You could be forgiven for not taking this very Japanese, cutesy and twee golf game seriously. But once you get used to the presentation aspect and play a few rounds you will very quickly see that beneath the presentation and quirky humour that there is a very decent representation of golf here, and perhaps surprisingly for some, one of the Vita’s leading and must have titles. That is if you like golf, of course!
Of course, this is not the first title in the series, there have been many games on various iterations of the PlayStation consoles since the original one in 1997 on the first PlayStation, and this one is once again developed by long term series stalwart Clap HanzFor those that are interested, this is actually Everybody’s Golf 6. And the only one I have played. I don’t even like golf, but I love this game.
You start the game as an amateur with only a handful of courses available to you, and even less characters. As you win tournaments you are awarded stars and points. The points are for you to spend in the club shop, which as you progress will start having better clubs, balls, new characters and other things available to you, whilst the stars are needed to unlock your face off with a golfing character, one on one. Successful completion of this will unlock the next tier for you to compete in, and eventually, more courses. Obviously as you go through, it becomes more challenging in terms of AI and course design.
The course themselves are very well presented,and you will really need to plan thoroughly if you plan to succed on the higher difficulty settings. Wind speed and direction, distance and even potential obstacles, like buildings and motel signs, and regular golfing enemies, bunkers and water hazards. Especially since the most obvious progression through the hole may not be the best one. Many times I have been stuck behind the buildings or been behind a verge so high, no pitching wedge in the world will clear it.
Playing the game is very simple, once you are on the course all you really need is the X button. Tweak your starting aim (or if you want to move the tee, pinching both front and rear touch panels) then regardless of the five different power bar schemes that you are using (all purchased eventually from the shop) the basic operation is the same, press X to start the bar filling, again to lock the power and on the way back tring to hit the sweet spot to execute the perfect shot. You can also make it a “power shot” by pressing the Square button prior to taking the shot, but you only have a limited number of these per course.
The game automatically selects the recommended club for you, and in many cases this can be manually over-ridden, it makes sense to go for the most suitable for the the type of shot and distance. These clubs can be set out before you start off, so depending on your preference, you can go for special sets that aid air distance, spin, and many more and have matching ball sets to go with it. Usually though, these specialist sets do have draw-backs, sacrificing power for example.
The characters themeselves are also better in different areas, and as you unlock more you will find some true powerhouses that can really ping the ball, but perhaps not as accurate, and some which are just all rounders. You will find what matches your play as you progress, but repeated use will grant loyalty to you, which will unlock more power shots, and the ability to use technical shots, like homing shots. Which are quite rare to see.
The courses and tiers of the rank will take you a very long time to perfect and it will keep you playing well ahead as you strive to unlock all of the goodies available in the shop.
There is a Daily International Tournament, and this serves as the one of the games multiplayer aspects. From Tuesday to Sunday, changing daily, you face off on a different course and the aim is to complete the holes in the fewest number of shots, but you will be ranked against everyone else that has played that course on that day. There are no tournaments held on Mondays. You are limited to the characters and equipment that you currently have unlocked on your profile, which would also serve as an incentive to speed up your unlocking! Some tournaments are ranked and some are not, so you need to take part regularly to boost your ranking.
You can also select or create a multiplayer lobby, from which you can control you in game avatar and communicate with other players, and also enter tournaments that are listed, or create your own.
The game should be in your Vita collection, even if you do not like golf – something which is a testament to just how good it is.