"Compared the rest of its Wii budget label brethren, Crazy Mini Golf is by far the favoured game, but it’s a little like saying testicular is your favourite form of cancer."
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman” -- Bill Clinton, US president 1993 - 2001.
“Come down from there, Mr Lucas, there’s no need to jump. Jar-Jar wasn’t that bad” -- Hayden Christenson, world’s first actor made entirely from wood.
“I’ll have you know personal hygiene is very important to me.” -- John Lynch, HG.com lackey.
“The most realistic golf swing ever!!” DDI, Crazy Mini Golf.
Above are just a small selection of The Greatest Lies Ever Told (“I’ll be sure to get in contact” by just about every girl I ever met omitted for ego-saving purposes), but it’s the last that draws our focus in tonight. You know, what with being a video-game review and all.
Crazy Mini Golf does provide the cosmetics to try and sell you, the gullible public, in on its whopper of a fib; spot their game on the shelves, and you’ll see it packaged with a respectable wiimote accessory that, thanks to the power of telescopic plastic shafts, will turn your pad into a pitching wedge. Not sure why you’d need a pitching wedge in a subgenre of golf that only requires a putter, but it’s an appreciated touch and a sturdy bit of kit. But! Just because it looks more like a golf club, the refutable claim fails to hold any more water. Crazy Mini Golf’s ad-heavy swing is a joke. A game-ruining joke.
The over-complexity of the title’s simulation element is what best showcases this. Lining your shot up is done with the d-pad, then you address the ball with a press of the A button. You’re then asked to bring the club back in a mimicry of a putt, but the power bar often just behaves however it feels like, making the shot you want to take nothing more than a pipe dream. You’ll be pressing the button a lot as the game decided you’ve added another couple of bars to your power meter, even though the wiimote has been held steady and unmoving. This power gage is recorded with your backswing, but you then have to time the forward swing right to get anywhere. One of two things will happen:
ONE: You’ll constantly retake the shot as you struggle to get anything right.
TWO: You’ll score constant double bogies (and worse) thanks to the world’s most unrealistic realistic golf swing.
The Arcade version comes to the rescue by allowing the button presses to freeze the swing power meter in place, allowing for the wildly random readings from your swing to be carefully plotted instead of playing a ‘realistic’ stroke and praying it goes somewhere near where you want it to go. In fact, throw the game in Arcade mode and Crazy Mini Golf is nearly, dare I admit it, enjoyable.
There’s four courses in the game, each unlockable by completing the last under par (so don’t expect to get anywhere in simulation mode) and each feature some pretty noteworthy holes. You’ll have to hit golf balls around curving corners with perfect angle and power to wind them around to the waiting green. Too soft and the ball looses momentum and drops into the sea; too hard, and it cannons out of the top of the curve and still gets wet. You’ll have to hit them up pipes with enough power for them to climb the vertical ascent, but not hard enough so they go spinning off the landing platform into the wet. The overlay is cartoony and bright, the music cheerful, cheesy and upbeat and both complement the gimmicks of the courses they reside in, from yacht-bordered islands based in the middle of lazily-lapping oceans to a night-based game lit by flickering torches housed around an Aztec design.
Then you realise that music track is the only one you’ll hear for all eighteen holes and despair. You’ll also notice that, while the basic game is serviceable, the huge lack of detail is damning. Play your ball too near the wall in a real game of crazy golf, and you’ll find yourself stuck with no room behind the little round pest to activate a swing. This is no problem here: the walls are a lie, and your character can not only swing through them like they're mere illusions, but stands in them like they're not even there. Why worry about solid wood barriers when they’re nothing but ghostly illusions? Go on; stand right in them -- you’ll look like a ghastly amputee who's gained the magical ability to float as the wood eats your legs right up to the knees, but it does make an awkward shot you’d normally have to rebound off the wall all the easier.
Things are wrapped up with the ability to create your own avatar to mini golf with, which you can do via a system called NuYu. A system so similar to the Mii that I’m surprised a lawsuit hasn’t been filed. These characters are actually pretty customisable and look a lot more detailed and filled out than the typical Mii, but the down side is their only use is to be used in the “Popcorn Arcade” series DDI have been stinking up shop shelves with. You could buy the other games like Action Girls Racing and Hamster Heroes so as to better make use of your NuYus in the same fashion you can make further use of jam by spreading it on your eyeballs in the hopes of attracting an angry bee.
Compared the rest of its Wii budget label brethren, Crazy Mini Golf is by far the favoured game, but it’s a little like saying testicular is your favourite form of cancer.
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