Mini Golf MatchUp (iOS/Android) review

IMG_2308Mini Golf MatchUp is a new iOS and Android game from Scopely, makers of the “With Buddies” series of cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer games. The new game is available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play. This review is based on the iOS version, tested on an iPhone 4S running iOS 6.

Mini Golf MatchUp is an asynchronous turn-based miniature golf game in which pairs of players take it in turns to complete various courses and attempt to score as many points as possible. The game is controlled from a top-down perspective by tapping and dragging away from the ball’s current location to set power and direction using an on-screen arrow, then releasing to take the shot. The fewer shots the player takes to reach the hole, the more points they will score, and additional bonus points can be scored by shooting the ball through gems of various types. It is usually the gems rather than the number of shots that make the difference between winning and losing. If the player makes a mistake, it is possible to use a single “do over” per game for free, after which it costs soft currency to undo a shot. Players play the entire hole before passing play to their opponent rather than taking it in turns to take individual shots as in real golf.

Coins may be earned through play, acquired via in-app purchase or received as a reward for inviting friends to the game via their device’s contact list. The game also features Facebook and Twitter connectivity, allowing the player to invite friends to play directly using Facebook and to tweet about the game using Twitter. The player is rewarded with achievements for taking advantage of these facilities, which subsequently provides them with a special currency known as “stars.” These stars are used to unlock new courses when starting a new game with another player — alternatively, the player may immediately unlock specific courses with in-app purchases. Later courses also require that the player expend soft currency to play on them, so the game has the potential to get quite expensive for those who aren’t careful with their in-game currencies.

Minigolf

The game is inherently social by its very nature. During the course of the tutorial, the player is forced into starting at least three games with random opponents rather than having the opportunity to practice by themselves — in fact, there is no solo play option in the game. The game features a chat facility in which players may leave messages for one another after they have completed their turn, but other than this there does not appear to be a means of viewing another player’s profile — the only real point of contact you have with them is their chosen username and their avatar (which may be pulled from Facebook). This is a minor issue, but given that the game tracks players’ stats and allows one’s own performance to be reviewed from the main menu, it would perhaps be nice to be able to compare statistics with other players.

On the whole, Mini Golf MatchUp is a simple, easy to understand game that is very straightforward to get into and quick to play — all ideal features of an asynchronous game. Its monetization is arguably a little heavy-handed — it’s possible to spend up to $99.99 in a single in-app purchase, and the player is even given achievements for buying soft currency — but it is possible to have a satisfying experience for free. It’s a decent addition to the lineup of asynchronous titles available on iOS, and noteworthy among them for not following the usual word or puzzle game formulae.

The iOS version of Mini Golf MatchUp is currently ranked at No. 2 in Top Free Apps, No. 115 in Top Grossing Apps, No. 2 in Top Free iPad Apps, No. 314 in Top Grossing iPad Apps, No. 1 in Top Free Games, No. 96 in Top Grossing Games, No. 1 in Top Free iPad Games and No. 215 in Top Grossing iPad Games. The Android version, meanwhile, is ranked at No. 162 in Games, No. 62 in Arcade Games and No. 379 in Top Free Apps. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.

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A fun, well-implemented asynchronous minigolf game.

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