I’ve heard golf referred to as the best way to ruin a good walk. Not true. It’s the best way to send a body to an early grave via coronary brought on by massive stress and frustration. I’ve seen professional golfers chuck a three-iron into a tree after shanking a shot off the tee—and this is a sport people find relaxing?
Here’s the good news: If you can draw a straight line and do so quickly, you’re three-quarters of the way towards being a True Swing Golf master. No heart attacks.
After customizing your golfer right down to his celebration and frustration style, it’s time to play. TSG allows the player to run through practice rounds or go into tournaments, earn money and advance through different levels of play. With those big checks, a golfer can go buy new clothes and new equipment—fun stuff.
TSG is part of the Touch! Generations line of games—games with a forgiving learning curve that a non-gamer can pick up and enjoy, and it lives up to that promise. The game will select the optimal club for every shot, though the player can choose to change that. Aside from a few other minor possible alterations to the swing (spin, direction, target, etc.) the player really has nothing to do but manipulate the golf club using the stylus by drawing the club back and quickly running a straight line through the ball. After a half-dozen swings even a non-gamer will be sending tee shots 210 yards, straight and true down the fairway. There are a plethora of sand traps littered about every hole, but sand saves are very forgiving. Putting is more of a challenge; every green is full of hills and valleys, and some long putts break like a putt-putt hole without the windmill.
Eventually courses become more difficult. Wind becomes more of a factor, holes are longer with less fairway to work with, trees spring up everywhere and water hazards become more and more widespread. By this time, golfers have mastered spins, draws, fades and adjusting for wind and hazards to circumvent all of these obstacles.
The graphics are nothing special; they’re what you’d expect to see on the DS. The fairway and rough are distinguishable only by a difference in color. The golfer looks good, and his celebrations (or ritual frustration dances) are great; but they become repetitive awfully fast. Sound is good, but very limited. After a while you’ll begin to wonder if the crowd has anything other than three generic sounds. For a title stocked with options, the presentation values are only average.
A standout feature in TSG is its replay value. You can save at any time and pick it up again later. Rookie gamers can pick it up and be reasonably competent in ten minutes, and it’s still a good time a month down the road. Customization of your golfer and the challenge of winning tournaments while advancing into more prestigious (and more difficult) tours really give this game legs. To top it off, it’s even got single-card multiplayer. Perhaps there isn’t a lot of smack-talk to be had on the links, but crushing your opponents in any game has no end of appeal.
Gamers (or non-gamers, for that matter) who dislike golf probably won’t enjoy True Swing Golf. It’s…golf, and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, for the rest of us, TSG is a tidy little game that’s easy to pick up and will find its way into your DS months down the road.