Review by Matt Dunn
Looking for a mini golf experience that will keep you playing for a looooong time? Pocket Mini Golf has taken me forever to review. Why? Because I’ve been playing it forever! What I thought would be a easy review turned into quite a challenge; but a good one.
Pocket Mini Golf 2 met and exceeded most of my expectations. Here’s a game that could have easily fallen to the wayside for lack of features, crappy controls, etc etc. Fortunately, PMG2 provides an fairly rounded experience, with plenty to do. The game is standard mini golf, or “putt putt golf” to some. The devs were very smart in using standard touch controls, with no tilting rubbish. You click buttons on the screen to
choose your shot power, zoom in/out, rotate around your golfer, remove your golfer from the field, etc, and then drag your finger to aim your shot. There is even a nice indicator line that shows the first couple feet of your shot, and whether it is blocked by an object or not.
There are 3 different difficulty levels to play on. The first two directly effect the number of strokes per par (basically giving you a 1 stroke handicap for the lowest difficulty). The hardest gives you a power bar that moves up and down. However, on each difficulty, if you take more than 10 strokes to complete a hole, the game is over. This sounds generous… until you actually play some of the more ridiculous holes! Luckily, there is a practice mode you can use before jumping into an actual game. The game is very creative in it’s 3+ courses, with many varying themes and obstacles. But some of them can be extremely difficult
Speaking of modes, there two aside from Practice. Standard, which is just regular mini-gold, and Arcade mode, which pits you against the clock. It should be noted that each hole is timed in both modes, and this goes into your leaderboard score. The leaderboards are not online, which is a shame, but it’s nice they are there. There is also multiplayer, but it is only local, and supports up to 8 on-phone players. Can’t imagine playing with 8, but but maybe playing with a couple people won’t be too bad.
A pleasant surprise came when I found the game actually has a simple course editor packaged in! Don’t get too excited, you can’t actually create your own holes. However, you can create your own course by choosing from all the holes you’ve already played/unlocked. This is the “Rainbow Cup.” It’s definitely something that can keep you coming back to the game, but not as much as a full hole editor would have done. In an unrelated twist, you can choose from a few different characters that actually have golf stats. No customization other than their name though.
PMG2 has some nice straight-up spite graphics. They work well. There is minimal animations, but there are several moving obstacles that definitely shake things up a bit. The game definitely goes for a specific visual style, which reminds me of an SNES game. Visuals are crisp except when you zoom in all the way. In fact, the different golf course names (star cup, cloud cup, etc) reminded me of the original Mario Kart. In fact there is an entire course worth of special hidden holes! I’ll if to you to unlock these. The sound for the game is not all that great, but not horrible. There is one track for in-game, and one for menu. Standard gold sound effects apply.
One of my only complains about gameplay is the physics, which are slightly off. They’re not off enough to destroy the game by any means. I can only describe it as the greens in the game feeling like they’re made of fly paper. In other words, the ball never rolls quite as far as you expect it to… even after going down a slope. It feels like the friction is turned up to high? Anyways, as I said, that shouldn’t keep you from getting this game, but it certainly can prove frustrating at certain points. I suppose if you get used to it, the game will play like a charm otherwise.
Presentation and Graphics
Nothing too flashy. The sprite graphics fit well with the overall feel of the game, and are crisp and colorful. Minimum animations, but enough moving obstacles and backgrounds allow the game to not feel like a cop out in that department.
Pretty standard stuff. Slightly above average.
Great touch controls, with plenty of options to zoom, move the camera, remove you player to see the ball, etc. Would have liked to see pinch and zoom. Too much friction on the greens!
Due to the high difficulty of the courses, this game will challenge you for quite sometime. The course editor is nice, and could occupy you for a while more after unlocking everything. But seriously, I can’t imagine playing this game for shorter than 6 – 8 hours to unlock everything. Sadly, no wifi multiplayer.
Pocket Mini Golf takes a standard golfing game, adds in bright, spritey graphics, great controls, challenging courses, and even a course editor! There’s no multiplayer, but it’s a solid single player experience, with an option for on-phone multiplayer if you have friends around. The physics may be a bit sticky, but PMG2 controls like a charm, and will keep you occupied for a long time.