Sunday, January 11, 2009

GL Golf for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Of all the golf games and simulations I’ve played so far for the iPhone, there’s one that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. GL Golf. No fancy ‘just swing your iPhone to make a swing’ here. This game gets back to the basics of classic golf games. Select your club, judge the wind, slope and distance, and use the swing gauge to make your swing.

As you can see in the main menu (included in the image gallery below) there are plenty of options in the full version of the game. Choose from one of six courses, each one designed after a famous course (Augusta, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrew’s to name a few!). You can choose the number of players, how many holes you want to play, the difficulty, time of day, season, and ball color. Plenty of options to fiddle around with. I found it fun to try playing different ’seasons’, because the graphics actually looked more defined and pleasing in certain seasons. Try this for yourself to see what you like best. Also, in a more recent update of the game there’s a ‘best rounds’ leaderboard that shows your best scores, as well as low scores from all over the world. It is my understanding that the developer is working on an online-play version of the game (which will be awesome), and I’ll let you know when that happens.

The actual gameplay screen and controls are easy. Slider your finger up and down the screen to change clubs. You’ll see the ‘range’ your selected club has in the bottom-right hole overview. Move your finger left and right across the screen to adjust your aim. You can also control backspin, draw/fade and loft/punch setup for each shot with sliders on the left hand side of the screen. To make a shot, simply tap the ’swing’ button once to start the swing, and once again to stop your swing. 100% power is the line in the red area of the bar, right where it starts to fan out. Go over it, and you’ll lose a bit of control… so be careful. Putting follows the same principle. Aim where you want, taking into account any break you might see thanks to the grid set down on top of the green. Tap to start your putt, and tap again to set the power. That’s it!

All that good stuff said, I do have a few areas I’d like to see improved. First, the physics. They’re a bit off at times. Uphill putts are sometimes impossible to get up the hill, and break wildly. Any seasoned golfer will also notice some slight variations in how the ball reacts in different situations (try adding backspin to some shots). Not a HUGE deal, but something that should be addressed. Second, the graphics. It is my belief that if the graphics in this game were taken to the next level, you’d have an absolute must-have here. The graphics are basic, but in my opinion still provide enough of a ‘good thing’ to make the gameplay experience enjoyable.

For more information you can always hit up the developers’ site at Nuclear Nova Software. Also feel free to check out their GL Golf for iPhone Forum.

To get a taste of the game, you can download GL Golf ‘Lite’ for free. Get it here.

For the full-on experience of GL Golf, you can pick up the full version for $7.99. (iTunes Link Alerts!)


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