Somewhat confusingly, Super Swing Golf is actually the sequel to Tecmo's 2007 golf title for the Wii, PangYa! Golf With Style, which was known as Super Swing Golf in the States. To complicate matters further, the game launched across North America last year under the name Super Swing Golf: Season Two. With that clarified, feel free to read on for our full review of the European version of Super Swing Golf.
Despite sharing the same anime-inspired visuals, Super Swing Golf actually has very little in common with its spiritual predecessor, PangYa - an online-focused golf sim from Korea. The two titles primarily diverge in one key area: online play. The lack of online multiplayer in Golf With Style was mostly accepted as a by-product of the game being developed for release during the Wii's launch window, but the same cannot be said for its sequel. The omission of online functionality is certainly an odd design choice given the series' roots, and it's a kick in the teeth for owners of the first game looking for a more complete follow-up, but it doesn't cripple the game enough to write it off completely.
We're getting ahead of ourselves, though. Let's step back and take a look at the game's core gameplay mechanics. Swinging and putting, the heart of any golf game, are handled in much the same way they are in Wii Sports and later Wii titles. By default, players can use the Wii Remote to imitate a real-life golf swing and control power, tilt and accuracy by carefully manipulating the speed and rotation at which they swing, and whether or not they follow through properly. Doing this is generally a rewarding process, but it's not without its shortcomings. First up is the entirely unintuitive putting system, which decorates the green with a series of dots to represent the slope of that particular area. Even with the manual's help it's a confusing system and we can't imagine it will aid most players. Beyond the game's inability to accurately recognise player's movements one hundred percent of the time, there is also a rather steep learning curve to overcome before anyone can truly master the controls.
Thankfully, Tecmo provides a solution for this problem: the Lucky Club. Available from the get-go, this club allows players to achieve a perfectly accurate shot without having to worry about their technique. It's a smart idea for a game with so much casual potential, and it's completely optional for more advanced players who prefer the advantages (such as increased power) of other clubs. Arguably Tecmo's smartest move, however, was its decision to include a functional button-only control scheme for those that simply don't have the desire (or living space) to stand around swinging their arms about. While one might argue that not doing such things entirely removes the point of playing a golf game on the Wii, at least the option is there for those that want it.
On the single-player side of things Super Swing offers the usual Vs. CPU and Practise modes as well as an extensive Tour Mode in which players must navigate an overworld consisting of numerous golf encounters with other characters. It's a surprisingly satisfying experience, even if the 'plot' that supposedly ties it together is little more than a series of uninteresting character interactions and nonsensical occurrences. Multiplayer options are also quite robust. In addition to the standard Stroke Play and Match Play options, players can choose from a selection of mini-game-esque modes that put a unique spin on the golfing concepts described earlier. Darts, for example, challenges players to hit the ball onto a certain position on an over-sized dart board. It's all good fun, and most of the modes allow multiple players to share the same Wii Remote, which can come in handy.
While working through Super Swing Golf, players are awarded Pang Points, the game's currency, for impressive demonstrations of skill. These can then be used in the Clubhouse to purchase new costumes, golf (or 'Mystical Phoenix') balls to use in-game, caddies to assist on the course, items that offer special bonuses, and a variety of clubs with their own Power, Control and Spin ratings. Amusingly, a number of these clubs are actually household objects - baseball bats, and the like - rather than golf clubs. Additional characters, including Ryu Hayabusa of the Ninja Gaiden series and Mocchi of the Monster Rancher series, can also be unlocked by attaining a certain number of coins or by completing certain objectives. Chuck in the ability to upgrade equipment and you've got a veritable boatload of unlockable content to provide an incentive for continued play.
The Wii Remote-fueled swinging mechanics aren't perfect, and they carry a steep learning curve for perfectionists, but the Lucky Club and optional button controls help to keep things in order.
You'll either find the super-cutesy, anime-inspired visuals to be charming or sickening, depending on your tastes. Either way they get the job done, even if they're nothing to write home about.
In much the same way that the game's graphics can be either endearing or enraging, its lift music soundtrack won't appeal to everyone, even if it does set the tone for the game quite nicely.
In addition to a fairly wide selection of single and multiplayer modes, Super Swing Golf offers a wealth of unlockable content - including characters, clubs, items, and more.
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Simply put, Super Swing Golf is an extremely solid golf simulation title. The Wii Remote mechanics work well for the most part, and the option to bypass motion controls in favor of good ol' fashioned button pressing is a welcome one. A fairly wide selection of gameplay modes and unlockables is marred only by the unfortunate lack of online functionality. It may not have a whole lot to offer owners of the original, but this is easily one of, if not the most competent golf games currently available for the Wii.
Also known as
Super Swing Golf Season 2
It'll be interesting if Square Enix does indeed buy Tecmo as this could take an FF spin in the future!
I hated the first Pangya game, tbh...but after the average We Love Golf, I'm tempted by this. Not sure, though, as Tiger 09 is meant to be pretty decent.
Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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This is supposed to be very similar to the original game, so there's probably not much point you picking it up it you didn't like the first one. Perhaps a Final Fantasy-themed installment in the future would get you interested, though?
Cubed3 Staff < Retro Editor :: Previews Editor >
I've just gotten this game a few days ago. I had never known that Ntreev re-made Pangya for Wii. So yes, I did play the free-to-play PC version before picking this up.
I loved the game to pieces but part of what I hated about it is exactly what you've been praising, the Online Gameplay. While I do agree that it is fun playing with players around your skill level, interacting, making new friends, etc.; the one thing that bothered me was the extreme amount of Brazilian players completely flooding the North American Servers. And these guys were far from friendly. They treated the game like a freaking MMO instead of a real golf game. At least, that's what they made me feel. It's nice they have multiplayer, though; but online play would be nice...IF THE BRAZILIANS DON'T TAKE IT OVER AGAIN...
One thing I've got to say though, the Motion control scheme is nerve-racking. Charging up power is fine, but it always requires a perfect swing to avoid veering off completely to right. I needed to do about 50 practice swings until I could finally get the hang of how exactly I was supposed to swing (so you know the swinging tutorial only helped a bit). The button controls are basically the PC version's, and they make me feel babyish for using them. I think you understand this by the looks of your review.
Dunno if you all have played the original PC version.
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