3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Sunday, February 10, 2008

Graphics: 3.00
Sound: 3.00
Gameplay: 6.50
Replays: 8.00
Gamelength: 7.50

Sierra pumps out a sequel to it’s PC original, “3D Ultra Minigolf” and while it’s definitely not a “Hole In One”, it’s not too shabby.

First of all, I have to point out that “3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures” is a pretty ridiculous game with a pretty insane concept. That said, it’s still very obviously a minigolf game and is meant to be played by people with a sheer love for the concept of insane minigolf courses. If you dislike the idea of playing minigolf in outer space with crazy gravity physics, look no farther and pass this game by. This game is meant for a small, exclusive audience and most likely wont give most people very much enjoyment. If you’re still interested, keep reading because this game might be just what the doctor ordered.

“3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures” has pretty decent graphics, but overall it’s nothing special. Everything looks like a high resolution PlayStation 2 title with a generic sense of style. The characters all look generic and as ridiculous as some of the courses may be, nothing really seems fresh. It’s all been done before. Even still, the game doesn’t look bad and it’s not enough to ruin the experience.

As for the music and sound effects, it’s very obvious that there wasn’t much effort put into the sound quality of this game. There’s a whole lot of generic Jazzy “Big Band” tunes that no one will recognize. If that’s your style of music, it might stand out a little, but overall it’s very, very generic even for the genre of music. At least the sound effects aren’t half-bad, though. Generic, but not bad. Everything sounds as you would expect, but if high quality music and effects are a major part of a game for you, you wont find it here.

There’s a good amount of content, so not everything about this game is bad. There’s a Single Player Tournament mode, a Map Editor, local multiplayer and Xbox Live multiplayer. In the tournament mode, you’ll be presented with 3 courses; Traveler, Explorer and Adventurer. There’s also an add-on valued at 400 Microsoft Points that introduces the “Lost Island” tournament. Traveler is unlocked at the beginning, but you must win each tournament to unlock the next in the series. Also, “Lost Island” add-on is unlocked as soon as you make the purchase. Each tournament has 18 holes, with the exception of the Adventurer tournament, which has a whopping 36 holes. The holes range from generic “Carnival” style to absolutely ridiculous gravity-based outer space style. A lot of the holes are generic, but a few of them stand out as fairly unique. The most important thing of note here is that this game is extremely difficult and will require the average player to practice a whole lot to come out on top of each tournament. Both forms of multiplayer are pretty much the exact same thing as the single player tournament mode, but you have the option of playing any of your custom maps as well. Multiplayer can be fun in moderation, but if the people you’re playing with are any good, it can be extremely frustrating for a new player. The 3rd and final mode is what makes this game a bit more tolerable if you’re willing to invest any amount of time into it; Map Editor mode. The possibilities are endless with the Map Editor and it’s fairly extensive. It’s such a simple concept, but it’s executed so well that serious fans of this game will never get bored. The problem is just that there aren’t more than a small handful of people willing to take this game that seriously. In spite of it’s flaws, it’s still a decent game with a good bit of length and it’s worth buying if you’re a serious fan of crazy minigolf games, especially considering the lack of good games in the genre.

Overall, I’d say “3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures” is a step in the right direction, but a whole lot more can be done to improve every aspect of the game. With the right improvements, another game in the series could prove to be great fun. Sierra is a good company with a lot of “Hit Or Miss” titles and I’d say that this title comes closer to a hit than it does to a miss, but it is by no means a perfect or unique game.

Pros:
-3 full tournaments.
-Local and internet multiplayer.
-Crazy environments.
-Good amount of length.
-High replay value.
-Insane physics in some of the environments.

Cons:
-Graphics are extremely generic.
-Everything sound related is generic.
-Can be frustratingly difficult at times.
-Not many people play on Xbox Live.
-Price could be better.
-Boring characters.

Bottom Line:
“3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures” is most definitely a no brainer. Don’t even consider buying this game unless you’re seriously into the concept of crazy minigolf. At a total price of $15 with the “Lost Island” add-on, you have to wonder what Sierra was thinking. The target audience isn’t large enough to justify the price. If the game ever drops in price to $5 for the core game and $2.50 for “Lost Island”, maybe it’ll be worth buying for a wider audience. For now, look elsewhere. There are plenty of other amazing Xbox Live Arcade titles at the time of this writing.

Overall Rating: 6.00

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