Golf is a peculiar pastime when you think about it. What other sport meticulously creates a perfect replica of nature’s habitats, complete with lakes, woods, and sandbanks, and then charges people insane amounts to knock a little white ball around it?
To most of us, it’s this inordinate amount of money, along with all the country club membership nonsense you have to endure, which puts people off golf in the first place. With such a low barrier to entry by comparison, you might think that a game like Let’s Golf! 3 would be the perfect solution. You’d be wrong.
Not that the actual golfing itself is all that bad. Left and right on the D-pad controls direction, while up and down switches between clubs. The most appropriate club is usually selected for you by default, so you only really need to trade up to a driver on the odd occasion.
The rest is just as straightforward. Press Triangle to zoom in and get an idea of where the ball will land, and press X to start your swing. Everything from the guiding arc to the power gauges is as functional and enjoyable as in any other golf game dating back to PGA World Tour on the Sega Mega Drive. Where Let's Golf! 3 does differ from its gaming ancestors, however, is in the inclusion of a ball spin mechanic, which allows you to add spin to your shot by swiping the screen or right touchpad.
The courses are colourful and well groomed, while the ability to customise your character with stat-boosting clothes and clubs, as well as special balls, lends an RPG-esque feel to proceedings. There’s also the option to pit your customised golfer against others in multiplayer (with all the usual bumbling irritations that surround the Gameloft Live service).Green fees But while the golfing experience itself may be entertaining - if a little set in its old ways - it's the 21st century addition to the game that's the real hazard.
Let’s Golf! 3 drags the series kicking and screaming into the freemium fold. You get 15 Energy Points upon starting the game, and every hole you play consumes one of these Energy Points. They regenerate at the ludicrously slow rate of one every hour: an issue we'd have hoped Gameloft would have addressed given the less-than-positive response to the game's original iOS release.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, you have to reach par on a hole to unlock the next one. A 'failed' hole will still cost you an Energy Point, bringing you one step closer to forking out for the privilege of playing.
Still, freemium games are not categorically a horror. Many are decent, successful games, but only the most ill-conceived and annoying ones actually limit you from playing the game itself. In this way, then, Let’s Golf! 3 is about as accessible and welcoming as that stuffy, haughty country club.