Having become synonymous for their excellent Pinball FX series, Zen Studios have turned their attentions to golf. Well, mini golf to be precise. Infinite Mini Golf may sound quite different than Pinball, but it is clear that Zen’s experience with FX2 has helped shape this new title.
Infinite MiniGolf is actually less about golf and more of a physics based puzzle game. Sure, the core premise is that players must putt the golf ball into the hole in as few shots as possible, but in order to do this they will need to use the environment; along with power-ups and even some quick thinking.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Multiplayer: 4 Player local & 8 Player online
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
At the start of the game, three areas will be open, each with their very own style; Giant Home, Nightmare Mansion and Santa’s Factory. All of the courses in these areas have been designed by Zen Studios and form both a way for players to get to grips with the way the game works, and also a local four player challenge mode. Play on your own however, and players will be teamed up with three AI challengers. The aim in this mode is to get the highest score possible over all of the courses. Get a hole-in-one, and that’s an instant 10,000 points. But do it with some extra style, or collect some gems along the way and that boosts the score.
If one collects all the gems on a course, it activates a 2x multiplier for the next round, helping players stay ahead of their opponents. Although the first few courses in each area seem straightforward and don’t take much effort to ace, as one gets further in, the challenge becomes greater. Bouncing off walls and using the environment are the only ways to succeed. There are also power-ups that must be smartly deployed in order to get the top score. Speed boosts, remote control golf balls, magnets and many other powers are triggered by the player, and using them at the right time can make all the difference. If I got stuck, or miss-hit a shot, the game was kind enough to allow me an almost instant restart, great, if like me you need a few tries of a course to get that all important hole-in-one.
All three areas have four different tournaments, each with three different difficulty levels when playing solo. These are not all unlocked from the start though, giving a fair sense of progress when opening them up. As well as the four player local competitions, players can also go online with up to seven other people and complete to be top of the leader board. There are many game types to choose from including 1v1, eight player tournaments and classic, with the first two modes being available in either Fun or Competitive modes.
Zen Studios has created a massive amount of content to play from the get-go, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are also thousands of user created courses to experience. Sure, it may not be an ‘Infinite’ amount, but the number of courses had grown substantially during my review period, and will continue to grow while people are still enjoying the game. The game comes complete with a robust course creator tool, which allows those that are inclined to design every aspect of a course. Although this is a tool that will allow the game to grow over time, I felt that the course creator was too much for me to wrap my head around.
It is something that I won’t use, but it is great that it is there, and that there are people who are able to use it to create some really cool courses. Of course, not all courses are great; some are really bad, with poor design that makes it almost impossible to actually get the ball in the hole. But these are few and far between, and players can easily exit them and try another hole. Players can manually search courses via the course browser, or they can let the game randomly choose them for them.
It’s playing these courses that opens up the character customization options. Players can customize several aspects of their avatar; appearance, clothing and accessories are all there to be unlocked. This can only be done by earning cards on the user created levels. These cards can then be spent on unlocking the various options available. There are also missions that the game tasks players with, which will earn them coins to buy card packs as well. These unlockables are also gated by experience level. Playing the course and pulling off cool moves will grant players the XP to level up and unlock more items.
There is a huge amount of content on offer here, helped by a creator community that seems to be doing a mostly great job of keeping new courses coming. But even without the created courses, Infinite MiniGolf still has a wide array of content to keep you entertained for ages, and with great local or online multiplayer, playing with friends is an absolute joy. It’s also the type of game that can be played in short bursts, with its quick play options. And if you are the sort of person who likes to see what your imagination can create, then the tools on offer are there for you to go nuts with. Just don’t expect to see any courses made by me.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.