With a name like Flick Golf 3D, this game barely needs an introduction. But I’ll give it a go anyways… Historically, UK independent developer Full Fat has had a long history developing on Nintendo handhelds. From the Game Boy Colour to the DS, they specialised in developing licenced games for big publishers ranging from Beyblade to Pac Man to Harry Potter. Despite this connection to Nintendo handhelds it’s surprising to hear that Flick Golf 3D is actually their first 3DS release. Why? Well, it appears Full Fat found a new home on the mobile market, becoming one of the most prolific and highly regarded developers for the platform, especially known for their “Flick” series of sports titles. One of their most successful efforts is Flick Golf. So as you can guess Flick Golf 3D is an enhanced port of that mobile original.
And so here we are, in some sort of glorious circle. They left the console market in order to find greater success, and then after they became successful they returned to the console market.
Flick Golf 3D is a simple arcade sports title, possibly one of the most addictive ones available on the eShop. It’s not exactly a standard golfing game where you would expect to take on 18 holes trying to get under par. In fact this is essentially target practice, trying to get a hole in one and earning points the closer you get.
As you would expect from a former mobile game, the main controls are touch based via the stylus. You can control your aim by sliding the stylus across the top part of the touch screen and driving the ball is as simple as a flick from the bottom of the screen to the top. Naturally you can adjust the direction of the shot by flicking either side of centre. The main gameplay lynchpin is the ability to control the ball in the air after it’s driven by sliding the stylus across the ball to add spin. You can do this as many times as you want. It’s incredibly fun and frantic especially considering how great of an effect it has on the ball. The physics are what I like to call “arcade-mental” and it’s great.
Using these techniques, it’s your goal to coerce your ball as close to the hole as possibly, ideally getting it in as it results in massive points which are vitally needed at higher difficulties. It may sound like a simple task but like any golfing game, the wind likes to make a nuisance of itself and you’ll have to fight against it if you want to get a good score. I often found myself making worryingly loud squealing noises whenever my ball brushed the rim of the hole. At one point I was demanding the developers add functionality to the 3DS’s microphone so I could blow the ball into the hole if it’s teetering on the edge.
There are two modes: Quickshot and World Tour, three if you count Quickshot Pro, which as the name suggests is Quickshot on a much higher difficulty.
Quickshot gives you 60 seconds to rack up as many points as you can. The target scores are high, so the pace of this mode is incredibly frenetic. You can earn more time if you land incredibly close or get a hole in 1, so theoretically you could go on indefinitely if you’re lucky/skilled and you will need to do this consistently if you want to achieve the platinum trophy.
World Tour is far less grand than the name will lead you to believe but it’s still good none-the-less You only have 9 shots at holes of varying length to get your points as high as possible. This mode is certainly tense as each shot is vital if you want to progress.
Each of these modes are playable on 6 courses set in various global locations: America, Japan, Scotland etc. which have increasing difficulties. All of them are nice to look at and are distinct from each other but personally, for such an arcade-y type of game, I would have preferred to see more fantastical or crazy settings. Although this desire does appear to have been granted in the sequel, Flick Golf Extreme. Hopefully that too will make it to the 3DS in the near future.
Graphically the game is decent for an eShop title. Everything is bright and colourful with a clean presentation. I did notice a slight graphical issue around the holes where you can clearly see the connecting points of four textures with thin lines in a cross section. An odd oversight considering it’s the focal point of the game and what’s otherwise such a polished game.
I also feel the music is a little underused. During the course introductions a nice jingle plays but once the action starts there is no music, which for me personally is a disappointment. I would have liked the music to continue playing at a lower level during play.
After playing the original mobile version and now this 3DS release, I recommend this version more highly. The great stylus controls improve it no end and the 3D conversion is a bonus.
Flick Golf 3D is a great arcade sports title. It’s simple, accessible and yet offers a good challenge for higher-level players. It’s perfect for pick up and play and has “just one more go” addictive nature. Hopefully there’s more in store from Full Fat on the 3DS in the future.
- Addictive, fun gameplay
- Colourful graphics
- Controls well
- Slight graphical issues
- Music is underused