We have come such a long way from Steve’s iPhone SDK announcement in late 2007. Even before the official SDK was released, developers were writing simple games. Simple games evolved in to pick up and play examples of gaming perfection like Flight Control [App Store] and Scoops [App Store]. Ambitious developers have even released some great 3D games. But last weekend, Gameloft’s Let’s Golf [App Store] raised the bar to a whole new level in providing what can best be described as a remarkably console-like 3D gaming experience at the very reasonable price of $5.99.

Let’s Golf features several game play modes, briefly outlined in our first impressions review. The first of which is Instant Play, which is pretty cut and dry. Upon selecting your golfer, you’re thrown into a random selection of three holes--Complete them all, hopefully under par, and you’re done.

After breezing through the included tutorial and getting a handle for the controls, most players will probably want to skip the Instant Play mode and head straight on over to Tournament mode to tee off against several AI golfers for fame, fortune, and most importantly…unlockable clothing and accessories!

In your first tournament, you only have access to two golf courses in easy mode with 1-9 hole, 10-18 hole, 1-18 hole, or 9 hole shuffle options. As you win trophies, more courses are unlocked, as well as additional difficulty levels, items, and golfers. While Let’s Golf only features four available golfers, they can each be customized with clothing, headwear, and golf balls. These seem to be randomly rewarded, as I won a dress for Elena while playing as Vincent.

Character attributes are measured across four different statistics: power, accuracy, recovery, and putting. Equipping different unlocked items provides an opportunity to increase these stats. For instance, the “school girl suit” provides +1 to recovery, making it easier to accurately hit the ball in the rough. Another noteworthy bonus of unlocking these perks is: any benefits gained from equipped items are also present while playing in Instant Play, Free Hole and multiplayer modes. The final single player game mode is Free Hole, where you can play on any of the four courses and any hole set by yourself, on any difficulty

Let’s Golf would be an excellent game with just these play modes, but Gameloft takes it one step further and includes not one, but two ways to challenge another player to a round of golf. In Hot Seat both golfers play using one device, passing it back and forth, depending on whose turn it is. If you find another person who also owns Let’s Golf, you can challenge them to a local WiFi match where each player uses their own device to compete. In my testing, both multiplayer methods worked great. Playing over local WiFi has a small amount of lag, but nothing that would ever be noticeable unless you have both screens side by side.

Let’s Golf has two available control methods: Classic and Advanced. Classic mode plays like most golfing games where you press a button to start your swing, again to select your power, and a third time to select your accuracy. Classic controls also provide an indicator on the swing power selector to show how strong your swing should be to end up in the estimated landing grid. By moving this grid around, different clubs are automatically selected depending on the distance. Also like most golf games, the grid indicates the elevation of the terrain using a red to blue gradient, and the incline using small dots that move across the grid, downhill. While putting in Classic mode, you choose what direction your character is facing and the strength of your putt. Even though the game gives you an estimate of how hard you need to hit the ball on the green, putting on an incline or from a long way away can still be pretty challenging.

In Advanced mode, while clubs are still automatically chosen, you are given no indicator for how strong your shot should be. Instead of the three-click method, you move your finger in a semi-circular pattern to swing. While some players may prefer this control method, I didn’t really feel it added to the difficulty of the long game at all and, instead, artificially inflated the difficulty of the short game. While classic controls help you determine the strength of your swing, it doesn’t take into account the wind, and shots that are perfectly lined up rarely land dead center in your targeting grid. Putting in advanced mode, however, is truly something else. Without any real idea of how hard you need to tap the ball, getting it in the hole once you’re on the green in advanced mode can be extremely brutal.

With both control methods, you can add English to the ball after the ball is in the air by dragging your finger across a representation of the ball that appears in the lower left corner of the screen. If there's one thing I'd really like Gameloft to tweak, it would be how this works. There's only one speed that you can spin the ball, and it never really seems to be enough to make that big of a difference.

Let’s Golf plays remarkably similar to the Sony PSP’s Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee and does a great job in duplicating all the fun things about the Hot Shots series. The graphics are superb for an iPhone game and the only noticeable frame rate dips are minor and only seem to occur when the camera pans out quickly. One complaint I have with the title is the fact that the indicators used to swing your club are tied to the frame rate of the 3D components of the game. Small frame rate hiccups have caused me to miss a few perfect shots as the power gauge stuttered for a tiny fraction of a second.

Another negative is the fact that there’s no option to listen to your own music while playing (and the included track gets somewhat repetitive). Let’s Golf also doesn’t respect the state of the ring/vibrate switch on the iPhone, playing all music and sound effects regardless. Also, I would love a way to see replays, and ideally somehow save replays to show unbelievable shots to friends, later.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Gameloft provides a very complete golfing experience for the iPhone in Let’s Golf at a fraction of the price you would expect to pay for an identical game on a "real console". Our forums have been going wild with praise for the game, and as of this writing, Let’s Golf is sitting at a comfortable 4.5 stars in the App Store.  If you liked the Hot Shots series, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not picking up this game.  Something to keep in mind though is the fact Let’s Golf is an arcade style sports game, so if ultra-realism is your thing, you might want to hold off to see what Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09 has to offer.

Game Details
Name: Let's Golf (v1.0.7) Price: $5.99 [Buy]
Developer: GameLoft Size: 77.9 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Let's Golf is an iPhone game that can stand up against almost any console golf game, a hard claim to make for many other titles. 63 holes combined with multiple tournaments, unlockables, and multiplayer make for an great value at only $5.99.

This review was written by Eli Hodapp, a guest contributor at TouchArcade.

TouchArcade Rating

  • mavis

    Great review! It sums up my exact feelings about this game. Seriously, to the letter. Creepy.

  • mavis

    Great review! It sums up my exact feelings about this game. Seriously, to the letter. Creepy.

  • rich_952000

    I find the "advanced" control option way more precise and manageable. The first game I played with this control method I kept trying to swipe fast, which works, but.......on your backswing you can go at a comfortable speed giving you maximal control, then take your upswing as fast as you can. Something I'm sureceveryone else already knows, but I'm slower at picking these things up, I guess.

    One thing I'd like to see is progressive top and back spin. As it is now you simply swipe once and that's it, one level. I'm used to TW I guess.

    All-in-all, I'm really pleased and I am convinced Gameloft is trying to enslave me in financial debt, but I don't mind keep making games and take all my iTunes $$$$ :D

  • rich_952000

    I find the "advanced" control option way more precise and manageable. The first game I played with this control method I kept trying to swipe fast, which works, but.......on your backswing you can go at a comfortable speed giving you maximal control, then take your upswing as fast as you can. Something I'm sureceveryone else already knows, but I'm slower at picking these things up, I guess.

    One thing I'd like to see is progressive top and back spin. As it is now you simply swipe once and that's it, one level. I'm used to TW I guess.

    All-in-all, I'm really pleased and I am convinced Gameloft is trying to enslave me in financial debt, but I don't mind keep making games and take all my iTunes $$$$ :D

  • mrholder

    Great review, Eli. From the screenshots I've seen of Tiger Woods, Let's Golf makes it look terrible. This game looks very detailed in the background scenery. I'm sure Tiger Woods golf must be in it's infancy of development. They have an app to gun down now.

  • mrholder

    Great review, Eli. From the screenshots I've seen of Tiger Woods, Let's Golf makes it look terrible. This game looks very detailed in the background scenery. I'm sure Tiger Woods golf must be in it's infancy of development. They have an app to gun down now.

  • dunkee

    I don't like golf. Will I like this game?

  • dunkee

    I don't like golf. Will I like this game?

  • SalsaMD

    @mrholder

    Note, per Craig Law, the posted screen shots of Tiger Woods PGA were not final renders, but rather raw development shots.

  • SalsaMD

    @mrholder

    Note, per Craig Law, the posted screen shots of Tiger Woods PGA were not final renders, but rather raw development shots.

  • untraceable

    neo turf master is 10,000 times more better !! gameloft release only crappy toilet games this copycat team try to create good game with attractive graphic but they have no talent.

  • untraceable

    neo turf master is 10,000 times more better !! gameloft release only crappy toilet games this copycat team try to create good game with attractive graphic but they have no talent.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Eli, congrats to your detailed reviews!
    You are a great addition to the TA website.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    Eli, congrats to your detailed reviews!
    You are a great addition to the TA website.

  • Dave

    Love your site, but there is an rrror in your review.

    In the advanced mode there absolutely is a way to see how hard your shot should be. It is a blue triangle. I actually think that the advanced mode is easier...especially for putting because of you don't like your "backswing" you can abort and try again.

    Also in the classic mode the swing meter starts immediately upon touching the green dot. At times when you have a short chip, this causes you to be too quickly beyond the desired distance through no real fault of your own. I hope Gameloft reads these forum as that is a pain and an easy thing to fix.

  • Dave

    Love your site, but there is an rrror in your review.

    In the advanced mode there absolutely is a way to see how hard your shot should be. It is a blue triangle. I actually think that the advanced mode is easier...especially for putting because of you don't like your "backswing" you can abort and try again.

    Also in the classic mode the swing meter starts immediately upon touching the green dot. At times when you have a short chip, this causes you to be too quickly beyond the desired distance through no real fault of your own. I hope Gameloft reads these forum as that is a pain and an easy thing to fix.

  • Redstar

    As far as spin goes, when I played the game there is more than one speed. It just depends on wether you flick the ball or drag it slowly.

    While I agree with the opinion that even at the fastest speed it still doesn't effect the spin upon landing all that much.

    I would also like to have them allow the spin control to be in between the four available directions.

  • Redstar

    As far as spin goes, when I played the game there is more than one speed. It just depends on wether you flick the ball or drag it slowly.

    While I agree with the opinion that even at the fastest speed it still doesn't effect the spin upon landing all that much.

    I would also like to have them allow the spin control to be in between the four available directions.

  • SalsaMD

    @untraceable

    Even if one subscribes to the questionable merit of your argument, one has to say that Gameloft has initiative. The idevice masses have long awaited a fun, rich golf game that exploits the power and feature sets of the device, and Gameloft has delivered. No doubt there are better golf games on other platforms, but none of those developers have yet to step up to the idevice plate.

  • SalsaMD

    @untraceable

    Even if one subscribes to the questionable merit of your argument, one has to say that Gameloft has initiative. The idevice masses have long awaited a fun, rich golf game that exploits the power and feature sets of the device, and Gameloft has delivered. No doubt there are better golf games on other platforms, but none of those developers have yet to step up to the idevice plate.

  • f e a r l e s s

    I have most of the Hot Shots titles and this I can take in my pocket! Sweet!

  • f e a r l e s s

    I have most of the Hot Shots titles and this I can take in my pocket! Sweet!

  • mike

    Seriously, I was waiting so long for EA to come out with TIger Woods... now I got this one and am looooooooving it.

    I've already seen screenshots of TW, and it looks like dogcrap.

    EA has been shown the door by an tiny Gameloft, and I'm loving it. Great work.

  • mike

    Seriously, I was waiting so long for EA to come out with TIger Woods... now I got this one and am looooooooving it.

    I've already seen screenshots of TW, and it looks like dogcrap.

    EA has been shown the door by an tiny Gameloft, and I'm loving it. Great work.

  • Steve

    This game is a lot of fun!

    Can anyone explain the "spin" to me: which way is which -- it is not clear. That is, to put backspin is it spin up or down?

    Also, I know it is part of this series, but I'd love to be able to keep the sound fx but lose the annoying speech of your players. But it's a minor thing, and the game is the best golf title so far for the platform.

  • Steve

    This game is a lot of fun!

    Can anyone explain the "spin" to me: which way is which -- it is not clear. That is, to put backspin is it spin up or down?

    Also, I know it is part of this series, but I'd love to be able to keep the sound fx but lose the annoying speech of your players. But it's a minor thing, and the game is the best golf title so far for the platform.

  • fastlanestranger

    @untraceable

    Wow! Thanks for the info! Your feedback seemed...well...it was just so well put I was almost brought to tears. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!!!

    Seriously though, the game looks great and the review made me decide to pick it up...thank for the info, guys. I'm downloading as I type.

  • fastlanestranger

    @untraceable

    Wow! Thanks for the info! Your feedback seemed...well...it was just so well put I was almost brought to tears. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!!!

    Seriously though, the game looks great and the review made me decide to pick it up...thank for the info, guys. I'm downloading as I type.

  • Mike Van Gorkom

    Easter Egg: Shake the phone at any time while golfing and your golfer will start whistling!

    Great review, great game, a steal at the price, easily worth at least $10 if not more.

  • Mike Van Gorkom

    Easter Egg: Shake the phone at any time while golfing and your golfer will start whistling!

    Great review, great game, a steal at the price, easily worth at least $10 if not more.

  • Alan

    Very happy with this purchase, although the game is far from perfect. I don't understand why I am relegated to a 5 or 7 iron when a 6 iron would be perfect.

    It would also be helpful to have some kind of guide in the tutorial as to what the full distance is for each club, including the putter, for each of the golfers.

    The graphics are wonderful.

    One odd thing does put me off; every once in a while, I'm told "Great shot!" and the next thing you know, I'm in the water. That's just plain silly.

    Worth the purchase price. EA has their work cut out for them. Now, if only Myst would make it to the App store.... :)

  • Alan

    Very happy with this purchase, although the game is far from perfect. I don't understand why I am relegated to a 5 or 7 iron when a 6 iron would be perfect.

    It would also be helpful to have some kind of guide in the tutorial as to what the full distance is for each club, including the putter, for each of the golfers.

    The graphics are wonderful.

    One odd thing does put me off; every once in a while, I'm told "Great shot!" and the next thing you know, I'm in the water. That's just plain silly.

    Worth the purchase price. EA has their work cut out for them. Now, if only Myst would make it to the App store.... :)

  • http://nodpad.com No DPad

    As Alan said above, landing in the water after being told "Great Shot!" isn't that great. This was about the only problem I had with the game. All around, this game is well designed and fun. There's just so much to do, and it puts up a good challenge. It's no doubt worth the $5.99.

  • http://nodpad.com No DPad

    As Alan said above, landing in the water after being told "Great Shot!" isn't that great. This was about the only problem I had with the game. All around, this game is well designed and fun. There's just so much to do, and it puts up a good challenge. It's no doubt worth the $5.99.

  • Rustyjaw

    When the review says "Something to keep in mind though is the fact Let’s Golf is an arcade style sports game, so if ultra-realism is your thing, you might want to hold off to see what Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09 has to offer." Is the suggestion that the actual golf physics are arcade-like and not realistic, or is it about the look of the game?

    I ask mostly because the game is repeatedly compared to Hot Shots, which is cartoonish looking, but has a very advanced physics engine, and in advanced levels is a challenging game. IMO the game play in Hot Shots is more realistic than the Tiger Woods games.

  • Rustyjaw

    When the review says "Something to keep in mind though is the fact Let’s Golf is an arcade style sports game, so if ultra-realism is your thing, you might want to hold off to see what Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09 has to offer." Is the suggestion that the actual golf physics are arcade-like and not realistic, or is it about the look of the game?

    I ask mostly because the game is repeatedly compared to Hot Shots, which is cartoonish looking, but has a very advanced physics engine, and in advanced levels is a challenging game. IMO the game play in Hot Shots is more realistic than the Tiger Woods games.

  • Jimbo

    Its a shame this is locked to firmware 2.1.1, which i refuse to update to just for this game as my first attempt bricked my itouch, and there are lots of complaints about Wifi problems with that firmware.

  • Jimbo

    Its a shame this is locked to firmware 2.1.1, which i refuse to update to just for this game as my first attempt bricked my itouch, and there are lots of complaints about Wifi problems with that firmware.

  • DugKnight

    Anybody else having Wifi issues trying to connect with friends in Let's Golf? Do you have to be on the same wireless network? I couldn't find any help/support on gameloft.com to help me troubleshoot. I can host a game, but when he tries to join, he can't see my game. Thanks.

  • DugKnight

    Anybody else having Wifi issues trying to connect with friends in Let's Golf? Do you have to be on the same wireless network? I couldn't find any help/support on gameloft.com to help me troubleshoot. I can host a game, but when he tries to join, he can't see my game. Thanks.

  • DugKnight

    Nevermind, tried on another wireless network without a proxy server and it worked. I just need to go through the proxy logs and figure out how to configure it so it works. Thanks.

  • DugKnight

    Nevermind, tried on another wireless network without a proxy server and it worked. I just need to go through the proxy logs and figure out how to configure it so it works. Thanks.

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