Jun 27, 2012
Golf, with its sprawling greens and peaceful streams, is about as far away as you can imagine from the hunched over cramped play of mobile game. Thrust into the armpit of a fellow commuter on an overcrowded rush-hour train, it can be hard to force a player to suspend disbelief, and believe that they truly are, in fact, Tiger Woods himself.
In other ways, golf games work rather well on the small screen. At its heart, golf is an incredibly simple game, and the arc of the club can be made quite effectively on a touch screen, without letting players blame the control system for their inevitable failings. It works well in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012: pick a club, aim approximately where you want the ball to go with a zoom out, and then swing on the touch screen. The area the player uses to swing goes from the top of the landscape phone screen to the bottom, and allows for a slight bend of the ball (by accident or not) if your swipe isn’t straight. If you go too far, your shot will suffer, which puts in just enough risk to reward ambitious players, while neatly replicating what happens when amateurs like me pick up a golf club in real life.
Putting is a similar affair, though EA have clearly realised it’s a bit harder to judge, so give the players a one-use per shot preview of where their putt will go. Doing so feels like the right call to me, allowing for some incredibly satisfying long shots, but understandably some players will scoff at the offer of help.
As you would expect from an EA product, the whole thing is nicely polished with great presentation, and all the licensing present and accounted for. There are plenty of courses to test yourself against, and along the way you earn money to improve your fully customisable golfing avatar’s skills and abilities. Money is quite satisfying to earn throughout the game as it rewards you for perfect fairway bound drives, immaculate green landings and placing well in tournaments. As well as individual courses, and the PGA mode, the game also lets you gamble your in-game money against ‘Tiger Challenges’, where you’ll be set a goal to beat, and greater riches if you manage it.
There are a few minor issues: mainly the longish loading screens between each hole, and the occasional animations that play between shots of proud/frustrated golfers reacting to their drive, but these are pretty minor in all. It would be unfair to complain too much about these: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 on Android offers players a enjoyable round of golf with plenty of replayability, and it’s nicely optimised for dipping in and out of. The â€œgood walk spoiledâ€ survives being shrunk down to a touch screen admirably.