To gamers familiar with the popular titles available on Apple's App Store, the name Gameloft pops up quite often. A developer known for short development cycles contrasted with questionable game idea sources, Gameloft is nonetheless a strong supporter of games that maximise the visual potential of the hardware they are placed on. With that in mind, it wasn't too surprising to see the team step up to the drive with the eShop's debut late last year and one of the first fully-featured 3DS downloadables; Let's Golf 3D, in itself a conversion of a series of iOS golfing games. Looking back at this sporty number, will the Albatross soar or the Bogey flick?
Fans of storylines and strong role-playing elements might not be too enthusiastic about Let's Golf 3D's minimalistic presentation on those fronts; in itself not a completely bad thing as it focuses on getting the player into gameplay relatively quickly. The game is essentially single-player driven, with modes that allow for instant play whenever just wanting to play a couple of holes, special challenges, and a Career Mode, held together with a choice of one of eight playable (but admittedly slightly generic) characters and a range of customisable clothing that varies their Power, Range and Accuracy statistics. The visuals, whilst not on the same level as Shin'en's Fun! Fun! Minigolf TOUCH! on the same downloadable service, provide clear and colourful optical efficiency, and a range of course locations in themed countries keep play varied enough to ease out boredom. The 3D effect itself isn't quite effective enough to warrant it being in the title outside of a selling point, but it does add a bit of depth to proceedings if not to a game-changing degree.
Like many popular golfing titles, ranging from a certain moustachioed plumber's previous tee-ing adventures to the yearly Tiger Woods EA games, Let's Golf 3D makes use of the tried and tested crescent moon-shaped power meter for shots and uses it very well, providing a handy approximation line for where the ball will land when taking wind speed and direction into account. This together with an intuitive button layout and optional touch screen control makes for a simple input interface that is never to blame for an 'Out of Bounds' or bunker shot.
One considerable difference Let's Golf has over many of its brethren is the special ability each character has, making for the defining reason to pick any one of them over another. By tapping the character icon on the top of the touch screen after the bar alongside it has refilled, use of their ability can be made on the current shot, of which can vary between conditions like having a more powerful shot, or stopping the wind temporarily, for example, depending on who has been picked. Making use of a particular ability can be a lifesaver on the more difficult courses later on, and adds a new layer of strategy to the game.
As mentioned earlier, the game is primarily a solo endeavour even with the multiplayer option, which involves passing the 3DS with the game around to up to three other players nearby; most definitely a smart idea to save pennies for both a group of gamers and the developer alike, but probably not what most people think of when multiplayer gaming comes to mind. For the solo player, the main attraction will be the Career Mode, which is less Career and Story driven, and more Medal focused, providing a variety of Medal challenges across numerous course locales. This, together with the stat-building system that rewards Medal gains, provides a meaty amount of gameplay time, and that's even without mentioning the Achievement system attached to it. Outside of the Career Mode, there is Challenge Mode, involving such trials as finding set stars on certain courses or getting a Birdie against a strict time limit, with higher difficulty levels opening up as progress is made. Instant Play and Free Hole are essentially the same, with the former quickly choosing three random holes and the latter letting you pick from a range of conditions. For a relatively cheap downloadable there is a fair bit of putting to be done in Let's Golf! 3D.
A solid swing, shot and putting system coupled with simple controls and user interface. Nothing ground-breaking, but a safe and familiar experience.
Bright and colourful with a good amount of variation in course and character designs, and adequate 3D. Background wildlife might leave an impression though.
Cheery upbeat tunes accompany the stages and menus, unfortunately backed with some dodgy voicework for the characters.
At £5.39 there is a fair bit of game for your buck, novel minimalistic multiplayer aside. Less of an emphasis on presentation and more on tick-boxes and Achievements, the game racks up those hours for anyone willing to put the time into it.
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Let's Golf! 3D got the Nintendo 3DS eShop's exclusive software off to a good start, and with this solid effort it isn't difficult to see why. Generic feel and safe gameplay systems aside, the sheer amount to see and do, together with the friendly pick-up-and-play interface, make this downloadable a golfing game to consider.
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I pondered getting this a while back when it was on sale, but was ultimately torn between Shin'en's golf game (can't help but love these guy and wanting to give them my money instead of powerhouse rich developer Gameloft). In the end I picked neither of them XD. Might do at some point though, when I'm not so short on money.
( Edited 24.11.2012 23:10 by RudyC3 )
Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer