Icon Games Entertainment’s Golf Mania is a downloadable PSP Minis game that is compatible with PSP, PS3, and Sony’s recently released handheld the Vita. The whole idea behind the Minis is that they are a console alternative to the inexpensive games that appear on mobile phones. As such Golf Mania is a competitively priced title that won’t take up a great deal of memory on your memory card or hard drive.
It features over 90 holes and a wealth of unlockable content, such as different style gold balls, including one that makes your golf ball look like the planet Earth. Each of the courses has a visually distinct background, including a few that are actually quite abstract.
Rather than attempting to simulate the sport of golf and recreating real world golf courses Golf Mania more resembles crazy golf, with a series of trick shots, ramps, and obstacles to impede your progress. Each hole has a set par and the aim is to finish either on par on under par. If you achieve this then you unlock the next batch of holes as well as additional content.
As you would hope, the controls are very simple and intuitive. At the start of each hole you are allowed to choose the angle at which you wish to place you ball. Once you’ve set the ball down you can adjust the direction you wish to shoot at, with power being set by using the d-pad. In order to actually shoot you simply need to tap X.
The fact that you have direct control over how hard you’re hitting the ball makes for a far tighter and less frustrating experience. In other golf games you tend to have a power metre that fluctuates, requiring you to carefully time when to press the shoot button. If you’re timing isn’t perfect this usually results in your shot being ruined.
In terms of graphics and sound design, you shouldn’t expect too much as this is a PSP Minis game. The graphics are a little crude and simple, but bold and brightly coloured. Meanwhile the music and sound effects manage to blend nicely into the background without disrupting the experience.
The first few dozen holes are fairly simple to get through, but the difficulty does start to ramp up after you’ve unlocked a few courses. By the time you’ve unlocked all courses you may very well start to feel like a golfing pro… at least, a digital golfing pro anyway.
Graphics: 3/5 – Nothing to write home about, but perfectly competent.
Sound: 3/5 – Unobtrusive music and all the sound effects you would expect from a golf game.
Gameplay: 4/5 – Being given full control over the amount of power you apply to your shot make for a very tight golfing experience. There are dozens of different holes to overcome, each with their own obstructions.
Longevity: 5/5 – Pound for pound Golf Mania is rammed full of content. Most holes can be completed within a minute or two if you know what you’re doing, but the quest to unlock all golf ball varieties can potentially keep you playing for a long time to come.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
Those looking to play a quick and simple few rounds of crazy golf on their PSP, PS3, or Vita should look no further than Golf Mania.
- Luke Mears