Do you love golf? Chances are if you own a Nintendo Wii you almost have to. The amount of games based off of this sport are ridiculous; of course when you consider the nature of motion control the Wii allows it makes perfect sense. The popularity of titles such as Wii Sports and Tiger Woods has certainly paved the way for others to follow. Developed by Camelot, the same team behind two of Nintendo’s very own sports interpretations Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, We Love Golf! is a straight-ahead arcade experience much like the company’s previous outings and very much like the beloved Hot Shots Golf series. Unfortunately the game still works similarly to those older titles and doesn’t opt for a one-to-one swing method much like the upcoming Tiger Woods title. However, what is here is exactly what fans of arcade golf games are looking for, just not perhaps what Wii fans are looking for.
The biggest thing that separates We Love Golf! from the rest of the pack is its presentation. Sure you will still find some of the lingo and attributes of the sport, but Camelot actually makes it fun and comprehensible. The bright color palette and vivid cast of characters make the game recognizable and fun to look at, while the simple mechanics and subtle learning curve keep the game from confusing casual players. Capcom has opted to even include a host of characters from their popular franchises such as Jill Valentine from Resident Evil and even the cult-favorites Zack and Wiki from their self-titled debut. The courses are also as vibrant as the cast featuring everything from your typical greens to a more robust selection of locales including deserts and even pirate ships. Of course none of this is relevant if the controls are not up to par.
The control scheme for We Love Golf! is and interesting one to say the least. While a perfect one-to-one swing mechanic has yet to be implemented in any game, it does feel like a lost opportunity for Camelot. What is here works flawlessly, but it still makes you wonder what could have been. The basic premise involves you tapping the A button to begin what is essentially a shadow club into motion. You mimic said motion with the Wii remote to determine how much power you want to use. The challenge comes from timing your motion perfectly in order to perform a solid stroke. This is very similar to the button pressing mechanic found in a plethora of other titles, simply with a motion twist. It works fantastic, but it also makes you wonder why they didn’t just opt to go for the full one-to-one motion route.
Once you master this control type the game opens up and truly becomes a lot of fun, if not a bit on the easy side. Motion controls can also be used for a dramatic take on immersion. For example if you hold the Wii remote in the air before a hole you will begin with a birds-eye view of the field, move it down and you go into your swing. Its decisions like these that make me wonder why a one-to-one swing mechanic wasn’t implemented. You can even twist the remote and add spin to the ball, which is something most games haven’t mastered for any function. It is sad to see all of these advancements and the core control still consist of a basic swing meter with a twist.
Outside of the controls there is plenty to see and do in the world of We Love Golf!. There are seven total game types to choose from and they involve everything from your standard tournament mode to diversions more suited for this type of golf game such as target golf and ring shots. The biggest inclusion in the US release however is online play. It is no secret that the Nintendo Wii is not the system to go to for online competition, but Capcom has done an excellent job of streamlining the interface and making the global competition as easy to access as the offline modes. Sure if you want to play with your friends you still must exchange ridiculously long friend codes, but if you want to jump in and play with strangers, World Play allows you to do just that.
The drawback to jumping into random games is a lack of options. There are only two variations to be found in World Play: beginner and master. The problem isn’t the curve, but more to do with the fact that you cannot adjust any options found within the game. It is also worth noting that instead of 18 hole stroke fests you are obligated to partake in nine hole challenges; the first player to win five is the champion. Thankfully the offline modes cater to the typical Wii crowd and getting four players together in the same room makes for a much more enjoyable time. Overall this game could easily become one of the party favorites over Wii Golf for the sheer amount of extras and mode variations.
Everything about We Love Golf! is bright and multihued, including the visuals. Character models are simplistic in design and packed with preposterous amounts of cuteness. The frame rate is methodical and the courses are brilliantly designed immersing you into the glowing world that Camelot has created. Everything about the game is streamlined from the interface to the tutorials creating an experience that is truly representative of the developers other work. The music is bubbly and the character voice-overs will likely annoy you after some time, but on a whole the game is one of the most approachable experiences this side of Nintendo.
If you are a fan of Camelot’s previous works (Mario Golf, Mario Tennis) and Sony’s proverbial Hot Shots Golf then We Love Golf! is sure to satisfy. The simplistic swing mechanic hasn’t changed much, but what is here works flawlessly. The accessibility of the game makes it perfect for newcomers and inviting for the hardcore. Everything in the game is so streamlined it makes it impossible not to have fun. Camelot has perfected the art of arcade golf, now if only they would work on a one-to-one swing mechanic this series could truly elevate to the next level. There is plenty here for fans of the genre to enjoy and it is easily the most enjoyable golf game currently on the system.