I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am a huge fan of non-traditional sports games, whether it be bowling, pool, or unrealistic takes on sports like Mario Golf. They are typically casual fun, and tend not to rely on realism. Infinite Minigolf is the latest entry into this self-proclaimed genre, and it is brought to us by Zen Studios, the creators of the Pinball FX series. This title is the follow up to their Playstation 3 title “Planet Minigolf” which boasted an emphasis on creativity. Seven years later, they have ramped up that claim and now offer a dynamic way to play mini-golf, with hopes that each course you play will be fresh and never before seen by your eyes.
Infinite Minigolf takes user creations to new heights, adding an almost “Sims” like creation element to it. Players can build and share their own courses, in addition to customizing their own players. This is where the infinite portion comes to play, as all courses across all systems that are shared by its creator are available to play for everyone! This makes the game, in theory, endless. That is of course open to interpretation, as not every course is going to be quality made or thought out to an extent, but it is certainly an eye catching premise. These courses can be made and played across three themes. Present are a Christmas theme, a Halloween theme, and a home theme where everything is rather large (suitably titled “Big House”). These themes look great and it is a great way to offer different set pieces within the course building. I had fun building a few tracks of my own. While I was not patient enough to play with the builder to the point of building something jaw dropping, I did find it easy and fun to make something both conveying effort as well as fun to play. There is a lot you can do with the courses if you take the time. From using clever powerups, adding anger inducing tracks, to just making a cohesively cool track, it is all within reach if you have the vision. The kicker here is that to share your track, you have to be able to beat it, which means no going willy-nilly with traps and tricks in hopes of trolling would be players.
Outside of the created levels are tournaments with levels created by the devs for the games, as well as multiplayer. In the tournament mode, you will partake in one of four different tournaments per theme, each having a different character host it. Each of these sets of four have three different difficulties, which amounts for 36 tournaments total. At face value it is a lot, but from my understanding each hosts tourney is the same each time, just with tougher opponents and less handouts along the way. I would have liked to see each increasing difficulty have different courses, but I understand the approach. I like the designs of these grounded tourneys, as well as their colorful hosts. From a pumpkin head type, a yeti, and adorable animals, each is hand crafted with unique style and flair. They look as good as their surrounding environments, which brings more character and life to the title.
Multiplayer is a pretty standard affair, offering both local and online offerings. What holds it back though is the controls, which are by far the least favorable part of my experiences with Infinite Minigolf. While I had hoped for a more traditional start and stop power bar seen in many golf games, I was greeted to an analog stick control scheme. Using the right stick, you pull it back to build power and then flick forward to hit it. It is highly sensitive and hard to control, making it unappealing. Even after adjusting the sensitivity, I found it no better to play with. This really hurt the gameplay for me, and I truly hope they eventually add an option to play in the more traditional style held by golf games. Aside from that, it has a great structure about it. There are multiple ways to score. Trick shots and birdies alike allot various scores, as well as collection diamonds and gems from the track. It is not just a game of strokes, but a game of skill and finesse.
Infinite Minigolf has a strong base under it. It has a lot of character, a strong platform for players to build on their creativity, and an overall fun vibe about it. What it does not have is a great control scheme, which put a damper on the gameplay. The game has ambition, but not quite enough polish. The control scheme needs fleshed out in my personal opinion, the online multiplayer seemed stagnant each time I tried to find a random match, and several bugs were present throughout my playtime. I like what’s on the course, but Infinite Minigolf just is not up to par, not yet anyways.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10
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