It’s so fun; they had to say it twice.
Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch as the name suggests is fun: but how fun exactly? Turns out it is actually a pretty decent game that you should pick up if it goes on sale.
This game was one of the original released on the 3DS’s ever expanding (and actually fantastic) eShop. Developed by Shin’en, the game has you controlling a basic male or female avatar (upgradeable to a Mii of your choice) to complete various crazy golf tournaments. With a simple slide of the stylus and aiming of the circle-pad you send your golf ball hurtling towards the hole, finishing a tournament awards you money, the main meat of the game.
Every time you complete a tournament you earn money, more or less depending on how well you performed (under or over par for each of the nine holes in every tournament); with this money you purchase further tournaments, trick-shots, upgrades and bonuses (the ability to play as a Mii and a golden golf club for example). This works as a tool for making the player want to outperform their best score in order to unlock everything the game has to offer, which is not much. The way one has to buy everything unfortunately highlights the game’s main fault: its length and limiting nature.
The game contains a total of nine courses divided into three categories: the American Cup, Asian Cup and European Cup. For each of these there are three variants, Cup (the basic Cup), Pro Cup and Super Cup which are gradually more difficult in the order above. However, the three American Cups, Asian Cups and European Cups have the same basic layout throughout, with added obstacles and mirroring in the Pro and Super Cups; which is lazy game design. This design technique requires that the basic twenty-seven course layouts are good, and thankfully they are for the most part (there are one or two that require guess-work to complete, but they are not too bad), but for a game based on crazy golf (or its slightly less crazy cousin minigolf) one can just imagine all the crazy and fun course designs that could have been.
The limiting nature of the game design however also works in favour of simplicity, which appears to be what the game is all about, pure simple fun. Something backed up by the charming aesthetics and completely un-offensive style: most everyone will find at least some fun in this title.
Once you finish all the courses and buy everything, there’s nothing left to do but strive for perfection in the nine tournaments, while this doesn’t sound like much of a complaint, finishing and buying everything does not take long at all: around three hours. Sure, it’s a fun three hours, but three hours nonetheless: why you should buy it only when on sale.
Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch was a bad name choice, Shin’en was just asking for it. The game does not deserve double fun, just the one. It’s fun, but not great and its limitations are too striking for their own good: they really should have made each and every tournament unique; it comes off as cheap and lazy on the developer’s side.
Charming simplicity meets lazy game design in this fun, but limited minigolf game that needed more inventiveness and unique course-design.