You know, I love a good golf video game. There are already several games released on the Switch that featured either golfing or its miniature counterpart, and I’ve covered them already here on TICGN. To put it bluntly, I thought they were all good-to-great titles. My favorite indie on the Switch so far is even Golf Story, which is both a great golf game and a hilarious RPG. So why in the actual expletive is 3D Mini Golf so freakishly bad?! It shouldn’t be hard to make a stellar game of this genre. It’s freakin’ mini golf!
Let me clarify something: I did not get a free copy for this review. I imported a copy of this game on eBay back when it was exclusively released in Germany as a retail-only title last year. I spent $30 and a $15-off coupon just on the belief that this would probably be another decent mini golf game I could pop in for casual fun. Turns out I couldn’t be any more wrong.
It looks okay in stills, but in motion it sucks. It looks it’s struggling to run at thirty frames per second. Infinite MiniGolf may have run at thirty, but at least it was consistent and smooth enough for the experience to remain fun. 3D Mini Golf doesn’t even have any creativity to it. The 18-hole courses are just as bland as on those countless mini golf apps you find on Google Play. The only course with any sort of visual appeal is the candy-themed one, but it is disgustingly overblown and unfairly hard to navigate.
Easily the most wretched aspect of the performance, though, is when it deliberately slows to a crawl and zooms in on the ball whenever (and I do mean WHENEVER) it is moving close to the hole. This genuinely angered me when I first came across this, especially when…
The sound that plays when the ball goes into the hole is at a normal speed, contrary to the absurdly slow motion. Yeah, it’s fair to say I’m not a fan of this game’s sound design either. It’s mostly just a meandering mix of sounds you’ve heard in just about every other golfing game. The only thing I found amusing is when the ball is heard clinking against a curved wall multiple times because the collision detection in this game is crap enough for that to happen.
So how do you screw up mini golf? Easy. You make hitting the ball a slow chore, have the ball move as slowly, make the courses as bland as possible, and add baffling design decisions in place of any genuine way to spruce them up. That’s 3D Mini Golf in a nutshell, and boy is it exhausting to get through any one of the four courses. It’s almost a miracle there’s a stroke limit so you don’t stay in any of the holes forever. I say “almost” because that still means you have to move on to the next one.
What wonderful gimmicks do the courses have, you may wonder? Well, for one instance, the first course has chalk outlines that the ball cannot be outside of. The terrain is small enough as it is without chalk outlines shrinking the boundaries further. To show you just bad things get, the candy course is, again the absolute worst in its design. Slopes you need to reach extremely far to get across, pits that serve as out-of-bounds areas, and utterly confusing terrain all around make this course a nightmare.
This game may no longer be exclusive to one country, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid it. Mini golf fans everywhere deserve better than this soulless cash grab. Got friends over? Play Infinite MiniGolf or Party Golf. Want an enjoyable single-player experience themed around golf? Why don’t you have Golf Story yet? Heck, play Midnight Deluxe! I prefer any of the other golf games over this.