Game: Planet MiniGolf
System: PlayStation 3 (PSN)
Review by: Denoch
Golf can be seen as a boring sport, and while it may continue to be to some people, the true Golfers know that it’s more than just hitting the ball in to a hole, Golf actually requires plenty of skill and eye coordination to be successful at it. Not to mention the expenses that come with the equipment and golf courses. That is where Zen Studios comes in and offers a more fun and less expensive solution, Planet MiniGolf is convenient fun that even non-golfers can find enjoyable.
Gameplay and Story: Lets get the easy part out of the way, no story whats so ever, not even a little back-story than again it is a downloable game maybe a little story was not on the budget. Now for the meaty part of the game, there are five available characters to choose from, none of them have special abilities or any set skills, they vary from genders and different age groups. There are 4 different locations that you can choose from and they all have four different difficulties, Warm-Up, Pro, Extreme, and Wacky.
Each stage has 10 different unique courses, most of them are creative and it can take couple of tries before knowing how to actually pass a level. There are also user generated content if you master all the in game courses, some were carefully built and while most did not have the creative passion or were just done on the fly. While the game is very much fun, there is not much substance to keep me glued to my seat, it can be very repetitive at times , and the only thing that keeps me coming back are the keys that i get when I reach first place on a level. There are gold,silver,and bronze keys, which you can later use to buy shirts,shorts,pants,accessories, blouses , tank tops etc. There is multiplayer but i couldn’t connect to anyone because it seems there is no one playing online, local mutliplayer on the other hand can be very fun if you play against your siblings,spouse or a friend.
The game itself is pretty straight forward, the goal is to put the ball in the hole with little tries as possible, each course might have you complete it in two strokes compared to a more difficult course where it might give you four,five or even six tries.
There is a “trick shot” feature that gives you extra points if you manage to successfully put the ball in the hole on one single shot. Although it is nice to get bonus points or any kind of points, in this particular case they don’t seem to be of any use except maybe for a tie breaker, I couldn’t find any use for this points. There are eight different power-Ups, Speed Burst gives speed to the ball, Magnet Hole can give the ability to the ball to automatically fall in the hole only within range, Flying Ball makes it light enough to fly. Shockwave will make any obstacle in the ball’s path to be push out of the way, Sticky Ball will make it stop rolling and stop it in place, Supersize will dramatically cause the ball to increase in size, Heavy Ball will have less bounce and more of a linear path, and the final power-up is Guide Ball, this enables you to guide ball with the motion on the Six-Axis. All this power-ups play a major role in how you succeed or fail the course, if you can master all of this skills then it will become a breeze.
Controls: The controls are pretty straight forward, there are 3 ways in which you can play the game, on “easy” you have to hold the “X” button to gain power and release when you have obtained the desired strength. “3-Clicks” is the hardest control scheme to play with because you start by pressing “x” and the needle will start to sway back and forth, then you press it again to set the appropriate swing , the third click will enable the accuracy, but if you hit the needle in the same spot where you hit the second then you get bonus points. The best and easiest way to play is the “Direct” style, you just aim with the D-Pad and and hold the right analog stick back and then push it upwards when you reach the desired power level.
Graphics: The character models are very well rendered and the courses itself are very beautiful, with tropical, oceanic, and forest locations with a little pinch of cold climate environments. The overall scene may lack in detail on their respective objects but it doesn’t take away anything from the creative golf courses. Characters have customizable attire that is attained as you progress throughout the world, clothes and accessories can be changed, mix and match, when you choose to change their clothes they never look like they are overlapping on one another,no matter how you dress your player, it always looks fluent.
Sound: There is a announcer in the game that can be quite annoying when you are loosing, not very inspiring when you are trying to finish the course and his yelling because you cant get the ball in the hole. He can be turned off and all you have left to hear are the birds chirping and a very pop rock music in the background, not too loud, just enough where you can hear it and is not in the way or distracting you from the experience.
Wishes or Changes: No story? Not even a little heated rivalry between the characters? I need a little drama or excitement on these players. The game only has 4 locations, I could be more satisfied if it had at least two additional locations or more, this way it can stay fresh and have something new to see in every course. The power ability that lets you take control of the ball with your six axis, can be very difficult to control when it is rolling on high speeds and the controller is jerked too much by mistake either to the left or right. I need a option where i can change the controls and have access of the ball through the left analog instead.
TQ bottom line: It can be a bit repetitive with very few locations but the user created content adds a little extra to the gameplay, the overall experience is very fun and if your a fan of golf or like to play a little of putt putt then this game is for you
This Hole -in- One gets Four Michelas.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5 out of 5 Michelas! (3.5 Michelas? What does this mean?) 3.5 Michelas is like drinking 3 of your favorite drinks, and working on your 4th, you feel relaxed, happy and starting to socialize. Not quite at the peak of your buzz, but not far from it.
Publisher: Zen Studios
Metacritic Score: 65