When a game is as enjoyable as Let's Golf!, it's easy to make a great sequel.
Not only does this follow up have everything that made the first game so much fun to play, but it address nearly every complaints lodged against the original to become the top golf game on iPhone and iPod touch.
From changes to the power settings to ensure more accurate swings to the introduction of online gameplay, Let's Golf! 2 has nearly all the features you'd want out of a virtual golf game. Control alternatives and pass-around multiplayer are all that are missing from this highly recommended sequel.
What's remarkable about Let's Golf! 2 is the absence of any serious flaws. Any criticism comes as a result of missing features rather than problems with the design or technical shortcomings.
Hijinks on the links
Gameloft has wisely changed only what wasn't working in the original, making sure to keep intact the light-hearted, yet nonetheless challenging, gameplay.
Half a dozen new 18-hole courses are played across a variety of single-player modes, including a lengthy Career, tough objective-based Challenges, and one-off Free Hole mode. These are complemented by multiplayer, which supports Bluetooth, local wi-fi, and online play. Head-to-head match play and four-player stroke games are offered.
Although the lack of a hotseat multiplayer mode enabling you to pass around a single handset for competition among friends is unfortunate, there's far more value in Let's Golf! 2 than ever was in the original. Not only does online multiplayer ensure limitless replay value, but the single-player Career is better structured and the Challenge mode more engaging.
What matters most, though, is the actual gameplay, and here too Let's Golf! 2 excels. Accuracy issues have been cleared up to ensure that the power gauge appropriately represents the amount of force put behind a swing. In the first game, the ball had an annoying tendency to travel farther than expected - that's been fixed.
It's much easier to negotiate a good swing. The power gauge - operating on a three-tap scheme to start a swing, set the power of the shot, and then the accuracy - moves at a slower rate. This grants enough time to make those perfect shots without making the process too easy.
Of course, the lack of originality in the swing mechanic ought to be noted. Its familiarity is an asset, but alternatives seizing on the touchscreen would have been welcome.
The way the power gauge appears on the screen has been altered, though, to heighten the intensity of shots and encourage skill development. Instead of the power gauge being plastered on the screen at all times, it only appears once you've tapped the 'swing' button in the lower-right corner. This prevents you from staring at the computer's recommended power level.
Power to the player
While it's not a big deal during drives, it makes putting an actual challenge. Whereas before it was a cinch because you could easily identify how much power to use, you now have to estimate how much power is needed before the shot because the gauge doesn't appear with the recommended power level until after you start the swing.
One unnecessary change involves club selection. A rotating wheel situated in the lower-left corner expands when touched, letting you choose a club. It's cumbersome and should be replaced by the first game's straightforward system. To be fair, the game consistently sets you up with the ideal club for a given swing, so you rarely have to change clubs.
There's so much fun to be had with Let's Golf! 2 that quibbles over club selection and extra control options are just that: minor criticisms. On the whole, this is a sequel that addresses major flaws and introduces new features to create a superior game.