This challenging minigolf game boasts well over 100 different holes as well as tools to create and share your own.
Planet Minigolf's online options (local multiplayer is also available) are on a par with those in many full-priced retail games. You can upload replays to YouTube; play ranked or unranked matches with singles, doubles, or team scoring; and--most impressive of all--quickly jump into games on player-created courses, regardless of whether or not you've downloaded them previously. Finding the most popular and highest-rated player-created holes and courses is also very easy using different filters, though there's no good system in place for finding your own holes after uploading them--which you need to do before you can add them to custom courses. Before you're permitted to upload a hole that you've created, you need to play it yourself and successfully complete it in 15 shots or less, so while there are plenty of custom holes that seem designed by sadistic individuals, you're never going to be confronted by one that's impossible.
Creating your own holes and courses is surprisingly easy, and you can reasonably expect to be play-testing your holes within five or 10 minutes of commencing work on them. You start out by choosing one of the four locales and one of the three areas therein, and then you just select pieces from the easy-to-navigate menus and put them together however you see fit. There's a grid that you have to adhere to, and the budget that determines how many items you can use on a single hole is a little restrictive, but it's certainly possible to make holes every bit as good as those included with the game. There are loads of differently shaped fairway pieces to work with, and once those are in position, you can fine-tune your creations with the addition of both static and animated obstacles (including some clever and not-so-clever set pieces), dynamic objects that are light enough to get moved around when your ball hits them, and power-ups. You also need to settle on positions for both the tee and the pin before you can test or upload your creation, of course.
Power-ups, which could so easily detract from a game of this sort, are implemented well in Planet Minigolf. There are eight to choose from, and when they're carefully positioned in courses that are designed to take advantage of them, they make for some interesting challenges. For example, a pin that's positioned far from the tee with no obvious path between the two might be reached using a feather that makes your ball fly for a time. And a pin that's difficult to get to because it's situated atop a large ramp is a far less daunting prospect when you've got a magnet that you can trigger to suck your ball in once it's within range. Other power-ups include a pump that makes your ball bigger, glue that makes your ball stop much more quickly, and a PlayStation 3 controller that lets you steer your ball left and right by tilting your controller. You can hold only one power-up at a time, but because you can pick up one while using another, some of the best and most challenging hole designs still require you to use two or three power-ups in the same shot. Some of the later holes can be very frustrating, especially if you fail them and add 15 shots to your score at the end of a round that was otherwise below par, but you rarely feel cheated, because--infrequent anomalies notwithstanding--the rules and physics are always consistent.
Planet Minigolf is a good, well-presented package that has the potential to keep you playing for weeks and months as more player-created and downloadable content is added. It's inevitable that you'll get frustrated from time to time, but at least you don't have to worry about lost balls, slow players in front of you, or holes in varying states of disrepair like you would in real life. There's plenty of fun to be had here, and the price of admission is reasonable even if you bring the whole family.