Jamdat Mini Golf
Jamdat now lets you download the entire mini golf experience right to your cell phone. Whales and oversized pirates not included.
When you develop cell phone games, you always need to factor in the lowest common denominator, because let's face it, not all of us can afford these high-power super expensive muscle phones that are capable of launching missiles from some underground bunker in New Mexico. Jamdat knows this, which is why it creates well over 100 different variations of the same game, so those of us with corny phones can bask in the greatness of such titles as Jamdat Mini Golf, the most butt-kicking cell phone golf game that I've ever had the privilege to play.
Jamdat Mini Golf is the type of game that, even before I finished it, I was clamoring for a sequel, mostly because it's just a blast to play, but also because the concept has so much potential that the publisher would be foolish to not capitalize on it. With that being said, rest assured that if you come across this title while browsing games on your phone it's a guaranteed winner. Essentially the same type of miniature golf found near beaches up and down the USA's coasts, it presents you with 18 holes of varying challenge and asks you to show off your wicked geometry skills in order to get a hole in one, which, while it's easy early on, is a real pain in the butt to do on many of the later levels. Each stage has at least a single hole in one solution (or more), so part of the fun is replaying the game to figure them out.
There are numerous reasons why this game is so enjoyable beginning with its accessibility. Jamdat, whose games are known for being extremely user friendly, has simplified the controls to such a degree that anyone can pick up Mini Golf and have fun almost immediately. In fact, you play the entire game using your phone's directional arrows to angle your shots and the OK/HOME key to hit the ball. It's a fairly simplistic set up that's surprisingly deep considering how the game is played.
Miniature golf is quite a deceptive game because of its cutesy appearance, but if you've played (and failed) you're well aware that the various hazards and ramps pose a huge challenge. Well the same goes for the obstacles in this game, which include water, ramps, other people, and bridges. In order to make sure you come in under par you're going to need to study each course and take note of its trouble sports, but you're also going to need to mind the force meter at the bottom of the screen. Similar to most golf games, this meter allows you to strike the ball with varying degrees of force, so if you're right at the cup you'll want to press the OK key when the meter is green. Conversely, if you need to cover a long distance you'll want to send that sucker flying by pressing OK when the meter is in the red. Factor in the geometry behind successfully completing the course and what we have a sophisticated golf title housed with a candy wrapper exterior; attractive on the outside, and sweet on the inside.
The last time I met with Jamdat employees, they informed me that when Mini Golf was being designed there were the following three themes on the table: tiki, Egyptian, and carnival. Carnival was axed because it had clowns in it, and as you should know, clowns are scary *$&%^#$%*$%. Egypt was canned because of some interesting but inappropriate themes, and tiki was chosen simply because it's a happy theme almost everyone can identify with and I definitely agree. In fact, while playing the game at various times several people passed by and said to their friends that they felt like they were in the Bahamas or at a party, so Jamdat definitely made the right decision.
Mini Golf's got a sweet appearance that really gives it a unique charm. Throughout your adventure you'll see tiki huts, crazed villagers who are out to impede your ball's progress, flaming torches, and palm trees. Even the game's characters get into the act, sporting colorful Hawaiian shirts. Speaking of which, the characters (known as Bob and Connie) oftentimes appear in these cut scenes where they say some truly bizarre things. It's all weird, though it's funny given the context.
Other sweet graphical touches include the character transparency effect that occurs whenever your body is in front of the ball, phone vibration whenever the ball strays out of bounds, and of course, the quality tiki music that makes me wish I was on a beach playing volleyball and barbecuing something. The game just has a marvelous presentation that, combined with the cool play mechanics, makes for one of the most immersive cell phone experiences you will ever...well...experience!
It's really no surprise that I have little to complain about, though there is one thing that stands out. Whenever you're trying to decide on an angle (done by pressing left or right on your keypad), the golfer moves very slowly, a stark contrast to the rest of the game, which is quickly paced. It's not an annoyance really, but it does disrupt the overall flow of the game. It's just wasted time.
If your cell had actual pores, liquid fun would ooze from them every time you played Jamdat Mini Golf. It's just a fantastically entertaining product that does what few games manage to do, which is make me smile the moment I turn it on. Fun to play by yourself or with a group of friends, it's an awesome party game that'll help pass the time waiting for your plane to take off or for your parents to pick you up from the library. Download it immediately! In the meantime, I'm going to petition Jamdat for a sequel.
What's Hot: An extraordinarily fun golf title that's great to play by yourself or with friends.
What's Not: The characters move too slowly.