Chillingo Ltd has recently released RESETgame’s Par 72 Golf [App Store] for the iPhone and iPod touch through the iTunes App Store. Par 72 Golf is a golf game of the "realistic / simulation" sort, as opposed to the "zany / putt putt" sort (such as Putt Putt Golf [App Store] which we reviewed not long ago) and is one of the very few golf offerings presently available in the App Store.
Par 72 Golf presents the player with a 3D perspective view of the fairway which is dotted with hills, water, sand traps, trees, cacti, and other environmental elements--fairly standard fare for mobile golf games of this sort. A zoomable overhead view of the course is also provided.
The game consists of three 18 hole courses: Par 72 Classic, Desert Palms, and Maritime Moors, that are rated par 3, 4, and 5 respectively. Eleven clubs are available to choose from, with a suggested club automatically selected at each stroke scenario and wind, aerodynamics, gravity, and friction are all gameplay factors. Game actions are accompanied by basic sound effects.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward. The iPhone's touchscreen is used to make club selections, change angle of shot (left/right), switch view modes, and control the swing of the club. Accurate delivery of the ball involves tapping a swing button once to begin the drawback and then tapping again to swing. The force of the swing is depicted by a bar that grows in length between the first and second tap. The ball can be released at any point along the bar for a straight shot, but if the second tap comes after the bar reaches maximum length, the ball will veer wildly in its delivery. (This is easier observed in the YouTube video than described textually.)
I was excited to see a simulation-style golf title land on the iPhone, as it's a favorite mobile genre of mine. And after running the leaderboard with Par 72 Golf for a while, I can say that it indeed offers iPhone gamers a fun mobile golfing experience, but it's not without its shortcomings. While its 3D rendered course graphics are fairly clean and clear, the game is not as visually polished as many of the golf titles available for other mobile platforms. As well, the three courses provided look nearly identical graphically, despite the varying settings indicated by their names. More lamentable though--and this is my biggest complaint--is the double-tap swing system I described at length, earlier. It only penalizes the player with an erratic shot if the second tap is ill-timed in the vicinity of maximum swing strength. Several golf titles I've enjoyed on other mobile platforms feature a more in-depth three-tap system where shot accuracy is not tied to swing strength. I find Par 72 Golf's more basic swing system leaves me feeling far more removed from the experience of swinging the club and striking the ball.
With a more engaging control system and a bit more graphical variation, the game would represent a greater value. That said, this is presently the only simulation style golf game available through the App Store, and anyone who has been holding out for such a title might want to take a swing.