The Mini Mini Golf game.
Golf Mania from Icon Games is part of the PlayStation Mini family and as such is available to download and play at a low price on the PS3, PSP and the most recent addition, the PlayStation Vita. The objective of the game is simple – get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. But there are a few things that will stand in your way as you try to achieve this.
Golf Mania has taken the more fun, laid back approach to Golf by providing a series of courses that follow the traditional Crazy Golf layout. To finish each course under par, the player will have to reach the hole in under the given number of hits, all whilst having to deal with obstacles, corners and sudden drops. And it has to be said that some of these courses are incredibly complex.
Thankfully, the controls are easy to grasp. Adjust the direction that you will hit the ball in, decide how much power you will use, and then hit the ball. The rest is up to physics and gravity. The first set of holes is not too taxing, but then the difficulty ramps up quite suddenly with much larger areas to negotiate, and more twists and turns than your average EastEnders plot line. The player can restart a hole at any point, if they bork it up, meaning that you can keep trying to get that under par for the course on the whole without having to go through them all over and over again.
Which is kind of essential as very, very few of the holes can be completed on the first attempt. The problem is that the slow and difficult to control camera means that you will inevitably be starting the hole blind, without knowing what is to come or where to hit the ball. It is a little frustrating, but treating your first attempt as a practice run before trying the hole for real helps.
Visually, Golf Mania has a somewhat retro feel about it. More recent Crazy Golf games tend to be very cartoon-like in their visual-style, but Golf Mani has gone the other way, with some very geometrically intricate courses that look as if they may have been designed in MineCraft. The backgrounds are pleasing though, with a selection of natural and abstract designs floating in your peripheral vision.
Golf Mania manages to pack in some 90 courses upon which to test your ball-putting skills. There is also the chance to unlock some interesting new choices in ball, with the likes of globes or basketballs to play the courses with. For the more social amongst you, and the more competitive, there is even a “pass it around” multiplayer mode.
I find it difficult to take a Crazy Golf game seriously if it doesn’t have at least one Clown head into which you have to hit the ball whilst it laughs mockingly at you. With Golf Mania, the Crazy Golf feel is just not there. The visuals are unimpressive and with the controls the way they are, the game could just as easily have been called “Trick-shot Snooker”. However, if you go into the game knowing this and expect a fairly tight physics-based puzzle game, Golf Mania will not disappoint and will have you pulling your hair out in enjoyable frustration long into the night.