A couple of months back, I reviewed a unique little game called Trappy Tomb (Free), a game that had you running and jumping through a deadly tomb, grabbing treasure and trying to stay alive. Its most interesting feature was what it referred to as ‘mingleplayer’, where you would see the ghosts of tons of other players running along with you. It not only made score-chasing feel more exciting, it could also clue you into any cleverly hidden secrets someone had uncovered. Of course, there were also lessons to learn about the dangers of herd mentality. The developer of that game is back with his next title, MiniGolf Endless MMO (Free), and though it’s in a completely different genre, it retains a similar gimmick.
To steal a description from a clever member of the TouchArcade forums, MiniGolf Endless MMO is like Desert Golfing ($1.99) crossed with Nintendo’s classic Golf game on the NES. As in Desert Golfing, you’re trying to keep your scores as low as possible across an endless stream of holes. The mechanic for launching the ball is quite similar, as well. You simply drag your finger back for the desired direction and power, then let fly. Like Nintendo’s take on the sport, MiniGolf goes for an overhead view in contrast to Desert Golfing‘s side view. There are all the usual hazards, including rough areas, sand traps, and water, and the greens have varying elevations represented by arrows. You’ll also need to take wind speed and direction into account.
You won’t need to worry about club selection in spite of the varying terrains, however. Your shot behavior basically follows the context of where you’re shooting from. So, for example, if you’re in a bunker you’ll chip it out, but if you’re on the green you’ll putt. The arrow that indicates your ball’s direction will change color to advise you of the type of shot, in case you forget or aren’t exactly sure where your ball has settled. Things get a little fuzzy around the hole, but that’s likely owing as much to the simplicity of the graphics as it is anything else. While the game starts off easy enough, the holes get devilishly tricky after a while. Anyone who has ever chased a ball around a particularly frustrating mini-golf hole will get a chance to relive that joy here.
Of course, the quasi-multiplayer aspects from Trappy Tomb are present here, as well. You’ll be able to see everyone else’s shots, and like in the developer’s previous game, you’ll be able to glean some good advice from watching what others do. Since golf is a turn-based game, you’ll be able to keep a better eye on the shots of other players without worrying about getting yourself in trouble. After completing each hole, you’ll get to see how you stacked up versus other players on that particular hole, and your current overall tally compared to others.
The graphics and sound are as simple as they could be. All of the hazards are clear enough in spite of the game’s style, while the sound effects take a backseat to the game’s relaxing music. The soft piano tunes feel like they’re there to keep you from chucking your device on trickier holes. That’s a welcome feature even real golfers could use sometimes, I think. MiniGolf Endless MMO is free to play, but its monetization is a little more in-your-face than Trappy Tomb‘s. Basically, every hole or two, you’re forced to watch a video ad to continue. You can buy out of those ads with a single $0.99 IAP purchase, however. The ads are frequent and intrusive enough that I probably wouldn’t recommend this game unless you’re willing to buy that IAP.
While it has each of its feet planted on prior works, MiniGolf Endless MMO‘s interesting approach to sharing with other players gives it its own twist. I like that it keeps things simple enough for those not familiar with the sport without abandoning its basic features, like course hazards and needing to account for which way the wind is blowing. Given how many iOS golf games work from a side perspective, MiniGolf‘s overhead view is almost as refreshing as it is nostalgic. Since it’s free, you can give it a try and see if it fits you, but I’d certainly do it with an eye to picking up that IAP, because it really overdoes it with the ads otherwise.