- Good gameplay
- Easy to pick up
- Good price
- Having to use the AR cards is annoying
- The game is very simplistic
- No online multiplayer
Crazy Golf anyone? That is how best to describe the latest AR card-based mini game available for download on the PlayStation Vita, Table Mini Golf. So it’s more of an arcade game rather than the Masters, but you’ll still need a basic understanding of the game of golf to know what it is that you are required to do.
The game has two game modes, free play and elimination tournament. There is also a tutorial mode for you to complete which draws you in to the sort of game that it is, and gives you the basic idea of how you get through the courses. It also takes you through the controls, not that they takes long to learn as there are only two. In Free Play mode you can choose from two themes, either Horror or Pirates. This is quite a humorous aspect of the game but it does add to the arcade feel of the game and therefore automatically changes the target audience, aiming it more towards early teens rather than an older crowd (not that there is anything wrong with anyone older wanting to play it). There is an option where you can choose to have a mixture of the two and create your own course if you so wish. You do have to watch out for obstacles though, like a skeleton hand coming out of the ground and snatching the ball before throwing it in another direction or a ghost skewing your shot disappearing through the ground before reappearing in a different location and dropping it again.
For every course that you complete in the free play mode, you unlock in the Elimination Tournament mode. The elimination tournament see’s you go up against three A.I. players in a maximum nine hole game with the worst performing player after every three holes played is eliminated from the game, until the best player is left. There are also other various challenges for you to try giving between one star and three stars on completion, which put your level up. You have three characters to choose from that you can play as, a female vampire called Countess, a pirate called Captain Pegleg (very cool name) and a spaceman called Star Commander (very original). It’s not a vast selection to choose from, however for a mini game it’s enough.
Remember the AR cards that came with the PS Vita? Well at least one of the cards is required to play the game, which is what takes some of the enjoyment out of the it. OK so it does turn your room into a golf course but the trouble with using the cards is you need to have them on a flat surface, either the table or the floor, so you cannot sit back and relax while playing the game, you have to almost sit over the cards and make sure that they are in range which is just not a natural way to play any game when you just want to chill out.
A game of golf should be a game that is enjoyed with other people. Sadly Table Mini Golf does not have an online multiplayer mode which to be honest is a great shame because part of the excitement of a game of golf is to see who can compete the course as close to Par as possible, as well as other side bets of who can hit the ball the furthest. Although there is not an online multiplayer mode, there is an offline one, where you can play against either the computer or with friends. However to play with friends requires you to pass the Vita around, which is more hassle than it was worth because you would be required to either move yourself, or move the AR card.
You don’t need to be a genius to learn the controls for the game. There are simply two controls to have to get the handle of, the left stick and the X button. Not having lots of controls to have to learn and remember is not necessarily a bad thing however this makes the game very basic and too simplistic. You use the left stick to aim your shot, and then press the X button to shoot it. Once you press the X button an arrow appears and gets bigger or smaller depending on the amount of power you want in the shot and how long you hold the button for. This just doesn’t give you the kind of control that you need over a game and doesn’t give you the challenge that makes it exciting and enjoyable to play.
The game has thirty six holes for you to play through as well as eighteen that are available in the Toy Land Course Pack DLC, a small cost of 79p. This does mean that you have a good selection of holes to play therefore playing the game over and over again will be just as exciting and enjoyable as it was the first time you played it.
The game does not have a vast trophy list containing just twelve trophies to try and collect. These consist of seven bronze, four silvers, and one gold. Collecting the trophies is not an easy challenge, however that is the whole point of gaining a trophy, it should be a challenge to be rewarded with them.
Overall for a download game, it isn’t that bad, there are things that could be improved that would make the whole game feel a lot better. The biggest would be the removal of the AR cards, but you can still pick it up and have some fun with it, and what’s better is if your ability leaves a lot to be desired, it’s OK because nobody else will be able to see you. If there were more controls that gave you a challenge and enable you to have a more tactical game, there would be more enjoyment in playing. Still, nothing can compete with a good game by the beach with an Ice Cream.