Review: Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! Isn’t! Isn’t!

Richard On March 9, 2012 09.03.2012 with 5 Comments

I love Minigolf, and I love my 3DS, so I had some cautious hope that Shin’en’s Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! might be a decent way to spend $4.99. Unfortunately, this game breaks the months-long streak of outstanding original 3DS eShop games. Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! isn’t a disaster, it’s just…meh. Meh.

It’s got a sharp presentation, with clean 3D graphics, pleasant music, and a nice sense of actually being on a well-landscaped minigolf course. The two character models are well done, and you have an option (unlockable) to use your Mii’s head…which, unfortunately, ends up looking like a freaky mask on a body that isn’t at all the right proportions for it. You can alter the style and color of your player’s clothes, which turns out to be the most fun! fun! activity in the entire game.

The play mechanics are fine, allowing you to either use the touch screen or buttons to aim, then try for the correct power and accuracy on your shot. All the ingredients are in place for a solid game…but…

Things fall apart with the limitations of the game engine and the design of the courses. There are three nine-hole courses, and the problem is this: the game can only render your golfer at the tee or the green, so if your ball comes to rest anywhere on the carpet fairway in between, it’s declared out of bounds, and you must re-shoot from the tee or green, whichever you shot from last. This make the whole thing feel more like a carnival game than actual minigolf, and you will often find yourself making shot after shot from the tee until you find the correct angle.

And then, once you find the correct angle for the hole, you can repeat it every time. And, unlike in real minigolf, you’ve got a shot meter to ensure that you can, indeed, repeat the same shot every time. Once this limitation becomes clear, Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! quickly becomes tedious and uninspired.

The courses are pretty, but woefully unimaginative, with a metal loop-the-loop and spiral providing the height of thrills among the 27 holes. You can unlock advanced versions of each course, which only add mirroring, coins and additional simple obstacles to the same holes.

And, so, Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! ends up being a pretty-but-bland experience, one I will delete from my 3DS. If you want some real fun! fun! look to eShop games like Pushmo, Sakura Samurai, FreakyForms, Mutant Mudds, Dillon’s Rolling Western, Zen Pinball, Mighty Switch Force and Let’s Golf 3D. Those games are all worth their asking price. This Minigolf excursion, unfortunately, should be swept under the carpet fairway.

5 Responses to “Review: Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch! Isn’t! Isn’t!”

  1. monkat says:

    I think that the bigger issue is that there are better golf games (both 3D and not) on mobile platforms for $0.99 or free. If you are going to release a game on a handheld game console these days, it is either going to have to be $0.99 or free, or it has to be something that is improved dramatically by having tactile input.

    I couldn’t imagine playing VVVVVV, Sakura Samurai, Mutant Mudds, or Mighty Switch Force with a touch-screen. It would be just terrible, in my opinion. Golf, though? Sure! Why should I pay 4-∞x more for the same thing?

  2. Richard says:

    I agree, monkat!

    Actually, the button controls on this game do feel better than a touch screen golf game (or even the stylus option on 3DS for this one), but it’s in service of a dull, dull game.

    The recent (and amazing) Fairway Solitaire on iOS (free to try, a buck for the whole thing) does a better job of feeling like a fun golf game…and it’s freaking solitaire!

  3. EdEN says:

    That’s odd. I’m currently playing the game for a review, and my experience has been completely opposite. I’ve had a lot of fun with the game, and I hope to unlock everything over the weekend. Still, I’m always open to reading what others think about a game, especially when I’m actually playing it hehehe.

    @monkat: Nope, have to disagree with you. The entry cost for one of those iOS games might be $0.99 or “Free”, but the cost to get an iPod, iPhone or iPad ends up negating said savings. Sure, there are several great and fun games on iOS (Sword and Sorcery EP, for example), but owning an iPhone has not made me change my spending or gaming habits.

  4. monkat says:

    @EdEN

    Absolutely. Buying an iPhone and a free game would me more expensive than a 3DS and buying a $4.00 game. But for those with a smartphone and a 3DS, there is simply no good reason to spend more on a more expensive 3DS golf game, unless you absolutely adore the 3D effect. I don’t mean to get into genres as well, being as subjective as they are, but you have plenty of other selections–not to mention another golf game.

  5. Richard says:

    @EdEN:

    Thanks for your input! I’m glad you’re enjoying it, because it certainly is a polished production; a lot of work went into it. For me…I really don’t like the restriction of having the golfer limited to standing only on the tee or the green with everything in between O.B. I know why it’s designed like that; it’d take a lot more development to have the golfer able to make a shot from any point on the fairway. But, that makes most holes into the same two-step process: Shoot from the tee until you find the correct angle, then sink a very easy putt at the green (I reeeally don’t like the extremely small, basic, flat nature of nearly all the greens. The one with the cone was a breath of fresh air.) In this game, a par 5 means it’ll probably take 4 tries to find the correct angle from the tee, and that’s not proper minigolf to me. It almost feels more like billiards.

    But, I am glad to hear your very different opinion; clearly, there’s fun to be had here that’s just not registering with me. Can’t fault the game on its looks, controls or presentation, so it all comes down to the “fun” element that can “click” for some players and not others.

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