July 30, 2014

App Review: 3D Nine Hole Golf 1.0

cactus-valleyI consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on mobile golf games, having played them on several platforms including S60, WM5, WM6, and even the Palm platform.  Given the limitations of the hardware of these devices I always approach mobile golf games with the “no, but” attitude.  “The graphics aren’t that great. No, but it is running on a (insert your device here).”  If you go in expecting Xbox 360 graphics you’re always going to be disappointed, so take them for what they are.  Golf in your pocket, and that’s always a good thing.  Right?

3D Nine Hole Golf by Omnigsoft is a good effort at golf for the G1.  It has a clean if limited user interface, three 9 hole courses, and easy “pick up and play” game mechanincs.  Upon loading the game you are presented with the options to enter a game, settings, help, or exit.  Stroke play is the only game mode you will find.  No tournaments or seasons here and there are only 2 characters to choose from, a male or female.  There’s no customization, with only the option to change your characters name.

The three courses are Golden Hill, Sunnydale, and Cactus Valley.  Other than the color schemes there’s very little to distinguish one course from the other.  Golden Hill is filled with trees with autumn colors, Sunnydale is packed with green trees, and Cactus Valley is set in the desert with cacti replacing the trees.  There are no hills or undulations in the terrain, and up close the graphic textures really take a hit.  Your golfer’s animation is okay, with only an occasional bit of lag during the swing.

The game play of mobile golf games tends to go in two directions – casual pick up and play or simulation.  3D Nine Hole Golf definitely leans towards the casual pick up and play gamer.  There are only 4 clubs to choose from: wood, iron, wedge, or putter.  And you have five shots: full, punch, flop, chip, or putt.  What’s odd is that all of the shot types feel the same with the exception of the Full and the Putt.  The others seem to have very little effect on the balls trajectory.   However, this club and shot selection are more than enough for the length and types of holes in the game.  You use the traditional 2 click swing method to strike the ball, and you aim your shot using the trackball.

setup club-selection

Two things hamper game play.  An overhead course outline sits in the top right of the screen, but it fails to show you where the hazards are, so all of your shots are totally blind!  While there is an option for a fly by, the camera is so low that it’s almost useless.  Had Omnigsoft included an option for a free roaming camera this would have solved the problem, but as it stands until you learn the courses the majority of your shots will be in hazards our out of bounds.

The second and largest omission is that the club’s distances aren’t listed, so the meter does very little to help you gauge where to set your power.  I eventually figured out the club distances, but it took me about 18 holes to do so.  This game is geared towards the casual player, and knowing how far each club will go at 100% would have gone a long way towards making this game even more enjoyable.

shot-selection swing-meter

With all of that being said I liked 3D Nine Hole Golf.  Sure it has its shortcomings, but I have a feeling that updates can resolve most if not all of the major issues.  I was particularly impressed with the speed of the graphics engine.  I was able to complete 9 holes in under 12 minutes, which is exactly what you want in a “pick up and play” golf game.  If you’re looking for a casual, lighthearted yet challenging take on the sport pick up 3D Nine Hole Golf.

If you’d like to download 3D Nine Hole Golf, you can grab it in the AndroidGuys store.  Normally selling at $9.95, users can buy it for $6.95 and save 30% through July 3rd!