The older I get, I find myself more and more drawn to video games centered around the sport of golf. No joke, 13-year old me would be banging his head against a wall hearing “current me” saying that, but it’s true. I’m genuinely surprised how into games like “Mario Golf: World Tour“, “Hot Shots“, and even “Golf Clash” I’ve gotten into over the years. Which is why I was immediately excited to hear the announcement of “Infinite Minigolf” from Zen Studios.
I’m happy to report that their latest game is a blast to play. The gameplay is simple enough to pick up, yet the game ends up surprisingly complex. This makes it genuinely more interesting than a traditional golf game. In addition, the multiplayer aspect is very engaging. The character and course creation modes offer a ton of options to keep players interested for many hours of gameplay.
Infinite Minigolf Gameplay
Most golf games I’ve played use the “three button timing” approach to gameplay. Infinite Minigolf take a much more simple approach. First, you place your ball anywhere on the tee. Next, aim your shot, pull back the stick for desired power, and release. It’s really that simple.
The mechanics aren’t the only aspect that’s different from a traditional golf video game. Scoring is a tad more intricate than the least amount of strokes. Each stroke scores points based on what happens after the player swings. You might get bonus points for banking a shot off the wall, or you might earn extra points for collecting gems on the way to the hole. There’s a bit of a push/pull, however. Players must choose between going straight for the hole or racking up points. It’s possible to score more points with more strokes, however dropping a hole-in-one gains you double points on the next hole. This opens up an unexpected and fun level of strategy, especially when playing against friends.
In addition, there are random power-ups scattered around each hole. When collected, they allow
the player to activate them while the ball is moving. These power-ups can make the ball jump,
speed up, slow down, or even fly across the board. This is where the game really gets strategic. Timing is essential to really utilize these abilities in order to collect the most points with each shot. It definitely adds a really clever spin on mini-golf.
The core game includes three main course. One is themed in a giant bedroom, another is Halloween-themed, and the final course is Christmas themed. Each has three levels of difficulty for a single player to play against three other AI-controlled players. These course start very simply, but ramp up in difficulty and complexity. It’s fun looking for alternative paths and higher scores on each hole. Some courses get wacky (in a fun way) that remind me of the board game Mousetrap or even Happy Gilmore’s final shot at the end of that movie.
The “Infinite” part of the game’s title is where it really shines. Infinite Minigolf has a course generator that is surprisingly easy to use. After you’ve had your fill of the pre-made holes, you can either make your own or play other people’s creations. The best part is that you’re not limited to courses made on your platform of choice. You’ll be able to play any of the courses made on PS4, Xbox One, PC, or Switch, regardless of where you’re playing. Unfortunately, you’re still confined to playing against other players on your platform. I’m hoping that this could be changed in the future.
Lack of cross-platform play aside, playing against friends online was my favorite part of playing Infinite Minigolf. Players take their turns simultaneously, so there’s no waiting for your turn while your friend shoots. This makes matches move much faster than usual and keeps one player from having an advantage by “going second”.
I did experience some technical issues while playing online, however. While playing on user-generated courses, I found that if the ball was shot off the course, the ball would occasionally be placed out of bounds on the next shot. This made it impossible to do anything but forfeit the hole and move on to the next. This happened multiple times, and really throws off a fair match. Again, this is something that I hope can be patched in the future.
This game is a blast to play; I highly recommend it. As the title suggests, there’s a limitless amount of content making its $14.99 price tag well worth every penny. The strategy is surprisingly deep, and I’ve already had several competitive matches with friends. I see myself playing this one for quite a whihe, and hope that they add more content in the future. Any gripes I have are diminished by the sheer amount of fun I’ve had while playing it. It’s no Tiger Woods or Hot Shots, but it’s definitely something special that anyone can pick up and play.
*****This review is based on a review copy of the game played on the Xbox One console. Scott also had a chance to interview Mel Kirk from Zen Studios; you can check out the interview here, where he discussed Infinite Minigolf as well as the Pinball FX series.*****