The Vita’s launch titles ensured that everyone had a game they could get and be satisfied. One game in particular takes a far more effective approach; it can snag the attention of people that generally won’t want to have anything to do with golf.
The newest Hot Shots game, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, is packed full of features. You start the game with very limited equipment and two characters. As you play through the Challenge Mode more options will become available. Each character has their own perks. I initially used the starting male character as he focused on power. After awhile, I switched and used the starting female character, which plays far differently. While I wasn’t hitting the ball quite as far, the added control made hitting shots more effective.
Loyalty with the characters are achieved by simply playing with them. As it adds up, you unlock skills that can be used. Playing as the starting male, I unlocked a power shot that added 10 yards to my shot. You can only use these skills so often, but as you level up your loyalty, you get more chances to use them.
Challenge mode is extensive and features multiple tiers of rounds ending with a “boss” match. The fun part is when random rules get applied like “hitting the ball in the rough and getting two shots added as a penalty”. Playing against AI starts off easy, and if it ever becomes a challenge you can turn on “Easy Mode”. This adds to that appeal to non-golf fans so they can still have fun. It still feels challenging, too, because one screw-up can drop you down to their level during one hole.
The problem I had with Challenge Mode is that each round, you can earn a gold crown. Getting so many of these elusive crowns opens up more “boss” challenges (which, in turn, unlock more characters). What’s the problem with more objectives, you ask? They don’t actually tell you what the objective is. I randomly got one for “winning a round with five bogeys.” Up until that happened, I had no idea these objectives even existed.
A big draw to World Invitational is the Daily Tournaments. Each day, three tournaments appear. As you play through you are given an estimated rank. Watching as you rise up the ranks with every birdie is satisfying, or depressing when you lose ranks for bogeys.. Some of these tournaments even have the previously-mentioned stipulations to add some flavor.
You can also golf online with up to eight other players via Wifi. The lobby system is designed around your little charming character which you can customizae how you see fit by buying parts with credits. These are dispensed randomly, so that mustache you want may take awhile to get. I didn’t spend as much time with the online mode because I was addicted to the challenges during my playtime, but what I did experience with it was robust.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is a golf game for two audiences. Fans of golf will find it entertaining and challenging, while fans of arcade-sports games like NFL Blitz and NBA Jam can still get engaged in it. It offers enough just with the Challenges to keep you playing and entertained for a good portion of time. The trophies are all achievable and lengthy, so they will require a lot of playing. World Invitational is not a game a to overlook because “you don’t like golf”, and anyone who owns a Vita owes it to themselves to give it a go.
- Bright, colorful and charming aesthetic
- Rounds are generally quick, which make for great portable gaming
- “Easy Mode” for more casual players
- No easy way to see how to get gold crowns
- The sound effects.. I had to turn them off after a few hours.