Planet Minigolf Review

planet minigolf

Planet Minigolf has set out the fill the void of the mysteriously absent golf game that should have been part of the Sports Champions disc included with the Playstation Move. The game was released before the Move was available to the public, but a free update along with a paid set of new holes make taking a second look at Planet Minigolf worthwhile.

Both play options still exist with Planet Minigolf. You can play the traditional way with buttons, or you can get up off the couch and impress your girlfriend by pantomiming a golf swing while standing in front of your television.

Using the buttons ultimately becomes the preferred way to play. The game was designed to be played with buttons, and it works well. Point your character in the direction you want them to putt, hold down the X button, release at the right moment, and you will have the announcer shouting the names of all different kinds of birds in no time.

The game actually takes full advantage of a long-forgotten feature of the PlayStation Dual Shock controller. The speed of the charge of your swing is related to the amount of pressure you apply to the button. It goes a long way in making the powerful shots feel stronger.

It’s no surprise that that the Move control is not the best way to the play the game. That isn’t to say that the game is not fun to play with the Move controller, it just does not offer the same amount of accuracy as the controller. With the controller you can easily gauge many different levels between powerful and weak shots, but with the Move controller, you are pretty much limited to only those two extremes.

The Move controller is responsive, and does seem to offer a closer one-to-one representation of the on-screen animations than the Wii remote is able to offer in similar games. Ultimately though, the game was not designed to be used with the Move controller, and the sequence of buttons required to perform an actual putt is strange and not intuitive. Attempting to walk my wife through the process of performing an actual putt resulted in frustration, and caused her to relocate into the next room to murder Spartans in Halo: Reach.

The core game download includes an impressive 144 holes spread across four themed levels, with a new level available for paid download that includes an additional 36 holes. Each lever is broken down into four different levels of difficulty, each consisting of nine different holes of varying absurdity. There are power-ups strewn about the levels that will affect your ball in interesting ways. Some will give your ball flight abilities or a huge boost in speed, while others will magnetize the hole to attract your ball or cause your ball to become heavy or sticky, slowing it down. One of the more useful power-ups allows the player to control the ball via the Sixaxis, another seemingly forgotten Dual Shock feature. The power-ups are activated after the putt and go a long way in creating an interesting and original digital putting experience. Many of the more difficult courses are literally impossible without taking advantage of the on-course power-ups.

Performing admirably in the game gives the players keys that can be used to unlock new clothing and accessory items for the five different playable characters. The characters are mostly forgettable. There was a real missed opportunity here to allow players to use their PlayStation Home avatars in the game, as they look very similar. It would have given PlayStation gamers a worthy excuse to boot up Home and create an avatar.

There is a robust hole and course creator that can be used to create and share holes with other Planet Minigolf players. There is a LittleBigPlanet-style heart meter for ranking user created holes, and there are trophies offered for even just dipping your toe in the creator community pool. It’s set up so that you can check out lots of holes quickly, which is nice if you just want to see what is out there.

The other online feature, multiplayer, does not fare as well. I would love to tell you more details about it, but I was never able to get a game started. There are options to play with up to as many as six different people, but I was never able to enter a game. I don’t know if this was a case of poor matchmaking, or an unavailability of players.

Local multiplayer works just fine and offers the ability to pass one controller between up to six players. Since the Move controller is so new, it’s fair to assume that most households are only going to have one or two on hand, so this is a welcome option.

Planet Minigolf is a fine way to show off the Move controller to otherwise uninterested gamers. It won’t impress the same way the Wii initially did, but the using the Move is functional and fun. If you are playing to unlock new equipment, or to get through to the harder courses, you will want to stick to the Dual Shock controller. The extra holes can be bypassed if the actual game doesn’t spark your interest. The additional holes are fine (and have easy trophies) but do nothing to expand the gameplay other than add some additional choices. If you are in the market for a minigolf game, there is no reason not to recommend this game, especially if you are looking for something to do with that Move controller other than stare at the pretty lights. If you have no interest in a minigolf title, then this one is not going to spark it.

3 out of 5


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Author: Kyle Hilliard View all posts by

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