The Let’s Golf series is no stranger on TouchArcade. We enjoyed Gameloft’s initial outing on iOS, and fell in love with the eventual sequel. Gameloft looked to continue this tradition of being the premier iOS arcade-style golf experience with Let’s Golf 3 [Free] while dabbling with the freemium model for the first time in the series.

The good news is that, at times, Let’s Golf 3 does manage to successfully marry a freemium structure with classic Let’s Golf gameplay. In addition, Gameloft manages to expand on everything we loved about the previous two titles and provide a ton of content to work towards. The bad news is that the framerate is extremely erratic and can become so choppy that it actually interrupts the gameplay and causes miscues.

For those of you that have played Let’s Golf 2, Let’s Golf 3 should look rather familiar. Again, there are 108 holes to play through spanning six visually gorgeous regions, and a wide variety of clothing and props for your character to wear, most of which change your golf attributes in some form. In addition, the classic Let’s Golf gameplay remains intact, with very little change to the core game mechanics. If you enjoyed playing through the previous games in the series, you’ll most likely enjoy Let’s Golf 3, as it’s essentially more of what made the previous games great.

However, there are some major differences with this sequel, the most significant being the removal of set characters to choose from while playing. Instead, players are taken through a character creation screen upon launching the game for the first time. Let’s Golf 3 also incorporates an experiencing/leveling system for character progression, with experience being primarily earned by playing through holes. Also missing are the ‘super powers’ that were prevalent in Let’s Golf 2, although many of them return as disposable special golf balls that can be purchased in the freemium market.

For many fans of the series, the decision to move to a freemium model will most likely be the deciding factor as to whether they even bother playing Let’s Golf 3. While I think that overall Let’s Golf 3 does a decent job of implementing the freemium model, the fact remains that it’s still a freemium game and you’ll quickly get to a point where your choices are to wait or pay. Freemium is implemented with the ‘Energy’ currency, which is used every time you play a hole of golf. Energy can either be passively earned once an hour, or can be purchased with in-game ‘Cash’ (which in turn can be earned by playing well or bought with actual money).

While I think that being able to earn cash (and thus, energy) by playing well is a good gameplay mechanic, the fact that you can only passively earn one unit of energy per hour is ridiculous. In other words, if you’re not that good at the game, you’re going to be punished rather harshly by either having to wait a long time for energy or shell out money to play.  Meanwhile, someone that’s better at the game might be able to play significantly longer (and level up faster) by earning more cash in-game and converting it to energy. I personally had no problem scoring birdies and earning enough cash and energy to continually play, but I just think that the energy cool down is way too long for most gamers. It’s definitely going to alienate a lot of players who simply don't have any in-game cash and aren't going to pay or wait an hour to play one hole.

Despite my concerns above, I’d be willing to overlook the freemium system if the rest of the game was top notch. Unfortunately, the framerate certainly prevents Let’s Golf 3 from reaching that point. Basically, the game will randomly stutter during both cutscenes and gameplay. It even occurs during the swing mechanic, which can in turn significantly impact play. Force quitting apps and hard restarting your iOS device does alleviate the problem, but eventually it comes back. Even more bizarre is the fact that this framerate issue is worse on the iPad 2 than the iPhone 4. Considering that each hole of golf costs precious energy to play, the fact the stuttering framerate can ruin a score becomes even more significant.

Let’s Golf 3 is an incredibly frustrating game to play. I still enjoy the core gameplay, and I absolutely love the custom characters and huge variety of things to buy for my character. However, the freemium mechanics and poor framerate just keep interrupting the experience that I know it can provide.  While I’m certain that the stuttering will eventually be fixed, it’s obvious that its freemium underpinnings are here to stay. It's certainly become a topic of discussion on our forums. Whether or not that model makes the game worth investing time and effort into is a question that will have to be answered by each individual player.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • Anonymous

    Great review Eric, this game isn't a great example of good "freemium" implementation. Also, I really hope they patch the framerate issues, I doubt I'll return to it until then.

  • Anonymous

    Great review Eric, this game isn't a great example of good "freemium" implementation. Also, I really hope they patch the framerate issues, I doubt I'll return to it until then.

  • Jimmö

    Gaaah, stupid Gameloft! Lets Golf 1 & 2 is not available in the Swedish appstore anymore.... Can't find it! Anyone else noticed this in other countries? I downloaded this and think it's great EXCEPT the worthless wait for energy... Since there is no way to just buy the whole Lets Golf 3 I thought I should buy the second but Gameloft solved that by removing it from the appstore....?

    • Diab

      Just did a UK store search, only let's golf 3 is there. Sneaky...

      • Gord Little

        Same in Canada...

      • kim b

        same in France.
        thanks gameloft, i won't buy your games anymore...

  • Wolterjanstra

    I find it hard to get down with the whole IAP thing. It’s
    like being with a prostitute who charges you for every additional position: you
    just don’t feel the love.

  • Wolterjanstra

    I find it hard to get down with the whole IAP thing. It’s
    like being with a prostitute who charges you for every additional position: you
    just don’t feel the love.

  • http://www.aefing.com A.X. Ian

    Load time is too long. The game is obscenely large (700mb), and it feels like a chore to play. Too much gratuitous animation and sound effects. I wouldn't recommend it, even for free.

  • poutini

    I'm glad TA's not giving Gameloft a free ride. For a company with such clout on the App Store, they really need to step it up.

  • Anonymous

    Freemium is good if done right, but this game shows that Gameloft is completely incompetent when it comes to freemium gaming. Gameloft has absolutely no idea what they're doing, and whoever was in charge of this project should be let go from the company in shame.

  • Cjmartino

    This looks really good...however the "energy" model for freemium games feels like the laziest way to implement your boundaries.  

  • kim b

    how to ruin a decent game trying to make money :/
    "let's golf" were the only gameloft games is actually liked...

  • Ralph

    Great review. For fun, i fired up 2 and the character models are now 100% better, I'd forgotten how bad they were.

    For me, the game breaker is the stuttering during a swing. Since I have to 'pay' for a round either by waiting or with $, this is too frustrating. I played let's golf 2 a lot, but I won't be able to get into it the same way this version because of the inflated prices, and start/stop game play that the freemium model they chose enforces.

    Did they also cap the energy you can get by waiting at 5, or was that a coincidence? I thought it was at 5 with 00:00 remaining this pruning, but I could be mistaken. If they did cap it, that makes most of the challenges unplayable unless you spend $.

    Either way, they got too greedy, and seem to be aiming to get more money from me instead of getting a broader base. I'll play occasionally, but I feel they made a big mistake with their business model here.

    • Ralphtrickey

      Darn, I was right. It looks like energy caps at 5 free from waiting, so most challenges and MP are unplayable without real $ since they take at least 9 energy, one per hole, unless I'm missing something. Too rich for my blood.

    • Ralphtrickey

      Darn, I was right. It looks like energy caps at 5 free from waiting, so most challenges and MP are unplayable without real $ since they take at least 9 energy, one per hole, unless I'm missing something. Too rich for my blood.

      • Nickhazell

        pretty much, but what thing is you can get free energy on top of the 5 through logging in each day, so the 9 holes are doable without spending cash, if you wait the 3 days it takes to restore "5 hrs" energy

    • Ralphtrickey

      Darn, I was right. It looks like energy caps at 5 free from waiting, so most challenges and MP are unplayable without real $ since they take at least 9 energy, one per hole, unless I'm missing something. Too rich for my blood.

    • Ralphtrickey

      Darn, I was right. It looks like energy caps at 5 free from waiting, so most challenges and MP are unplayable without real $ since they take at least 9 energy, one per hole, unless I'm missing something. Too rich for my blood.

  • MicroByte

    I think most's people sentiment is that it's a decent game, but the IAP method for energy is ridiculous.  I don't mind being able to buy a game and then decide what additional items or features I feel like paying for, but implementing this in the core of the game is a huge detriment to this game.

    I'm "voting" with my dollars and appreciate that the entry fee is $0.  However, I also enjoy playing my games when, where and for for as long as I want to so will be passing on this.

    Here's hoping that this doesn't become the norm for Gameloft and that they see this as a failed experiment.

  • Dick Wisdom

    This is a terrible review. Why are you guys going so easy on Gameloft? The freemium aspects of this game are thoroughly reprehensible. Whether the EPs are easy to earn or not, they are undeniably a scam to get you to give Gameloft money. What kind of game makes you pay to play like this? A shitty one. It's not even a proper golf game: this is the first golf game I've ever played in which you can't even play a round of goddamn golf. It's been Angry Birds-d so each hole is a level for exactly one reason: scam more money out of you. Let's Golf! 3 absolutely does not marry freemium with golf successfully.

    Even the iTunes reviews agree. I hope you guys are getting some really sweet shit from Gameloft to go this easy on them. 

  • colcourtney

    I think the reviewers on this website should read the reviews on iTunes. IAP's is not the way to go for ios games.

  • Tino

    Wow, they removed Lets Golf 2 from the appstore.  I would much rather buy that at a flat rate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-Falconer/100000873771898 Rick Falconer

    This freemium model for Lets Golf 3 is so poorly implemented, that you don't even want to play. You can play one hole of golf every hour. Not round. Gameloft nickel & dimes you through every aspect of this game. If you don't like it, guess what? TOO BAD; because Gameloft has removed their previous Let's Golf titles from the app store (which are not pay to play). 

    Don't get me wrong; I LOVED Lets Golf 1 & 2. I have tons of other titles that I play quite often. But it seems like Gameloft is scamming gamers out of their money, when they really don't have to. Putting your customers backs against the wall by pretty much forcing us to eventually give you more money than a non-freemium Let's Golf game would be worth is shameful & in poor taste.

    Gameloft are getting too big for their britches.

  • Craig H

    Probably the most fun game on my ipod.  It's a shame they punish it's customers with this stupid freemium crap.  I've never heard of freemium before.  I'm not sure why free is even in it.  There's not much free about it when you can't play the dang game.

  • http://mic-beast.com/SinistaBeatz/ Sinista

    scam. It just literally stole my 100 points on China accomplishment and keeps taking away points and money that I earned then cheats so I am forced to have to either wait or buy energy...not worth it. I'm deleting this piece of shit it's not fun anymore. sick of having to replay levels to get accomplishments they take away

  • Coach Armstrong

    Does anyone know what the L.V. is and how to get more?  I'm stuck at 14 and need 20 to unlock the next course.

  • Anonymous

    Play reasonably well set date/ clock back a few weeks and set it +5 hours after you run out of EP. Then once on egypt hole 8 is easy to get an eagle if you have the red power driver club. Now go on and buy the robot caddy from the market cuz he'll give you double EP. From there just keep playing hole 8 over and over... in 30 mins you make aroun 10-12 EP. Only play the 18 & 9 holes challenges for quick level up and once you reach level 40 go to options and erase & restart the game... you will keep everything you bought plus the cash from leveling up. Do it all over again after a week you will have around 200-300 gamecash bills without ever spending a dime on the game; you'll be able to buy anything you want!

  • Jocelyn Ong

    I do the same thing as danjimaru to play the game as much as I want except I use hole 12 in Fiji...are you sure you keep everything you've bought? seems risky as I've bought everything you can get with coins now

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GNF6LKSU6DNGW3VGFFUMLAZ2DI nick redmon

    I need help with Lets Golf 3!!...So I been playing awhile and decided to reset my profile where you keep your items,coins, and things, but now I have (0 EP) and I can't get the count down to do anything! Just stays at 0 and I have know way of getting them...what do I do HELP!?

  • Ss6ss

    If you want energy to play the game, first off all you have 1000 coins to purchase the pet who will double the energy.
    No.2 you should reach the level milky way hole 17 and do some practice there . After playing this hole your must adjust/remember your shots . In my opinion this is the weekest hole. Now play there with your pet which will double energy points.countinious ly play here and earn double points .

  • Chris Kurisu

    Danjimaru, great tip. For me, it's hole 12 in Egypt, but I think each person needs to find their best one and play that.

    To everyone: as Danimaru says get good enough to hit a "perfect shot" most of the time, have the red club and the robot for double EP.

    For those that play hole 12 here's how I get an eagle every time. My (pathetic) skills are 34 20 12 and 5 (yours may differ, if so you might need to make subtle adjustments to my technique).

    Aim for the green. There is a small patch of the green just to the right of the palm trees. With max distance you can get there. While in flight spin the ball up to level two. Putting require minimal adjustments, if any. Eagle almost every time.

    As you get better zoom in on the green to aim your tee shot. Pick a specific spot and remember how to duplicate it. Watch the result and make slight adjustments from there.

    I use regular balls. Why pay for fancies when you can get an eagle for free? 

    @Jocelyn, I can confirm that I kept everything that I bought. I did have to go in and "use" them but they are there.

    @Ss6ss, I had this too, but moving the clock ahead fixed it for me.

  • http://twitter.com/rludym rludym

    hole 12 is a par 5??

    • Chris Kurisu

      Oops, my post had more than a few errors. Sorry. Here's the real scoop.

      I am now getting an Ace on a par 4 half of the time (85% of the time if I use an accurate ball).

      Hole 2 on Egypt. Aim for the green. Zoom in all the way. Extend your shot to the max (at least 253 yards). Make your aim so that only one red right arrow shows. Not the temporary arrow, a solid, single right arrow. And make sure you are barely activating that one red arrow since there are several small adjustments in aim that can activate that single right arrow. To check that, make sure that you are only one step away from no arrow. Do this by making a quick short tap to move the aim one click to the right. If the red arrow appears and then goes away then you are good. From there (no arrows) tap right 8 more times (his is a total of nine right taps from where the single red arrow appears). Make your shot strong and accurate with no ball spin at all. Hole-in-one every time that you hit a perfect shot. Gloriously duplicatable!

  • harindersikka

    IMPORTANT QUERY
    Sir, I have purchased points with real money quite a few time so that I can enjoy playing while traveling on long flights. Now, I see that these purchased points, while redeeming, are reduced by 50%. This is grossly unfair and unethical. Will the managers of this game please respond. Thanks, Harry Sikka

  • David Hume

    Anybody know how to use the shot ball?

Let's Golf! ® 3 Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5