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Review: Infinite MiniGolf (Switch)

From the people that brought gamers Zen Pinball, Infinite MiniGolf explores a type of game I actually prefer over knocking a ball around with flippers. That type of game is knocking a ball around with a putter. I’ve had my experiences with mini golf games in the past, from the childhood obsessions of mine that are the Life Savers Candystand ones to the abomination that was Mini Golf Resort on the 3DS. Fortunately, Infinite MiniGolf is no Mini Golf Resort. It’s actually a competent game.

Graphics

I’m not the biggest fan of the stock characters that make up the roster in the game, but the environments do look creative and detailed. The game stays at a consistent rate of 30 frames per second, even during online play. While I somewhat wish the framerate was higher, it doesn’t take away from the game since Infinite MiniGolf is slower and more deliberate than titles that would be affected by this sort of thing.

The visual effects and collectibles on the courses make for good eye candy as well. Probably my favorite aspects in this category are the cinematic camera angles. They provide a nice sense of scale as players get to watch the ball go.

Audio

The sound is nothing too interesting to write home about, but it would be wrong to call it bad. All of the music consists of orchestra-sounding tracks, and the sound effects that come to mind usually consist of the dazzles of collecting crystals and putting the ball into the hole. Sounds of machinery could also be heard when courses utilize fancier ways to transport the ball across the taken path.

Gameplay

Infinite MiniGolf faithfully captures the fun of the sport it’s based upon. The basic gameplay has all of the essentials of a mini golf game, and there is a variety of obstacles and ways to gather points. In fact, the score system adds a new element of strategy to the usual mini golf structure; for example, one could try and go straight for the hole, but there’s a chance his or her opponent could outrank the result of that by finding a diamond and some power-ups along the way. Power-ups range from a speed boost to brief analog control over the ball, and it can be ultimately rewarding to use these abilities for an advantage.

The game is also no slouch on the types of modes that can be played. If you don’t feel like going into the user-generated content, Infinite MiniGolf has a series of premade holes divided into four courses. These can be played by either one player or anywhere up to eight! That’s a lot of people that can join in, but if you don’t have anyone around the house, you can always take the competition online.

Online play is certainly a lot of fun to experience by itself. There are settings to determine the amount of players and what type of game you’ll be playing (competitive, tournament, versus, etc). The cool thing is that you’d be playing against other people online on holes that are made by the community. However, it can prove to be a double-edged sword at times. Since there’s absolutely no way anyone would play a specific hole before, this means there’s little time to get a good understanding of how to proceed about it. As such, there are holes that from produce unexpected dilemmas or unnecessary complexions. It doesn’t help that in competitive play, you only have 13 seconds to putt or else the stroke is counted against you. I think there should be more time given to the player in that case, It would also be great if there was some sort of filter that could prevent holes like those from showing up.

That isn’t to say that’s the game’s fault for what some users would make, though.¬†It’s actually surprising just how much can be done with the in-game course building tools. It’s practically a Super Mario Maker for mini golf courses! Any layout you can play in the game, you can create yourself. You can save or load designs, and even share them among a server filled with other holes you could play on a whim! You can even compete for the hole’s highscore and earn small rewards for your avatar from doing that. There are other ways you can earn those things, should you be interested in pimping out your character. All the more reason to continue playing Infinite MiniGolf.

Verdict

Overall, Infinite MiniGolf lives up to its name. It could do with some tweaks, but it is otherwise quite the gem on the Nintendo Switch. It’s easily one of the best games of its caliber that I can think of. Between the online course sharing, kinds of multiplayer, and incentives for replay value, Infinite MiniGolf is a beefy package through and through.

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