Planet MiniGolf – The PS3 Attitude Review
Golf is considered a sport of precision and grace. Its courses are filled with wide open green spaces, luscious landscapes and the occasional water or sand hazard. Minigolf on the other hand, is quite different.
It consists of multiple obstacles that will consistently thwart your never ending quest for that hole-in-one, occasionally pushing you to the brink of madness. Now, imagine an entire planet like this, filled with power-ups and trick shots, and you get Zen Studios’ latest creation.
Is Planet MiniGolf the aforementioned hole-in-one or will you be screaming for a mulligan by the end of the course?
Consisting of over 140 different courses, Planet MiniGolf will take you to the plundered treasure of a pirate’s cove, the downtown streets of SoHo, the frozen oceans of the arctic, and the lush forests of the Amazon. Each location has a variety of challenging courses, ranging from Warmup to Wacky, consisting of nine holes a piece.It’s a little disappointing that this ‘planet’ only has four locations although each one has three different environments you’ll putt in. Besides, it’s not the trees in the background you’ll be looking at when trying to recover from a double bogey on the last hole.
That brings us to our next point; the game will test every nerve in your body. You don’t become a pro at golf overnight and the same can be said about Planet MiniGolf. Be prepared to see a lot of red numbers and not so much of the green initially, that is, unless you enjoy restarting the entire course.
Many of the courses can be difficult, even on the early stages. There is typically a specific route to take in order to get the best score. Failure to adhere to it can result in disaster, sometimes leading to a score in the double digits. The sad part is that one bad hole can practically destroy your standings for the course. It’s going to take a lot of practice if you want to succeed in this game, that’s for sure.
Adding to the difficulty is the fact that you can never get a good look at the entire hole. You can go into a binoculars mode and scope out what lies ahead of you but it’s so restricting that you can never see exactly what you need.
Once you get the swing of things (pun intended), things start to become fun. There are a variety of unique power-ups to help you get around all the obstacles and make the tough shots. Rockets, wings, sticky glue, and magnets are just a few of said items but my favorite would have to be the power-up that allows you to control your ball with the Sixaxis. Like the rest of the game it takes some practice but once you get the hang of it, the ability can be a lifesaver.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try your hands on a trick shot to rack up even more points and look rather fancy in the process.
Planet MiniGolf really opens up when you create your own courses. It’s no LittleBigPlanet or ModNation Racers but there’s plenty available to create some pretty interesting stuff. Players have already created over 5,000 holes so there’s plenty of content to keep you busy for a long time.
Not only can you create your own courses but you can customize your character as well through unlockable clothing and accessories. Each time you come in first place in a course, you’ll be rewarded with either bronze, silver, or gold keys that can be used to purchase different items. While they are completely for aesthetic purposes, it does give you a goal to unlock everything possible.
Going one step further to add a more personal touch, the game gives you the ability to record your replays and post them directly to YouTube. The process is as simple and can be and all it takes is a YouTube account and a few extra megabytes. It’s perfect for showing off your superb skills such as my hole-in-one seen below.
The game certainly doesn’t have the best graphics out there and the blur and shine effect does get a little out of hand at times. Still, I found myself coming back for a couple more rounds, time and time again. And no, it’s not for the awful commentary provided by the announcer. Thankfully, you can turn him completely off.
Planet MiniGolf is by no means perfect but it does have some charm to it. You’ll definitely be frustrated by the mechanics of the game but as your skill increases, so does the fun factor. It’ll be interesting to revisit the game again when the PlayStation Move is released, as it will be compatible with the motion controller. For now though, it’s your pretty standard minigolf game.