Hands on with Let's Golf

Polishing the balls before play

Hands on with Let's Golf
| Let's Golf

For a game as solitary and focused on individual performance as golf, it sure draws a crowd. After all, who doesn't want to watch a golfer explode in fury when his or her birdie aspirations dissolve into a desperate attempt to wrap a hole up with a double bogey.

Fortunately, there's likely to be little of that sort of frustration found with Let's Golf thanks to an easy-going style and intuitive controls. We went hands-on with the game during a meeting with Gameloft late last week and found out just how easy it is playing this colourful game.

Solo play is the focus, letting you play rounds at your leisure to improve your character's skills. There's also ad-hoc multiplayer support, which allows you to compete via local wireless connection with a friend who has his own iPhone/iPod touch and copy of the game.

Before you can even take a swing, you have to adjust your shot. Sliding a finger across the course allows you to change the direction of your shot, adjusting where the ball will potentially land. You can change clubs using icons sitting in the lower-left corner.

Swinging is a matter of tapping the screen to start, set, and stop a half-circle power meter. There's some delay when tapping the screen and the meter responding, so precision depends on deciphering the exact timing.

Once it's in the air, flicking an icon of the ball in the lower-left lets you place spin on it. Putting differs slightly, placing a horizontal gauge across the bottom of the screen to set the power of your putt.

It's an simple system, inherited from countless other golfing games; as such, Let's Golf feels natural and easy to play. Thankfully, the game doesn't mess with motion controls and trying to force tips and tilts of the handset into shots.

Four courses will be available with the game's initial launch set in the United States, England, Fiji, and Scotland.

Naturally, the scenery varies among courses from the sandy shores of Fiji and the castles of Scotland. The game is visually quite vivid, taking a stylised approach with colourful levels and exaggerated characters.

Each of the four characters - Vincent, Elena, Chris, and Jack - can be customised as you complete games, personalising their individual look with new clothes and accessories.

Additionally, four attributes can be upgraded to improve their performance on the green. Each of the characters possesses a different level of proficiency, so while Chris excels at putting, Jack has greater power behind his shots.

The ability to develop characters should give Let's Golf a depth absent in iPhone golf games up to this point. Being able to pick it up and hit the links for a few minutes is important, but bringing some dimension with customisable elements ensures greater value and more incentive to keep playing weeks after release.

Look for it to launch on the App Store some time next week, at which point we'll have a final review.