Go for a swing with the Wii
So you and that Mii of yours have played Wii Sports golf to death. You’ve mastered all the holes on all the difficulties, your swing is becoming an art form, and reaching “pro” status was a victory of the past. But, after all is said and done, the only feeling you have is that of craving. More courses, more replay, and certainly more depth. That is where Super Swing Golf comes in, the Wii’s first full-fledged casual golf simulation. Loosely ported by Tecmo from the popular online PC multiplayer PangYa, Super Swing Golf can no doubt offer much more than Wii-Sports golf in terms of game depth and replay value, but not without some major flaws in presentation and planning controls. However, we are talking about the Nintendo Wii here, a system where games revolve around the ingenuity of the Wii-remote, and Super Swing Golf is no exception. Ultimately, it is going to be whether players embrace the control mechanics of the golf swing that decides if you’re going to be putting countless hours into Super Swing Golf, or you’re back loading up your Mii to hit a few rounds in Wii Sports.
PangYa, Super Swing Golf’s online originator, follows a conventional three-step method in swinging the golf club which should be familiar to anyone who has played most golf games, including the Mario Golf series. You can play this way by choosing the “button” setting in the options menu, but of course, this mundane method is not why we bought the Wii. Tecmo has developed controls incorporating the use of the Wii remote to give a more authentic and hands-on approach. In Super Swing Golf, much like Wii Sports, a swing is done similarly to actual golfing. To start, you must physically address the ball and start your backswing (remember knees bent and head down, Golfing 101). The farther back you go, the more power you have, as reflected by an onscreen bar which follows your backswing and tells you the distance it SHOULD fly. That is the easy part. Once you have settled on the appropriate backswing location and power, you hold the “A” button and begin the fore-swing. The speed of the fore swing and the angle of the follow-through then determine where the ball will end up. If you swing the club (as determined by your wrist angle) to the inside, you’ll “hook” the ball and it will end up left of your desired position. Likewise, if you “slice,” the ball will end up to the right. In addition, swing too lightly, the ball will not end up as far as you planned and the same for swinging too hard.
It should be noted that, of course, there is significant leeway involved (that or I should be playing in the next US Open), but for the most part, Super Swing Golf and the Wii-remote create a fairly accurate facsimile of a golf club. However, many problems arise from this control style. First and foremost, some people may just not have any fun in doing it this way. Whether it is too difficult (one of my friends, no matter how hard he tried to fix it, always ended up slicing the ball), too time consuming, or even just unsatisfying, this method of swinging is clearly not for everyone. On the other hand, some people may love the idea, but despise its execution. A big problem is the difficulty an adult will encounter trying to grasp the Wii-remote like an actual golf club because of its short length. Swinging with one hand feels unnatural, awkward, and detracts from the accuracy of the shot. In addition, the sensor for the backswing is awkward, and players will almost always find themselves spending a bit of time manipulating the remote to try to find the right spot it needs to be placed. This obliterates the natural flow a real golf swing should have. Essentially, because of the swinging method, Super Swing Golf can frustrate both beginners who may have difficulty and little patience to learn an accurate swing, as well as real golfers, who may find the swinging not fluent and realistic enough for their tastes. On the other hand, players may find this method to be a good balance between being able to pull off and improve their shots using the Wii-remote, while not being frustrated by the unrealistic aspects of the swing.
It cannot be overstated how important the swinging method can influence whether someone enjoys the game or not, but there are other factors that can be taken into consideration. If you do enjoy the swing control, then there is no doubt you will be spending countless hours playing Super Swing Golf due to its outstanding replayability. The game features numerous characters, courses, and stories, and by playing well and completing tournaments, players can accumulate PangYa, the currency which can be spent buying a variety of items including club sets and clothes. Items collected can then be equipped for full customizability of your character, including stats, which can create a potentially endless amount of replay. In addition, Super Swing Golf has three multiplayer modes that support up to four players, including the massively entertaining Balloon Pop mode, a tiny twist to the game of golf.
Usable characters are deformed animated archetypes whose choice of clubs is limited only by the fact that it needs to have a handle. Caddies range from witches to an object that can be best described as a shopping bag. The courses are bright and colorful, and the music reflects the light atmosphere of an upbeat, casual, and charming game. Graphically, however, Super Swing Golf is barely mediocre. Granted, it is not like they’re utilizing PS3 hardware, but I can’t tell whether I’m looking at millions of broken shards of glass or a fresh cut fairway, and I’m suddenly wondering how I’m using a Wii-remote for a GameCube era game.
Super Swing Golf has a fairly standard depth for a game of its genre but definitely much more so than Wii golf. Expect to find obstacles getting in the way, different elevations to overcome, and different environments to make your shots from. Pre-shot planning skills are essential for a successful match. Unfortunately, Super Swing Golf does a mediocre job incorporating the Wii-mote for this task. The utilization of all the buttons on the controller proves to be awkward and time consuming, and the point and click method of aiming shots is, not only unnecessary, but detracting as well. The ability to zoom with the Wii-remote by jabbing towards the television to zoom in, and pulling out to zoom out, is impressive but can be troublesome at times, especially from close range.
If at all possible, it is essential to try the game out before purchasing, because ultimately the deciding factor will always be the swing controls. If a player enjoys the controls, then they can not find a better suited golf game, especially with so much replay potential. However, if a player despises the swing method, all that is left of Super Swing Golf are awkward controls, mediocre graphics, and an unsatisfying golf game.