There is definitely no shortage of golf games for the Wii. From the original Wii Sports title that started it all to the latest iteration of the Tiger Woods franchise, there are plenty of ways to shake a club on the Wii. King of Clubs Mini Golf seemed at first to be a title that would be just another golf game for the Wii. However, once I started playing it, I realized that it was something else entirely: It was terrible.
King of Clubs didn’t start out bad, however. In fact, the premise was quite charming. The game starts out by introducing you to a rather poor Elvis impersonator who has transformed an old Las Vegas amusement park into a mini golf course. He has also hired some out-of-work actors to play in tournaments on this unconventional golf course. The whole thing was incredibly ridiculous and sounded like it carried a heavy possibility of fun.
But unfortunately, there is just no fun to be had with this game. One of the first things that you’ll notice is the terrible look of the game. The graphics are incredibly poor; the game can be most generically described as dated. Honestly, there were better-looking games on the GameCube. The different holes all have imaginative design, but they suffer from a palpable lack of detail, poor animations, and texturing. The graphics are also very jagged, and certain background elements will even pixelate randomly. The visuals are just a mess overall, making it really difficult to play.
But the game does not reach unplayable status until you actually pick up your Wii-mote and attempt to play. The idea behind the controls is pretty basic and involves you holding the Wii-mote like a golf club. However, the way that you control your golf swing is sort of awkward. Instead of pulling the Wii-mote back and swinging, you have to swing the Wii-mote around to select your shot’s power, press the A button, and then release it and do a little shake to actually make the shot. It is far too complicated, and the motion controls are very inconsistent. Sometimes, they just stop responding altogether, and playing this game is a real exercise in frustration and annoyance. The controls in King of Clubs Mini Golf are just another example of a failed motion control attempt; they just don’t work.
One of the more depressing elements of this game has to be the wasting of the different hole designs. They all have a wonderfully kitsch element to them and have very imaginative traps and mechanics. If the other elements of King of Clubs were as good as they should have been, then these holes would have been a real blast to play though. But unfortunately, since you are hardly ever able to properly see or control the action onscreen. All you can do is imagine how much fun it might have been.
As far as game modes go, there are plenty of ways to play King of Clubs Mini Golf. The main solo modes consist of a career and tournament mode. The career mode is actually the most basic, as you just go through the different holes and courses by yourself until you master them all. The tournament mode is largely the same, except you have to go through all the holes and courses with an A.I. opponent. In addition to the two standard modes, there is also a speed mode, where you have to keep your eye on the clock as well as the par. All these modes just feel basic, and since you play through the same courses and holes no matter which mode you select, they all feel like the same experience.
Although I wouldn’t recommend showing this game to your friends (or enemies for that matter), there are several multiplayer modes included if you feel so inclined. You can play tournament style with up to four players, and you can play through any of the game’s different holes (even ones you haven’t unlocked in the single-player mode yet). The multiplayer modes are just as basic as the single-player modes and are good if you absolutely must play this game with other people.
The sound in this game is also quite terrible. There are a handful of looping tracks that accompany each hole, and if you progress far enough in the game, then you will be able to unlock all the music tracks and can use whichever one you want on the different holes. However, they are all dreadful; trust me, the mute button is your best friend when trying to tackle this game.
King of Clubs Mini Golf embodies every negative aspect of third party games created for the Wii. It has poor motion controls, bad graphics, and almost no redeeming qualities. It borders on total unplayability, and the best advice for those who want to play golf on the Wii is to stick with WiiSports.
Sure, you may have played these games a million times, but honestly, putting this game in your system will only make you pine for these titles. There was a lot of potential in this game, and I could have seriously dug the whole kitschy-feel. But unfortunately, this game is a real clunker that I can’t recommend to anyone.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.0 Graphics
The different holes and courses are bursting with personality, but this is wasted with really terrible and dated graphics. 1.5 Control
The controls are extremely hard to manage and are a real obstacle. 1.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The repetitive music and sound effects get old quickly. The looping tracks can actually be changed as you progress through the game, but they’re all really insufferable. 2.4
There are lots of courses to unlock, but it is doubtful you’ll be able to stand this game long enough to unlock them all.
1.7 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.