Sunday, April 29, 2007

XBLA review: 3D Ultra Minigolf (0/10)

Blech.

This game is terrible.

The menu system is hard to read - green with light green indicating a selection. EA must have consulted with them on that decision.

There's one course to start with in single-player mode. You have to complete a tournament to unlock it, I guess. Of course, you can't save in the middle of a game – not during a hole, not after a hole, not after 9 holes, not after 18 holes – so I couldn't put myself through the torture of finding out. I guess you're competing against the computer, but you only see the scoreboard after a hole is over, and it doesn't really say anything about a competition.

The physics are bad. Sometimes the ball rebounds off objects, sometimes it comes to a stop, sometimes it goes airborne, sometimes it just sits, and there's really no way to tell what it'll do in advance.

There are two camera angles: player's view and satellite view. There's only one sort-of fly-by with no way to repeat it during the game, no other way to change the view, no way to figure out on some holes exactly what you're supposed to do.

Some of the holes aren't bad, but others are excruciatingly bad. There's one hole that's ostensibly a pinball machine. I guess the idea is to get the ball into a hole on the playfield, not that you could tell, because it doesn't say. The flippers? You "control" them with B. Yep, they couldn't even figure out how to use two of the 100 buttons on the 360 controller. The physics model is particularly unsuited to this hole: the last time I tried to play, I gave up after 2 minutes of watching the ball meandering aimlessly on the table, punctuated by occasional presses of B (pressing B causes the flippers to flip once in sync; you can't use them to catch the ball). If you let the ball drain, it goes back to the tee.

There appears to be no stroke limit, so if you can't figure out a hole, presumably you could get into double figures. Nice learning experience.

There are some poorly-explained powerups, most of which seem to be attempts to disguise the lack of quality of the game. "Sure, it sucks. We've got vacuum holes to prove it!"

I tried to play it twice. The first time, I barely made it through 18. The second time, I quit during the pinball hole. I got tired of waiting for something to happen.

I don't know why they even bothered with this game. Don't buy it. Don't play it.

zlionsfan's rating: 0.0.

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