aka True Swing Golf in the USA and Touch Golf Birdie Challenge in Europe.
Otona no DS Golf is the latest entry in Nintendo’s “Touch Generation” series that is designed to appeal to non traditional gamers. Instead of going after the female market with Nintendogs, Otona no DS Golf (called True Swing Golf in the USA) is out to capture the older male adult market. Because of this Otona no DS Golf was designed with an easy learning curve.
You can quickly jump into the game by selecting quick play (top left) or if you want to advance your golfing avatar’s rank check out one player mode (top right). One player mode allows you to select stroke play, match play and championships. In these modes you can earn cash to spend at the clubhouse and move up from rookie to pro. Each mode is just a minor variation of the same game. You control your swing from with the DS’ touch screen. All you have to do is drag your club back and draw a straight line forward with the stylus to hit the ball. The faster you move your stylus forward, the stronger your swing. It’s sort of reminiscent to the classic bar game Golden Tee, except instead of a track ball you use a stylus.
Even if you’re not Tiger Woods you can still jump right into Otona no DS Golf. The game automatically selects the optimal club for the situation and it shows you how far to draw back your swing indicated by a red line on the bottom of the screen. However, if you are a pro and want a little more freedom you’re given key information like wind direction and the ability to select your clubs. You can also aim your shot by dragging the pointer around the bottom screen and then zoom in to where the ball should land by hitting the magnifying glass. Making great shots not only send the ball closer to the hole, but they charge up your special shot meter. The special shot meter can stock a couple of charged up shots to use. By holding down the L button before a shot you’ll use one shot in exchanged for an extra powerful swing. If you want to master Otona no DS Golf you’ll need to use all these tools to your advantage. Unlike some golf games getting a hole in one isn’t an easy shot. Even getting a birdie can be a challenge, which is what makes True Swing Golf so rewarding. A winning shot feels like you’ve earned it.
If getting a virtual hole in one isn’t enough of a reward there is an in depth single player mode to test your skill at. Play in challenges against virtual opponents to see if you can complete a course with a lower score. If you’re successful you’ll be able to try your skill at tougher opponents. There is the added bonus of winning cold cash at the end of every event. Cash can be spent at the clubhouse to buy new threads to further customize your character. Pants, shirts and new gloves can all be yours in colors that you can choose by hitting the color wheel on the top right of the screen. If you want to improve your game you can opt to buy the more expensive clubs too. New clubs can give you new types of special shots so you can increase the spin you put on the ball instead of a power shot.
Otona no DS Golf also offers a wireless multiplayer mode for up to four people to play with a single cart using download play. With one card you can only get nine holes of game time. If you want to play a full course everyone will need to have their own cart.
Most of the time when you’re playing True Swing Golf you’re going to be paying attention to the bottom screen. That’s probably a good thing since the graphics in True Swing Golf aren’t the greatest. You’ll often see muddy texture when zoomed out. When you move in closer a nearby tree turns into a mess of green and pink squares. While Otona no DS Golf is in 3D, the DS has much more power that what it’s being used for. Another presentation flaw is the music. There’s nothing wrong with having mellow music for the background, but more than one song would have been a good idea. Hearing the same background music for ten shots in a row will make you mute your DS quickly.
Since Otona no DS Golf is designed for casual gamers, most people will ignore the disappointing presentation and instead praise the game for it’s pick up playability. What True Swing Golf offers is a realistic golfing experience minus the clubs. While the game is easy to learn there is an element of subtle challenge in the game. Just like in a real game of golf you can spend time to master your swing so you can get the perfect shot. Overall, Otona no DS Golf is a great game, just shy of a hole in one.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 1
After you navigate through the initial Japanese menus Otona no DS Golf is easy to pick up because of the simplistic touch screen controls. Important menu items like club selection, wind direction and so forth are icons that can be read in any language. The only main language barrier that exists occurs in the clubhouse when you’re trying to select what items to buy.
Otona no Golf will be released under the name True Swing Golf in January 2006.
+ Pros: True Swing Golf is easy to learn and difficult to master. Simple controls make it a worthwhile golf game even if you’re not a hardcore gamer.
– Cons: Simplistic in presentation with blocky character models and environments.
Overall: True Swing Golf’s brilliance is in its simplicity almost anyone even non gamers will enjoy playing True Swing Golf.
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