There’s that great episode of The Simpsons where Bart is given Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge for Christmas instead of the Mortal Kombat knock-off Bonestorm. It ends with a digital Carvallo recommending a feather touch for the next shot; Bart selects power drive, landing the ball in the parking lot.
The point of this reminiscing is that Let’s Golf 2′s AI apparently took notes from Carvallo, punching a 35-yard chip into the muddy mountains of the backdrop with a driver. It’s not once either. In that situation, the various caricatures are firm believers in their tactics, repetitiously blasting away out of bounds until the max strokes have been reached.
It’s a shame too, because Let’s Golf 2 does everything else right. As a none-too-subtle knock-off of Sony’s Hot Shots franchise, it’s hard to get this wrong. The worldwide courses cover all the basic terrain, including the icebergs of Greenland and grassland of Africa. Chipper tunes dot the playtime, keeping in tone with the cartoonish yet pleasing visuals.
Gameloft’s prior golf outing, shockingly (or not) called Let’s Golf captured these mechanics with the same fluidity. It’s the classic three-click swing, the only variance being a special power given to each of the characters, built up by nailing great swings as the game type moves on. Touch controls, notorious for their inaccuracy when requiring precision, only falter here if you tap the screen post-shot, the spin control possibly taking the wrong direction prior to its landing.
Let’s Golf 2 is far more captivating than it’s limp predecessor, adding in a full career mode that drains your gaming stamina and battery. You level up, unlock equipment, and gain access to better stats. It’s satisfying, no surprise since it was in Hot Shots too, but hey, Hot Shots isn’t on your smart phone yet either. Other portable variations on the Hot Shots theme didn’t always offer online play, another aspect where the clone bucks the trend of being shameless and actually pushes this sub-genre forward a notch.
Everything is just so darn appealing here, from the characters upbeat attitudes to the vague announcer who shows up on his own schedule. It’s a combination of color and charm, rare for the genuine knock-off to obtain these same levels of satisfaction. Putting is finicky though, even after focusing on improving that statistic, the slightest variance in power enough to shove the ball off the green on a downslope. Maybe Carvello actually had something with that whole “feather touch” thing.