Mini Golf looks and sounds fantastic, and due to the simplicity of its controls – using the scroll wheel to aim your shot, powering up with the Select button then hitting by pressing Select again – plays very well.
Whereas many modern releases are 3D, Mini Golf takes a top-down viewpoint but has a tremendous level of graphical detail. There are three 18-hole courses available – Circus, Egyptian and Tiki – each with its own style. There are a variety of obstacles within each course that suit the general scenery and the feel of the game.
The sound effects set the atmosphere well: there’s a distinctive thump when you hit the golf ball and background effects (bird song, theme music and so on) complimenting the action. The game itself develops with you. You start in the Circus level and have to work your way through the game by shooting a par or below – in itself not that much of a problem.
The courses offer a level of challenge that is something of a tease. You’ll find some of the courses difficult, but not too difficult to work your way around. Ultimately, the game presents a greater challenge once you’ve unlocked all of the levels and scenarios and can focus on improving your score.
Perhaps the nicest touch the ‘Pass n Play’ mode, which allows two players to take turns playing each hole, with a scorecard allowing you to track the winner. For competitive playing while on a bus or train journey, this is the perfect touch to an already superb game.
In Mini Golf, Electronic Arts has selected a perfect first game for the iPod. The game structure and design suit the use of the click wheel perfectly as a control mechanism, while the implementation of graphics, sound and gameplay never fails to impress. We thoroughly enjoyed it.