FUN! FUN! Minigolf TOUCH! (3DS eShop) - Review by Andrew
Golf games appear to be perfectly suited to the portable format and not only does every Nintendo console have one, but just about every other handheld has had more than a few variations on the sport. Minigolf takes the concept and makes the whole thing that much more manageable especially for the 'on the go' gamer. This variation is brought to us by handheld masters Shin'en and while they have been criticised, in the past, for their shallow gameplay, there's no doubt just how aesthetically pleasing their games are, with the forthcoming Nano Assault looking like one title to showcase the graphical power of the 3DS. This offering is available from the eShop but have the developers managed to deliver a fully featured take on the sport?
Fun Fun Minigolf Touch! allows you to enjoy the global pastime of minigolf in three separate areas of the world: Asia, Europe and the US. Of course not all of these areas are open to you from the games start and you'll need to earn coins in order to unlock them in the games very own shop. You can collect coins by doing well on the various courses and the better you do, the more you'll earn. A word of warning though: this is not a game which is particularly generous with gifts so expect to play the same course repeatedly before you can access absolutely everything. Once you have opened up all of the various areas (or cups) you can enter the more difficult Pro Cup and Super Cup although these also require coins to unlock them. Sadly, these aren't completely new courses but simply duplicates of the ones you have already played with the difficulty level turned up slightly. On the subject of difficulty the game does have one rule, which we found infuriating. This occurs when attempting any of the courses and while you may have hit a perfectly decent ball, if it's not within the required area (clearly marked just around the hole) you'll be forced to start again. We could understand if the ball was out of bounds but not close enough to the hole? Very strange. Once you have managed to unlock all of the various Cups you may also want to try your luck at one of three 'Trick Shots'. These allow you to collect coins much faster than on the standard courses which can again be traded for goods in the shop such as a Golden or Heart Golf Sets should the standard club not be to your liking.
The control system here is actually very good with the developers giving the gamer two different ways in which to tackle the action. The first of these is with the stylus with the bottom screen featuring an image of a golf club surrounded by a circle. Simply aim your ball with the outer circle, pull back on the club and hope for the best. The other option relies on the buttons but uses the same mechanic. The only thing you are likely to complain about is the camera and while there are a handful of options, to switch views, this never seems to be to everyone's taste or requirements.
As you'd expect from Shin'en, everything looks wonderful and the whole game has a very relaxed summer feel. That's not to say that the courses themselves are static and should you play a hole, with your back to the road, you'll notice the odd car or truck passing by. The various holes are also well designed with enough variety and obstacles to keep you on your toes should you become complacent. The visual highlight, which will no doubt please most gamers, though is the ability to use your own Mii in the game. This isn't available at the beginning but can be unlocked, from the shop, once you have enough coins. This all works well enough although it is slightly alarming when you see yourself as a cartoon celebrating yet another hole in one.
The music here is actually quite pleasing and very fitting for a game of this genre. There's even the odd bit of voice over work should you manage to pull off one of the more impressive shots such as a 'birdie' or bogy'.
If you happen to be a fan of Minigolf then this is probably the best version available at the moment and at a very reasonable price too. Sadly, it's not without it's problems and if you were hoping for a fully featured title, you are likely to be disappointed. With only three courses (which are repeated) and a handful of bonus rounds, you're going to complete everything the game has to offer in only a handful of sittings. The 'out of bounds' rule is also very frustrating and not within the spirit of the game at all although is does pad out the gameplay time. There's also no sign of anything approaching a Multiplayer which is one of the main points of playing a game like this in the first place and would have added some badly needed replay value to the whole package. It's still entertaining enough for an eShop title but it could have been so much more.
Pro: Looks Wonderful, You Can Use You Own Mii, Reasonably Priced.
Con: No Multiplayer, Not Very Challenging.
Final score: 6.8