Family Mini Golf
WiiWare | Arc System Works / Aksys Games | 1-8 Players (local multiplayer/co-operative play)
Nintendo Wi-fi Connection Pay & Play DLC available |
Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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1st April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
On the game's Main Menu, players will find selections for Single-Player, Multiplayer, Download Shop and other things such as option configuration. The game comes packed-in with a total of 3 courses with 9 holes each. Environments are pretty predictable as they've all been done before in past Family games. You'll golf on an Island course, Forest course, and even a Castle course set in the middle of an Amusement Park. The single-player experience really shows that the game is meant to be played with friends. Players are directed to clear an entire stage without going over the given number of strokes. Most of these won't prove to be too challenging for the average player and when you do complete all three courses, you'll unlock a Bonus option that allows you to view the game's credit roll - not exactly the most motivating unlockable out there.
The game offers two modes of play: a free-for-all 'Full Throttle' mode, and a co-operative 'Team Battle' mode. Both can be pretty fun in groups, especially Team Battle. When playing co-operatively, the game will only count the lowest stroke score towards the overall team score. Even if you're put on the same team as your incompetent younger sibling or distant relative, you can still win if you perform well, which is a nice feeling. As you play, stars will appear on the scoreboard will appear beside the player's score with the best result for each hole. At the end of a course, the scores will be tabulated and the person or team will be crowned the winner!
Gameplay couldn't be mapped any simpler. Simply aim in the desired direction using the D-Pad, and after judging for appropriate distance, stop the power guage with the A Button at the right time and swing with a light gesture. If you find yourself stuck up against a tight space, you can press the 2 Button to switches your character's orientation to allow you to get your golf ball out of the uncomfortable spot. The camera at times will create some awkward views from time to time but the 1 Button can be used to view the overall hole if need be. The Plus Button can bring up the Pause Menu which contains the scoreboard for the entire course as well as the option to go back to the Main Menu (careful, there's no confirm screen!).
Nothing about the game is fantastic and it doesn't really promise to be. Graphics won't impress, but they do look nice and cheery. Level designs are also surprisingly decent, even fun in some cases. While some are rather simple-looking, the game contains a good number of course designs that might even exceed low expectations. Courses are littered with gimmicks such as ramps, dash panels, fans, and loop-de-loops. Part of the enjoyment that comes from playing is learning the best path to the end of each hole and striving for Eagle's and even Hole-in-One's. The physics rarely cause you to raise an eyebrow, but there are times when the ball will get stuck at the very edge of a hole. This is very annoying because in any other mini-golf game, (or even in real life for that matter) you know that such a scenario would never present itself.
Multiplayer support allows for up to 8 players to participate in alternating play, using any number of Wii Remotes. Since there are only 4 characters to choose from, players need to remember what player number they are throughout the entire experience. In Family Pirate Party, the game allowed you to change the name of the player, something that has yet to be featured in any other Family game. The inability to do this here is baffling as it would've helped when playing with larger crowds. When playing with larger numbers of people, the game can get a bit boring when it's not your turn, waiting for so many people to play. Not to mention, too, that hearing the theme for the Castle stage over and over again could drive some nuts. Still, the game can be fun if you don't take it too seriously.
In terms of replay value, obviously much of the game's playtime will be derived from the multiplayer mode. For those times when you play by yourself, there's nothing really to strive for since there's no high-score table to be seen anywhere. In a bold move, the developers decided to add 3 packs of DLC, each containing one course of 9 holes. DLC works really well in this case, especially so since some of the stages are challenging and have interesting designs. If you're looking for added challenge or if you just want to extend replayability, you may find the DLC to be a worthwhile investment, especially if the game turns out to be a hit with family and friends.
The game is only 500 points and it does offer you more content and enjoyment when compared with some of the other Family titles. This really is mini-golf likely in its simplest form, but it can still be fun especially in multiplayer settings. Despite a small measure of flaws, the game works well for the asking price, topped with additional DLC to extend the experience. Although a majority of the 'Family' games may be bottom-of-the-barrel, Family Mini Golf is a surprisingly good game.
22/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Mini-golf in its simplest form, some minor nuisances, good course designs, something anyone can get into
Presentation 7/10 - Simple and really nothing special, music could be more varied, name changing from Pirate Party is missed
Enjoyment 4/5 - Somewhat fun playing by yourself but may wear off with nothing to strive for, good multiplayer with the right number of people
Extra Content 4/5 - Total of 27 holes, additional DLC is pretty challenging, more content than Fun! Fun! Minigolf, no leaderboards
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)