Gamers who like mobile sports games might want to try GL Golf, a downloadable application found in the iTunes store. I tried it on both my iPod touch and iPad, and although it is not the best golf game ever made, it is a nice way to pass a short amount of time.
GL Golf by Nuclear Nova Software is available as a downloadable application from the iTunes store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It requires 22.9 MB of space and iOS 4.3 or higher. The lite version is free, but it has advertising. It also allows only four holes per game. It is suitable for a short amount of time, and it serves as a good trial. The full version is ad free and costs $4.99. A deluxe version is also available for $7.99.
How to play
The game is very easy to learn and play. In normal mode, the game automatically selects the exact club needed. An indicator will help line up the shots when dragging left and right. Choose the amount of backspin, draw/fade, and loft/punch. To shoot, tap the swing button as the indicator reaches the end line for maximum distance and control. Judge how much power to use on the gauge or choose a different club by dragging straight up and down on the screen. Help indicators disappear in expert and pro modes, and pro mode does not suggest a club. I frequently use a putter off the tee because I forget to choose the correct club.
In all modes, the selected club and its maximum distance appear on the screen. In normal and expert, distance from the hole also appears - but not in pro mode.
When putting in normal and expert mode, a slope grid and moving dots show how the green breaks. Buttons turn them on and off. Once I see how the ball will move, I turn them off for less distraction. They do not come on in expert mode; I have to choose them. They do not exist in pro mode.
The full-version comes with six full courses, but players can purchase more through the app store. The deluxe version comes with 23 courses. Users can choose to play in any of the four seasons and play at day, dusk, or dawn. A pro shop lets users buy club packs such as a 7-wood or 330-yard driver and club upgrades that make getting out of sand traps easier. Upgrades cost real money, however.
Players can send their scores to Gamecenter through Wi-Fi and compare their scores with other players' scores from around the world.
What needs improvement
On the iPod touch, only the club shows. I cannot find how to make the golfer appear. I also do not like that the game switches between day and night on its own during the round, and I cannot see how to stop that. Playing at night makes the holes more challenging, but I would prefer that optional, not automatic. The golfer appears on the iPad, but I still get the day/night switching.
The graphics look more like an older-style arcade game, and the very few sounds are nowhere near natural. Club-ball contact sounds more like a weak firecracker than a golf shot, but I can ignore both of these flaws.
On the iPod touch, the lite version's ad bar gets in the way of the swing button. I have hit the ad bar and brought up the app store multiple times when trying to play the game. I have not had that problem on the iPad because the ad bar is away from the swing button.
Overall, I would give GL Golf 2.5 stars out of five. I have played better golf games, but GL Golf will do for a short amount of time. I recommend the lite version, but those who want to play full 18-hole rounds and play on more courses might prefer the regular or deluxe version.
iTunes Preview, GL Golf, itunes.apple.com/app
Raymond grew up in the days of Atari and watched the progression of home video game consoles. He has played sports games on most consoles and personal computers as they became available. He now owns multiple game systems and enjoys most professional sports games. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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