Let's pay Golf?
Let's Golf 2 is one of those Apps that managed to stay on my crowded iPhone long after other Apps disappeared to make space for new games. Gameloft’s announcement of Let’s Golf 3 was, therefore, met with excitement and then with some dread as the freemium details became clear.
I’m a big fan of freemium, if done correctly. It allows players to get into a game for free and add money to enhance the experience. The problems occur when the free model doesn’t stand up on it’s own and players are asked to pay for too much of the content, rendering the free aspect fairly useless. While the underlying game engine remains solid and still provides one of the best golf experiences on iOS, Gameloft’s latest entry in their animated golf series falls foul of the freemium issue.
The actual meat of the game is where Gameloft earn points. There are brand new courses on offer here, including golfing on the moon, providing the best from the series so far in terms of graphics. Attention to detail is noticeable from the background scenery and the characters and animals who inhabit the various courses on offer and the improved view makes it far easier to see where the ball is being aimed. The choice of courses and the general feel to the menus really help this to grab your attention from the off and provide a smooth play experience on newer hardware, though there were some noticeable framerate issues on the 3GS.
Controls haven’t changed all that much from the previous game, but go for a ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’ approach. I’ve been happy with this system so far and I’m glad Gameloft didn’t see fit to fiddle with the power bar system that I’ve loved since the days of 8-bit computers. It still works just as well as it did in Let’s Golf 2 and with the improved aiming it continues to provide a good control system that is easy to grasp.
But playing through the game soon presents an issue. You get credits, in the form of energy, which replenish with successful play (Par or above) or automatically throughout the day. These credits unlock new courses by giving you another hole to play, run out of credits and you run out of game time. Coming back to the game you start all over again, just waiting for the credits to run out.
Being freemium, you can buy more credits, but this means you’ll be paying-to-play rather than the traditional model of paying a single time to unlock a course or character. It soon adds up. Perhaps Gameloft took a look at how expensive the real game of Golf can be and thought they’d provide some realism in their game, but whatever reason they’ve chosen it just doesn’t work.
Without the freemium aspect It would be easy to award Let’s Golf 3 with a great score, it’s a solid game that improves on previous titles. With it, the game feels as if those gophers from the advert have popped up and made holes all over the golf course; it ruins the game.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 5
- Longevity: 5
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