Golf is a game that lends itself absolutely perfectly to being played on a smart phone. It’s a game that can very easily be broken down into smaller chunks for a pick-up-and-play value (obviously each whole being a separate game), and at the same time it’s the kind of game that’s perfect for gradual improvement which makes it highly addictive. Finally the touch screen makes it great for re-enacting the motion of swinging a golf club by swiping up the screen.
However despite this, it seems that few golf game apps out there have got the formula quite right. The ‘Let’s Golf’ games from Gameloft have probably come the closest to capturing the best and most authentic golfing experience, but even these are lacking in some ways. Here then we will look at some of the things that an ideal golf game app might involve and how a developer could really hit it out of the park (sorry – wrong sporting metaphor…).
The graphics in a golf game should be pretty good bearing in mind the low amount of processing necessary in the game – you can’t roam freely around the courses in most golf games (though actually this would be a fun feature), so it should be possible to render some really good looking levels. Part of the excitement and the fun of golf is in experiencing the different courses and the beautiful views – especially when you’re playing aboard – and so for this reason the graphics should be able to effectively convey a sense of variation and scale.
The gameplay in a golf game is one that hasn’t quite been gotten right yet, though it should be in theory fairly easy to recreate. First of all there should of course be an aiming element, and the best way to achieve this would probably be with a close up view of the ball and the club with the view panning into the distance (of course the graphics also need to be good enough to allow you to compensate for gradients) and wind could be taken into account with visual cues – such as swaying grass and maybe even stereo sound.
Then next part of the game would be hitting the ball and this could be accomplish either with a swipe of the finger along the screen, or with a swing of the phone picked up by the gyroscope (this would have to be a gimmick though rather than the main control option as it would be impractical in many settings). What’s important here is that either method be sensitive enough that you can very subtly alter the power of your hits. Of course you should also be able to swap clubs.
There are plenty of games out there that attempt to recreate existing golf courses and these are great on home consoles. However the experience in your pocket is never going to be quite as adept at recreating these legendary courses, so it might be better to instead do something a bit more creative. I’d love to see some golf courses that were only just outside the realms of possibilities so that they could attract both hardcore golfers and the casual audience. The focus could be on incredible shots off the top of cliffs, through waterfalls or down streams, and there could be a fantasy element to some courses – maybe with a city setting or on top of a moving train. Anything’s possible in a game after all, so why not take advantage of that fact?
Michael Dan is an avid golfer who shares golfing tips via his regular blogs. He recommends golf-lovers to visit GolfBox e-store as they provide good quality golfbox bags at affordable prices.