Infinite Minigolf may be a bad name, but it’s a potentially accurate one. Zen Studios’ follow-up to forgotten PlayStation 3 putt-‘em-up Planet Minigolf is packing some nifty cross-console features, meaning that its pool of user generated courses can be accessed regardless of your system of choice. This means that you could, effectively, find enough content to keep you occupied for eternity – but will all of it be up to par?
The answer to that is obvious: no. Already the title’s servers are plagued by low-effort layouts, so it’s going to be imperative that the good stuff gets properly promoted by the title’s in-game Course Browser. The good news is that there’s potential there: it’s easy to make a decent design – a little imagination is all that’s required – and the core golfing action is up to snuff. Plus, this particular package looks amazing with PlayStation VR.
We must stress: virtual reality is not required. The game can be played in its entirety on a standard television setup, and it looks great – but should you own Sony’s luminous headset, then we’d strongly recommend you put it on. Playing with the PlayStation 4 Pro this is one of the cleaner PlayStation VR experiences you’ll find, and it’s yet another example of a third-person experience working effectively with the accessory.
There are three environments in the game: a Toy Story-style boy’s bedroom, a Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired graveyard, and a festive winter wonderland. Each location is small but beautifully detailed and vibrantly coloured, with lots of moving parts and themed objects that can be used in the Course Editor to create attractive stages. There are unique mechanics in each, too, spanning everything from quadcopters to giant yetis.
As that last sentence should suggest, this is fantasy golf – and rightly so. Power-ups can be picked up across the courses, and used to launch your ball into the air or even take control of it. As such, many of the pre-designed holes play more like puzzles than true tests of your golfing ability – you may have to pair power-ups in certain ways with the right timing to pick up all of the collectibles on a course and maximise your score.
To be fair, there is a lot of complexity to the scoring system, which takes into account ricochets and the like. It means that riskier play is rewarded, and it encourages creative course design. Outside of the user generated content are 12 pre-designed tournaments which can be tackled across three difficulty tiers. These should give you some good ideas for your own levels, as they demonstrate how different power-ups and objects can be paired.
But it really is that Course Editor that’s at the beating heart of the package, and it’s pretty intuitive to use. We’re big fans of the complicated, multi-part levels that can be completed in one stroke – and so that’s exactly the kind of stage we embarked to create. An hour later, we’d put(t) together a course that delivered the exact type of gameplay that we’d envisioned without too many headaches at all – we even built it in virtual reality.
And it’s easy to find this level. User generated content can be served up across a multitude of modes, including local and online multiplayer, as well as Quick Play, which basically just tosses stage after stage at you. Unfortunately, this is where the clangers are most prevalent, as we’ve had to deal with some truly lazy layouts thus far. Fortunately, working in tandem with a full rating system, there’s a more in-depth Course Browser designed to help you filter out the duds.
Whichever mode you play, you’ll do so in service of a tangle of levelling options. Progress across various facets of the game helps level up your profile, unlocking new cosmetic items for your cartoony male or female character to wear. But you’ll also need cards – unlocked via in-game sticker packs or general progress – to purchase these threads. It’s all a little too convoluted for its own good, but at least there’s something tangible to work towards.
Infinite Minigolf provides the tools needed to cultivate an endless arcade game – it just needs the algorithms required to ensure that its one you’ll actually want to play forever. The core golf here is fun, and the pre-designed courses show that there’s potential for some great puzzle-like levels. It’s now down to the imagination of users to wield the title’s intuitive Course Editor to create some high-quality stages – and the title itself to ensure that they get promoted ahead of the inevitable procession of low-effort Bogeys.
I played through the Giant Room before work this morning and loved it. Looking forward to seeing what else is on offer.
I actually forgot there was an editor. When I started playing it said there was 420 holes available. I thought that's a lot. When I finished it said there was 800 odd. That's when I remembered it had an editor and that was probably everyone uploading courses.
Hole in one for that tag line!
I saw the trailer on the store yesterday and I was interested in this...it reminded me of creating tracks on a PS2 small cars games that I don't remember the name...
Anyway...maybe I'll pick it on a sale
Interesting spin on golf games, but with Everybody's Golf and the fact I've started playing GBA Mario Golf on my business trips I doubt I'll pick this up, which is a shame.
@get2sammyb I might putt this on my VR games wishlist along with Eagle Flight. Of course you've picked a few holes in it but it doesn't look too bad, I've been wanting a good golf game for a while now. It's either this or a VR driving game, not sure which, Driveclub looks tempting.
@Simon_Fitzgerald DriveClub isn't great in VR in my opinion. Made me feel a bit pukey.
@get2sammyb you obviously didn't catch on to the awful golfing puns XD
PSVR gameplay is 3rd person? That's disappointing.
@Simon_Fitzgerald Oh no, I got them, but I thought you were being serious.
@Javelin I'm genuinely starting to think VR works better in third-person for a lot of games.
@get2sammyb I absolutely love Driveclub VR. I've got an Alcantara Playseat Evolution and a G29. It's absolutely amazing (even with the average graphics).
But I know what you mean, Driveclub seems to be one of those VR games that splits people in the motion sickness department.
I can't wait for GT Sport, it's just a shame they have cut back on the VR mode.
I need more VR racers.
@get2sammyb yeah I played the Driveclub demo and had no issues with it but I'll probably go for this instead
@get2sammyb This is minigolf, though. You stand in one spot, relatively still, and you swing gently. If there was ever a game perfect for VR, this would be it.
@Javelin Yeah but the characters are cute and being able to see them as well as the course gives a good sense of scale to the whole thing.
I honestly never considered this could be first-person until I read your comment TBH.
@get2sammyb Third-person VR makes me feel like a spectator, like I'm watching in 3D, not virtual reality. When they announced this would support PSVR, I thought it would be PlayStation's answer to Cloudlands. Oh, well. I'm probably not getting this until it's on sale.
I wish the new Everybody's Golf had characters that looked like this instead of those awful mii lookalikes.
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