Everybody’s Golf doesn’t get enough credit in the west. Its blend of simple but rewarding gameplay, big-eyed Japanese manga golfers and shiny bright courses represent a best-in-class standard for the arcade golf genre. For all that Mario Golf and Wii Golf may try, none can stand up to the prolonged class of Everybody’s Golf.
For better or for worse, this Vita edition of the hit-little-ball-in-hole outing is no different to what we’ve seen before. Almost all of the Vita’s unique input features have been abandoned, the design team instead opting for a classic, button-led, approach.
The rear touch pad can be used to give you a reading of how far a given point is from both you and the hole, balls can be positioned on some tees and swiping across the front screen causes a wind to blow that disturbs trees and any rogue leaves that have come to rest on the ground. That is literally it.
Whatever the case, Everybody’s Golf is not the game you should be looking at to get a feel for what the Vita is capable of.
However, it is the game you should be looking at for a round of golf on courses in which wild bears roam freely and yet there has still to be a single mauling. The classic three strike input system (initiate>set power>set accuracy) works as well as it always has, offering a familiar arena in which to test your skills.
Primarily, it’s the ‘Challenge’ mode that will occupy your time. A single player game type in which you take on the CPU in courses of nine or 18 holes, Challenge mode earns you stars which can be used to fill up your inventory with new clubs, courses, balls, outfits and characters.
Challenge mode also earns you Loyalty for playing as the same character frequently. Like XP, Loyalty provides you with stat boosting powers which prevent the default cast list becoming defunct in the face of purchasable golfers. Like everything else here, Loyalty is simple but does enough to engage your attentions and make itself worthwhile.
Visually it looks lovely thanks to colourful crisp character models and bright course design. From the games I’ve played so far, the Vita handles lighter shades better than it does darker ones and Everybody’s Golf is a great advert for that. The overly cute Japanese character styling may not be for everyone, but it’s undeniably cute and once again shows that the land of the rising sun is better than most at creating lovable mascots.
Everybody’s Golf has another advantage in that the game of golf itself is great for playing on the go as it’s easy to pause a session between holes, or even between shots. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m reviewing this game, I probably wouldn’t play it at any time other than when travelling.
There’s not enough depth to justify long play sessions, but long sessions are not really the point here. What Everybody’s Golf does is provide a great escape in short bursts and it packs just enough in to keep you coming back to it time and again.