Mini Golf Wacky Worlds—wack like you never wacked before

Posted: August 7, 2009 in Arcade, Sports

Playing golf at the country club has taught me one thing—that I’m much better playing mini golf where I can blame obstacles for my lousy putting skills. While the actual experience of mini golf has always been amusing for reasons other than golf, it hasn’t been the case on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. Whether it’s blocky graphics or just poor gameplay, it’s been lacking. I think I’ve finally found a good one with Mini Golf Wacky Worlds, a new fantasy golf game that delivers some creatively designed golf courses that are as fun as they are challenging. And, it also features crazy golf characters that are both eye-catching and likable.

The first thing that strikes you is the 3D visuals and the bright colors. Just from looking at the screenshots, MGWW seems to exude the idea of fun, which is essential to a game like this. Your host for these wacky worlds is a gopher in the tradition of Caddy Shack who pops up at inopportune times mostly to taunt you. The animation tends to be smooth, although I did have an occasional lag here and there on my iPod Touch 2g 3.0.

The game offers 4 courses—Tiki Links, Sky Lands, Arctic Nine, and Cheese World—with Tiki Links being the only unlocked course. Also, there are three game modes: Tee Off!, Timed Golf and Gopher Golf. Each has different rules and add a bit of variety that will keep you engaged for quite a while, but keep in mind only when a course is completed on or under par in Tee Off! mode will courses be unlocked for the other game modes. The game also has an achievement system and a Pro Shop for buying items and even characters. The characters that you choose to play as are extremely different from each other and with the exception of Porshe, need to be unlocked based on points accumulated. The default golfer is Porshe the fashionista who enjoys doing wild, shake your booty dance when making a hole on par. You’ll like what she does when she comes in under par. Chip is the older, more mature golfer who tends to take things a bit hard when things aren’t going his way. Playing hooky from school is Marci who is cheery and likes to celebrate on the course. Rounding out the bunch is Trevor, an aspiring, yet overconfident golfer and borderline geek…he’s very cool.

A 9-hole golf game can be played under Tee Off! where the objective is the complete each hole on par with points are earned for each hole completed under par. In Timed Golf, the objective is to beat the clock with no par for each hole. You can whack away as many times as many times as you want. You begin with 1 minute on the clock on the first hole with more time added based on how quickly the previous hole was completed. The objective in Gopher Golf is to play a 9-hole round while avoiding gophers that pop up and steal the ball. Points can also be earned for hitting a gopher hard enough with a ball.

As I mentioned, MGWW also has a set of 15 achievements that can be earned based on completing courses on par, knocking out gophers, speed to complete a course, and of course, a hole in one. When earning achievements, points are also awarded so there is a good incentive to play well.

What can you do with all these points? Besides unlocking other characters, there is a Pro Shop where items can be purchased to customize characters and hopefully improve your game. The clothes and accessories honestly don’t do much to improve your game except further customize your character. But the putters can ratchet up swing control and power. I would’ve preferred more items that actually improve the golf game such as shoes and even golf balls, but then again we are talking about mini golf.

The controls are intuitive and relatively easy to learn and use. A slider is provided along the right of the side of the screen that controls power, and a put button is located below that. To shift a golfer left or right, a simple drag of the finger in the appropriate direction will do the job. During the game, you can also angle the ball by dragging your finger with the help of an on-screen guide line showing the direction of the ball. Four different camera angles are also available by tapping the camera icon in the bottom left corner. The camera angles are on the weak side because they provide an overhead view and tend to zoom out farther and farther which really doesn’t help much.

The gameplay in MGWW is fun and really entertaining. There is a 2-3 second load time in between holes which isn’t long but worth mentioning. At the beginning of each hole, an aerial walkthrough is provided to show the length of the course and the obstacles. As in real mini golf, the objective is not to hit the longest ball, but the smartest one based on the layout. Most will require angling the ball accordingly. There are plenty of slides, slopes, bridges, and even liquid hazards (e.g. lava, fire, water, ice) to keep you busy, and in all cases, you need to be wary of knocking the ball out of bounds. The three modes offer something different, and I found Tee! Off to be my personal favorite, but plan on playing a few practice rounds before beating the various courses. Timed Golf is probably the most forgiving because it allows you to hit the ball as many times as needed and as long as time remains when completing a hole, you’ll be fine. For the ball physics are realistic in terms of bounces and rolls, but of course, MGWW is intended to provide an arcade experience and not a simulation. What the game doesn’t offer or have is a game mode to play against the CPU which would add considerably to the replay value. Also weather conditions such as wind or fog aren’t included, but hopefully can be added as an option along with additional courses in the future.

Mini Golf Wacky Worlds is one of the more fun mini golf games you’ll find on the platform. While a computer mode and additional Pro Shop items would be welcome MGWW in this current release is an entertaining game that many should enjoy.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (recommended for golf fans and those want a little pizzaz with their putting; fun-looking graphics and creative courses make this game worth trying; intuitive controls make this easy to pick up and play)

Check out my impressions on Toucharcade http://toucharcade.com/2009/08/07/mini-golf-wacky-worlds-wacky-fun/

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