Planet Minigolf

Planet Minigolf sounds perfect: a $10 miniature golf game from Zen Studios (creators of Zen Pinball and Pinball FX2) with Move controls. Unfortunately, the execution is almost entirely a disaster, from the opening menus to the game mechanics. Setting up a multiplayer with the Move controllers is a chore: even with 4 controllers connected, the game defaults to control via DualShock 3, and the process of setting each player to his or her own motion controller (with the proper handedness) is a counter-intuitive chore. It took 3 tries to get set up properly the first time I launched the game. The interface doesn’t improve in action: to putt with the move requires 3 steps: hold the move button to aim, click the trigger to go into putt mode, hold the move button again and swing to hit the ball. Why isn’t it hold trigger to aim, hold move button to swing? At least the swing mechanics are modeled well, so once you get used to the multiple button presses putting is satisfying. As far as I can tell three variables are tracked, swing velocity, the position of the club, and the rotation of the head, which gives a decent amount of verisimilitude.

What kills the game for me, however, is the courses. In contrast to Zen Pinball, where they nail the feel of a pinball table, just barely exceeding what’s plausible to do mechanically, the Planet Minigolf holes are entirely over the top (like the underground club venues in Rock Band 3 vs. the descent into Hell in Guitar Hero 3). There’s a jungle course, a pirate ship course, an urban course, etc. I’d rather play on something that resembles real mini golf, with castles and windmills and other kitschy obstacles, instead of wholly outlandish locations. There are also style points and power-ups, neither of which I’ve quite figured out. All in all, the game seems like a missed opportunity, when it could have been a showcase for the Move (the purchase of which I’m trying to justify).