Everyone loves minigolf, or crazy golf as I like to call it (anyone else?). There’s just something so charming and whacky about navigating all sorts of weird and wonderful obstacles that’s just not possible in the dreary world of actual golf. It brings back fond memories of seaside trips with the family. Helping out the nostalgia feels is Zen Studios, famous for their Zen Pinball series, with Infinite Minigolf released on all major platforms including the Switch which is the version I’m reviewing.
This game presents three different themes on which you can play, a cool kids bedroom theme, a Tim Burton inspired Halloween theme and finally, a Christmassy snow theme. Yeah, they’re slightly on the generic side which is slightly disappointing. I feel the kids bedroom is probably the most original of them, but overall it’s fine, each of them are incredibly different from each other with their aesthetics. Maybe it’s asking a little too much, but I would have liked maybe a couple more themes just to complete the package.
While not the main attraction of Infinite Minigolf, each of the themes has four different tournaments with multiple difficulty levels. The tournaments are against three other players, but it’s a rather hollow competition to be honest as you never see them, only their points at the end of each hole. It’s not a major problem and overall I think there’s a decent amount of single player content and courses made by the developers. You need to complete everything in order to unlock more things. For example at the beginning you can only play the first tournament on easy mode, completing that will unlock the second tournament on easy mode. After all the tournaments are done on easy then normal difficulty will unlock. Doing all of the tournaments on each difficulty level for each of the themes will probably last you a good few hours, especially as the difficulty really does ramp up later on.
While each course has a par to achieve, there’s a scoring system that takes much more into account such as collecting gems as well as doing more trickier things that aren’t explicitly explained as far as I’m aware. Either way this makes the game a lot more competitive, especially from an online stand point where it would be almost impossible to distinguish users with standard golf scores.
Since it’s all about the crazy golf, you can obviously take some liberties when it comes down to realism and Zen Studios went all out in this regard. The biggest thing are the power ups available to use. If your ball rolls through them then you pick them up and use it with a tap of the A button. There’re things such as a spring you can use, remote control to change direction and a rocket powered booster. In all honesty, while I appreciate the idea, I felt they made everything slightly too chaotic and unpredictable, often leading to me being in more trouble than I otherwise would be. I by far, more preferred the weird assists that appear naturally in the stages themselves such as interactive characters and obstacles.
The biggest selling point of Infinite Minigolf is the ability to create and share your own courses. It contains a fairly robust editor with a lot of assets to use and morph to your own will. Initially it’s not the most intuitive interface I’ve ever used. Lots of icons, not much explanation, you just need to play around with it for a while to get to grips with it. Once you do get your fingers around it, there’s a lot of depth and you’ll find yourself creating something half decent within a matter of minutes. Obviously perfecting and honing it will take a little more time, but even creative vacuums such as myself can make something usable. This also means that there are thousands of courses available online with more and more added all the time.
While you can pick and choose courses online, with what is a surprisingly decent filtering system, I honestly found I just enjoyed playing the Quick Game mode which randomly selects a user course that’s been uploaded for you to play.
There’s online play, but in all honesty in the few times I tried it, I failed to get matched up with someone. Whether it’s an online problem from my end or a smaller user base that’s not really focused on that side of things, I don’t know.
At first I had a major problem with the lack of nuanced controls. Both aiming your golfer and applying the power seems to be all or nothing with not much in between, the default settings are way too sensitive and sadly makes the game less precise than it really should be. Even I, some one with a rather delicate touch, often felt like some sort of a Neanderthal as my putting turned into a full on drive, slamming it into the atmosphere. My first advice is head straight into the settings and turn both sensitivities right down to the bottom. It makes it a much more pleasant experience.
Your avatar has missions to accomplish which will rank up your character and give you rewards such accessories. These missions are quite random but fairly simple like using a power up a certain amount of times, collecting a certain amount of gems, playing a certain course and so on. You’ll gain rewards in the form of cards which is slightly confusing in how they’re dished out since each card is only associated with a certain accessory. So you could end up getting two cards, but one can only be spent on clubs, while the other on hats or something like that. I think it would have been just as fine to have all the cards universally for the same thing.
One cool thing about Infinite Minigolf is the avatar customisation, which even though in the grand scheme of things is slightly pointless, is quite huge and it’s satisfying to unlock the vast amounts of things for your avatar to wear. From hats, shirts, clubs, trousers and shoes; it will take you a long time to unlock everything for your avatar.
Animations are above par for a title of this sorts and graphically is more than you actually need for a minigolf game. Character models are fantastic, looking very Disney-esque and the environments are full of life, detailed beyond expectations. It’s genuinely great. One bad point on the overall presentation though, are the button and menu icons which are just the style of your generic mobile phone game. It adds unnecessary cheapness to an otherwise great presentation.
Overall, I would say Infinite Minigolf is a solid package on the Nintendo Switch. It’s got a decent single player, an endless supply of creative levels from the community and it’s mini golf. Everybody likes mini golf. Aside from a few small presentation issue and an overly sensitive default control scheme, it’s a decent addition to your Switch. I wouldn’t say it’s essential and I’m not entirely sure I would buy it myself, but you’re not going to be disappointed even if you do.
Game provided by Zen Studios