The latest release from UK studio Icon Games is now available as a PS Minis title, which means it’s compatible with PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation Portable, offering it one of the largest potential audiences of any single format release out there. Presented at a wallet-friendly price and distributed with minimal fuss, Golf Mania! is unlikely to set the industry alight. However, as a bite-sized gameplay experience designed as a snack between Call of Duty and Uncharted meals, Golf Mania! does certainly perform well at the job it’s been designed to do.
The first thing to know about Golf Mania! is that this isn’t a sports simulation. You’re not going to get the realism of Tiger Woods PGA Tour here, nor are you likely to see the depth of John Daly’s Pro Stroke Golf. Instead, Golf Mania! is more reminiscent of the Mega-Drive’s classic Zany Golf, minus the cartoon stylings. It’s a videogame with just as much in common with Marble Madness as the actual sport of golf, and for that it’s something of a unique proposition in today’s console market.
Included within Golf Mania!’s deceptively diminutive package is a great number of holes. Divided into a series of courses presented as either ‘Classic Courses’ or ‘Modern Courses’, there’s plenty of variety in the videogame’s challenges. The Classic Courses are presented as more tradition experiences, still erring on the side of crazy golf as opposed to a serious take on the sport however. The later courses demand the foresight of Super Monkey Ball in navigating their tunnels and slides. All holes have a par set, and in order to access the Modern Courses the player must complete all of the holes included in the Classic Courses option.
The gameplay is limited in scope; with no tutorial to speak of the player will simply learn everything they need to know about Golf Mania! through playing. The fact that only two courses will be enough to have a complete handle on how to play Golf Mania! successfully is more telling than any long winded introduction: this is simply a case of aim, add power, putt. Golf Mania! offers no more and demands only visual analysis of the path ahead.
Along with new courses the player will unlock new balls. These seemingly have no effect on the videogame aside from adding a splash of colour, a facet which isn’t Golf Mania!’s strongest asset. In fact, Golf Mania! is a rather poor looking title, with jagged edges and poorly judged, basic textures present in abundance. Gamers often criticise the visual quality of videogames to the point of suggesting it hampers the gameplay, and while Electronic Theatre is loathe offering estimation with such significant potential for misinterpretation, in the case of Golf Mania! it’s wholly true.
Icon Games specialise in creating small budget titles for low retail prices, and that’s exactly what Golf Mania! is. It’s not likely to become a sensation and it’s hardly the most original videogame out there, but for just £2.49 GBP you could certainly do a lot worse. If you can ignore the terrible visual design and simply enjoy Golf Mania! for the light hearted challenge it provides, there’s more than your money’s worth tucked away inside this PS Minis title.