Gameloft are proving again and again that they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to quality iPhone game releases. And Let’s golf is no exception.
From the pre-rendered opening sequence you know this will be a well polished game, and it’s is!
First things first, if you are looking for a realistic golfing sim, played out on real life courses with real life golfing heroes, this isn’t the game for you. You’re going to want to wait for the highly anticipated Tiger Wood’s for iPhone from EA Mobile. If on the other hand, you simply want to play the best golf game yet for iPhone, with a raft of beautiful and challenging courses, solid control options and you don’t mind cute ‘big headed’ golfers in a range of trendy custom outfits and high heels… then what are you waiting for, go get this game now. For the undecided, read on!
The game gives you four options from the off. There’s instant play, which randomly selects three courses from three of the four available locations and their 18 holes. There’s tournament mode, which sees you playing all the courses over nine, all 18 or a 9 hole shuffle. As you progress, you unlock more locations and outfits for your character and to win you must gain the required par score. Then there’s Free hole where you can select any course and mix on any difficulty. And finally there’s Multiplayer which let’s you play against another human player on one handset in Hot seat mode, or across a wireless network. There is no online play which is a shame.
On the first play through in any mode you are asked if you would like a tutorial, this outlines the controls while you take your first shot, depending on which control option you chose. For regular controls you are presented with the usual power meter. You can line up your shot by tapping on the map and dragging your end point where you would like to play your ball, then tapping again will bring you back to play. From here you can then select your club and then you can start your swing. Tapping the swing button will start the power meter and you must tap it again to stop it at the required power setting. The meter will then continue back and you must stop it a second time to set the accuracy. Get your accuracy bang on and you’ll execute a power shot as well as a ‘nice shot’ pat on the back from your caddy. Once the ball is in the air you can add spin, which will affect the landing. As usual in a game of this type you have wind direction and green sloping to contend with, and these change depending on the difficulty setting chosen.
The second control method is for those of you who want more of a challenge, and involves a touch based swing mechanic. When you touch the swing button, you must then drag your finger upward in a curve to simulate your back swing up to the required height for power, and then swing it back down to take the shot. It’s far less accurate than the power bar method, but just as fun if you prefer the challenge.
There are four locations to choose from in Let’s Golf. There’s Fiji with it’s beach-side fairways; England where you play within castle grounds [because we all live in castles in England!]; USA with it’s sprawling countryside; and finally Scotland with it’s Lochs and surrounding Highlands. All offer a range of courses, which get progressively more challenging in the upper 9 holes, with more obstacles and water hazards to catch you out.
Unless you play with another person, it’s a bit lonely out there on the fairway, you can’t play against computer controlled, AI players, instead you are playing against the set pars of the course and your own records. This I don’t mind so much, as I’m not a huge fan of waiting a turn to watch the AI take a swing, and it’s quite nice to just chill out and play a few courses by yourself.
Ok, so I’ve already mentioned that this game looks good… I’d even go so far as to say it looks as good as any PSP golf game out there, especially the similar styled Hot shots golf. It’s bright and colourful with SEGA blue skies and panoramic vistas. The courses are covered in lush textures and detailed 3D terrain. You’ll experience the odd low to high resolution mesh replacement on camera flybys, but overall the courses look smooth. Trees are your usual cardboard cut out style that you’ll see on most mobile golf games. I’d prefer to see full 3D trees, but considering the processor heavy redraw times required, I’ll happily take the cardboard compromise. The four characters look good and are well rendered in their multitude of customisable clothing, but some of you may not be sold on the big eyes and big head style that Gameloft have gone with here… yes they are a bit on the irritating side of cutesville, but after a while you’ll get used to them. You may even find yourself attempting to unlock all the outfits… especially those pink stilettos you’ve been eyeing up [Dave!]
For sound it’s a mixed bag, the music is very repetitive with only one song per location. It’s not bad music, but after two or three courses it begins to grate… so I’d recommend turning it off and supplying your own (which does work if you use the play button on your earphones).
The sound effects are ok, with reasonable club and ball sounds, but these are drowned out by the annoying voices of the characters… any one who has played Wii sports golf or Sega monkey ball will know what I’m talking about.
Overall Let’s golf is a superb golf game, it’s not perfect by any means, but it’s certainly the best golf game on the iPhone, for now. For the $5.99 price point it’s great value, especially when compared to Hot shots golf on the PSP which is near four times the price.
Presentation and graphics
Great course designs with detailed 3D models and textures. The courses may not be modelled on real golf hangouts, but unless you are a golf nut, this really isn’t an issue.
Good quality music and sound, but both are repetitive and will get annoying after repeated listening. Play your own music if you can get it to work.
Whichever play controls you pick, you’ll have a great time out on the fairways. Controls are responsive and easy to grasp and there’s a good selection of courses and play modes to hold your attention. The option to begin where you left off, should a call come in or dare I say it, your battery runs dry, is a nice touch and should be the norm for all iPhone games.
Again, plenty of holes to play, plus the addition of character customisation through unlockable outfits when playing tournament mode. Multiplayer will keep your attention once you’ve bested yourself… but the lack of on-line deducts half a point from a 4 to a 3.5.
Let’s golf is easily the best golf game to grace the iPhone thus far. Forget anything before it. Yes GL Golf got a higher rating, but that wasn’t reviewed by me. I would have given that game a 3.5 incidently. A few things bring it down here and there, but niggles aside I highly recommend getting this game.