible, if you go out (and you will) the ball will simply phase through the ground and into the void before it re-spawns.
In terms of presentation, the game looks fine, if a bit incosistent. The mini golf itself looks fine, of course, when the stage isn't blocking your view of the game. But then you have the ugly characters, inconsistent lighting that makes the world map and the "between holes" screen oddly dark, things that should move that sometimes don't, and the ugly blurry backgrounds used on the touch screen whenever you're playing mini golf. Sound is also fine, featuring different background music for each theme, and all are inoffensive enough to listen to for extended periods of time.
For some lasting appeal, the game keeps track of you final scores for each course and the overall total. There's no detailed data or anything like that, but it's at least nice to have the final scores since you can try and better them later, and the game also ranks your skill and style, although I have no idea what it bases those on. Finally there's some achievements you can work your way to, these range from stuff like getting a hole in one and getting a lot of money to beating all the courses in one world- the usual stuff, but it's nice to have.
This game is in general a bit of a mixed bag. In one hand you have tons of content for a nice price, even if you find a hole you despise, you won't need to touch it ever again (unless you really want to improve your score); there's other 1007 holes you can play instead, it's a game that will last you a long time if you play it casually. On the other hand, it's clear that they went for quantity over quality- and it shows. If you don't mind the roughness and wonky mechanics, there's certainly hours of mini golfing to be had- after all, in the end it's a game about pushing a ball into a hole; however those wanting a more polished and focused experience are better off going for other options.
I give it 4 fuzzy pixely things out of 10.
Review copy provided by the publisher.