PSN Review – Planet Minigolf

Play, Create, Share is becoming a very popular and crowded genre on the PlayStation Network with the likes of Gravity Crash, Joe Danger and Cuboid. Joining them is Planet Minigolf, released just last week on the PS Store. The title marks Zen Studios’ third PSN release thus far. Based on the casual sport of minigolf, the game boasts 144 holes and then some. Has Zen Studios shot an Eagle with this title, or should they take a mulligan?

From the get-go, the game gives a very arcadey feel. The music is fitting, and the main menu has your options sprawled out on a wooden deck near the beach with your character lounging around in a chair grooving to the song. Of course, if you get tired of the song playing you can simply bring up the XMB media player and use your own collection. That is definitely a nice feature to have in a game like this.

With only four different golf locations, you would think there wouldn’t be that many different holes. But each themed area has four different tours, “Warm-Up,” “Pro,” “Extreme,” and “Wacky,” each with increasingly tricky holes to conquer. This brings the total holes to 144. But wait! There’s more. You can actually create and publish your own custom-built holes. Using a grid/tile-based editor, there is seemingly limitless potential here.

There’s also a decent amount of customization options here. As you progress through the game, you are rewarded varying levels of keys – bronze, silver and gold. There are also badges to earn for performing trick shots, which adds to your round’s style points. These add to the number of keys you earn upon completion of a tournament. You can use those keys in the in-game shop for new clothes, clubs, balls and accessories. This can make for interesting-looking characters and adds to the game’s replayability.

The graphics here are more than serviceable, though nothing to write home about. The game runs in 720p and at least 7.1 surround sound. The in-game announcer is also hilarious at times, especially when you take a while before your shot. The framerate stays pretty solid, except in custom-made holes which are obviously meant to push the game, but even then the framerate only dips on occasion.

Okay, so the game looks nice, sounds nice, and is customizable. But how does it play? Very well, actually. There are three shooting styles to pick from. You aim the ball using the directional pad in each. Easy mode simply has you pressing the X button hard or soft and releasing for the shot, and is worth the least style points. The latter two control methods, 3-click and Direct, both give you 2x the style points. I prefer Direct mode, which has you pulling back on the left analog stick and then thrusting it forward as hard as you want your shot to go. This is sort of like the Skate series but obviously less complicated.

Powerups are also a big part of this game, and are littered throughout the game. Hitting X during the ball’s movement activates them, and they can vary from rocketing your ball forward to slowing it down, launching it airborne and even controlling it via your SIXAXIS controller. This makes otherwise impossible hole-in-ones a bit more plausible.

Multiplayer is here, both online and off, and performs amicably, with a decent time limit of 30 seconds per shot. Video chat is also supported, which can definitely be used to throw your opponent off their game. There are plenty of different modes in both casual and ranked formats for social gamers and the more hardcore among us.

Zen Studios has created a fine minigolf game, that has a surprising amount of depth thanks to over 140 holes from the start but already thousands more available online created by users. With support for up to six players in multiplayer, the game is great for social gamers, yet with plenty of courses, character items, equipment and some challenging trophies to collect it is also great for completionists out there. It may not change the minds of people who don’t like this genre, but for only $9.99, you cannot go wrong with this charming title. If this review has piqued your interest in this game, be sure to check out the demo available on the PS Store.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Lots of various holes with plenty of challenge

Seemingly endless replayability thanks to custom holes

Won’t change the minds of those who aren’t fans of the genre

8 out of 10