Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational ReviewRando Evans
Hot Shots Golf has always pulled off one thing off: even if you absolutely hate or can't play golf in real life, the series can still pull you in, making the non-golfer somehow enjoy golf. Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is the newest installment of the series and has the same potent magic as its predecessors.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is set up like past hot shot games (and many golfing games before it). You're going to have to monitor wind speed/direction, club positioning, course hazards – and once you've taken in consideration of all these things and made your mental calculations, you'll select the proper club, take a swing and hope for the best. There are a few different power/curve gauges you can pick from to suit your tastes, but it will still rely on you hitting the button at just the right time on these gauges.
Of course Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational carries over that bright, cute happy look of the other Hot Shots games, along with the often annoying voices and cheers of the caddies and playable golfers. Each character will bring their own skills to the table, with the ability to level up via the loyalty system in which the more ‘loyal' you are to a certain playable golfer, the more skills they will pick up. But it often gets frustrating when there are so many possible unlockable players to choose from. For better or worse, unlockable content seem endless: new golfers, new outfits, new equipment, etc. etc. You will be unlocking things for quite some time, and it may seem you'll grow tired of the game before you unlock everything.
Controls are still fairly basic, but the addition of some of the Vita touch features help in navigating your character around the course or moving through menus. Though most of the touch control elements seem best fitted for camera and POV manipulation, along with character positioning; it's good that there's no requirement to make your fingers dance in all sorts of wacky ways on the touch pad to pull of one single golf swing.
A multiplayer mode is also included where you can compete against other players with a daily leaderboard showing you the rise and falls of scores. If you are a competitive gamer, then Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is the game for you. With the portability of the Vita, you can pull out your system whenever you have a break or a long bus/train ride and swing away to get your score back up to the top.
However be warned – whether you choose the 9-hole course or the eighteen hole courses, you'll find that both feel lengthy. And even with Hot Shots being an easy to approach golfing game by the non-golfer, there will be plenty of golf terms kicked around that will take some research to figure out what they mean. Also frustrating is that sometimes it feels as if everything is luck rather than calculation and skill. One moment you'll be making nice swings one after another, and the next minute you'll be hitting the ball into sand traps and pongs, your ball shooting in all sorts of wacky angles. Even worse is that if you don't come in at number one in a tournament, you won't gain any points (or gold stars in the case of this game) to unlock anything in the store. This means after an hour or more of gaming, at the last moments you could fudge your number one slot and not gain anything. This is extremely frustrating.
Overall though, the Hot Shots golf experience transfers pretty well over to the Vita, and while it isn't the greatest golf game ever, it's good to have the portability so we can play Hot Shots wherever we go. Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational certainly is not going to make you run out and buy a Vita (and that's not its intention by any means) but it's a nice addition to the collection of games that will keep you busy while on an airplane or in the backseat of a long car ride.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.