Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational review

hot shots golf world invitational review ps vitaRight now in Japan, atop the Vita sales charts sits Everybody’s Golf 6, the Japanese version of Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational. Does that mean that it is the best game on the market for the Vita, or are the Japanese tastes just different? Dynasty Warriors 7 was the third best-selling PS3 game in Japan for all of 2011, so there is reason to question the rationale behind it. And hey, I am a fan of the DW series, but still, third?!

In this case, the Japanese know what they are talking about. Developer Clap Hanz’s Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational may not be the best game out for the Vita, but it is definitely one of the most accessible for all ages–even if your genre of choice involves blowing things up.  

If you know the series—actually, if you know any golf game from Tiger Woods to Golden Tee–then you know the set up. Each swing you take has a bar that relies on the proper timing to get the most power, then a second command confirms that you don’t shank it. There are five different ways to swing that you can choose from at the loudout menu, but they all revolve around timing.

The courses are surprisingly varied, and deceptively complex. The first few rounds give you the impression that you can just hit it where the game suggests and (barring a screw up) walk away with a birdie or a par—and you can, but only in the first few courses. To really make the most of the game, as it unlocks more locations you need to start using the additional controls like the hook, slice, and backspin options. 

hot shots golf world invitational review

This is where the game goes from simplistic to complex at the drop of a hat. It is accessible enough that anyone can play it and do decently, but to do well you need to understand the game’s physics and learn the courses.

There is a lot of customization here thanks to unlockables that you receive through playing and scoring well. Everything from clothes to new clubs can be purchased. Some of it has actual gameplay benefits and stat boosts, while some of it is aesthetic. For completionists though, there is a lot to try to unlock.

The standard game features what you would expect—match play and stroke modes. If you have played any of the Hot Shots games then you know what to expect. In fact, if you have played any of the recent Hot Shots games, then you have played this game, just with a few cosmetic differences. Take that for what you will. This game does not innovate, but instead offers a very familiar formula to a potentially new audience. If you are burned out on the franchise, this game won’t help. If you are new to the series or are still into the gameplay, then this game should manage to at least entertain.

Regardless of whether or not you have played the series, a few more game modes would have been nice. You don’t want to force content into a sports game, but a deeper career mode and a character creation option are notably absent.

The game’s graphics on the Vita will also be familiar to fans of the series. For those new to the franchise, the look is designed with a cartoon-like quality over realism. That means the Vita’s hardware can easily run a faithful port of its console counterparts without losing much, if anything. The animations are also smooth, and the environments look top very good most of the time. There are a few exceptions, usually with moving environments like windmills for example, but they don’t really detract from the experience. The Vita has no noticeable problems running this game at all.

hot shots golf world invitational review

The Vita’s new controls don’t really get much attention at all. The only real nod to the new Vita functionality is the inclusion of a few touchscreen controls that all utilize the camera in one way or another. That may seem like a missed opportunity, but honestly, better to not use the new control possibilities than to cram them into a game simply because people think they should be there.

There is, of course, an online side to the game, where you can enter daily tournaments–allowing you to play a designated course and enter your score into the international lists–or find a match online. Ad hoc multiplayer is available as well. They are both good additions, but somewhat limited.

Conclusion

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is best described as being inoffensive. From the first moment you pick it up, you know exactly what to expect from it at all times. That makes for a fun game, but a fairly dated one as well. For those that have played the Hot Shots games—or almost any golf game in the last five years– there isn’t really much new here.

In itself that isn’t a major issue though, since the game is still fun. The controls offer more nuance than you may first think, and the courses are well designed. More content would have been nice, but the bottom line is that the game is entertaining and accessible—it is also a steal at $29.99. It may not be the best title on the Vita, and it certainly isn’t the most ambitious, but it does what it sets out to do and delivers a fun game that anyone can enjoy.

Score: 8 out of 10

(This game was reviewed on the PlayStation Vita on a copy provided by Sony Computer Entertainment)

Gaming

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Here's how you can play your favorite PC games with a Nintendo Switch controller

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Gaming

I'm canceling my backlog for Apex Legends. Be back never

Live service games like Fortnite and Apex Legends are eating up everyone's time, leaving other games out in the cold. While my backlog continues to grow, it seems the gaming industry is struggling to keep up as well.
Gaming

Get creative and collect 15 coins with our Fortnite overtime challenges guide

The first Fortnite overtime challenges are now available. Use our guide to help you collect the hidden coins in the featured Creative mode islands and get closer to that free season eight battle pass.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Gaming

Become a champion with our beginner's guide to Apex Legends

Jumping into Apex Legends for the first time? Need help becoming a champion? Our Apex Legends beginner's guide has 15 tips and tricks that will hopefully help your team make it into the champion's circle.
Gaming

Buy a new Switch console and get a $35 eShop gift card at some retailers

Multiple retailers are currently offering the Neon Blue and Red Nintendo Switch console with a free $35 eShop gift card. The system still costs the standard $300 and includes Joy-Con controllers and the dock.
Gaming

Thrive in the nuclear apocalypse with our Metro Exodus survival guide

Metro Exodus is a difficult shooter, especially if you're new to the series' blend of stealth, action, and scavenging. Here is what you need to know to survive the nuclear apocalypse.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?