Tiger Woods’s 2008 US Open victory was made all the more remarkable when, two days later, he revealed that he’d been playing with a torn ligament in his left knee. Such a triumph under adversity led to the highly decorated golfer declaring the victory to be his, "greatest ever championship.”
If he could claim success on the crippled N-Gage service, it would be a considerable achievement too.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour tees off well by bucking the trend of recent N-Gage games (EA’s in particular) - it’s not a lazy Java port. While it obviously shares a game engine with the 2009 mobile version, Tiger on the N-Gage sports 3D graphics and three times as many courses (six in total).
It does possess the same simplified swing-mechanic though. Unlike the vast majority of mobile golf games, there’s virtually no skill required to hit the ball. All you need to do to give the ball a thwack is hold the ‘okay’ button until the power gauge reaches the level you want, then release.
Even if you realise mid-air that you’re heading for disaster, there’s the chance of a reprieve thanks to a reality-defying after touch facility. Hold any direction while the ball’s in flight and a dose of spin will be applied.
All this amounts to the most accessible golf game you’re ever likely to play. With timing and club selection taken care of for you, all that remains is for you to judge the wind strength and direction and decide where to aim your shot.
Once on the green it’s a similar system for putting, although you now have to contend with the undulating dips and peaks of the putting green. This is highlighted by a helpful grid, which indicates which way the ball will roll.
It should be noted that it’s quite possible to turn the shot-indicator off, which leaves you to rely on visual cues from your chosen golfer to judge your power. While this works reasonably well out on the fairway, it’s absolutely useless when you hit the putting green, with no indication of when you should be releasing the button.
Away from single player tournament mode, it’s a shame to see that no online mode has been included. Considering that EA has attempted to make a bespoke N-Gage experience, some form of concession to the platform’s connective capabilities might have been expected.
Overall, while it's an accomplished game Tiger Woods PGA Tour is perhaps too threadbare an experience to be an essential purchase. It simplifies golf a little too much, and being able to pull off a consistently accurate shot each and every time takes much of the tension out of a large portion of the game. As a result, it’s arguably less fun than the mobile alternatives.
On N-Gage, though, there is no longer an alternative. Pro Series Golf was an excellent representation of golf on the platform and, in truth, was superior to EA’s effort in virtually every way. Now that this has been removed from the service, Tiger Woods PGA Tour is the only choice for golfing fans.
An admirable effort given the circumstances, then, but it’s far from being Tiger’s best effort.