3D Ultra Mini Golf Hands-On

Sierra comes to Xbox Live Arcade with an off-the-wall adaptation of minigolfing.

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We had the opportunity to briefly play through a few holes of the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade game 3D Ultra Mini Golf at a recent Sierra press event. We're pleased to say that it's shaping up to be a good way to spend a half-hour of your time, especially since it incorporates online play.

3D Ultra Mini Golf arrives on Xbox Live Arcade early next year.
3D Ultra Mini Golf arrives on Xbox Live Arcade early next year.

As you may surmise from the title, 3D Ultra Mini Golf isn't a straight-laced re-creation of the deadly serious sport of minigolf. Instead, it's a more comedic interpretation of the pastime, with a variety of over-the-top holes and challenges to take on. In our short time with the game, we managed to explore a bit of the Old Western Ghost Town setting (which is one of the three main settings in the game, along with Wacky Science and Classic Theme Park). Courses in the Old Western Ghost Town take place, as you might expect, in the middle of a desert, with a number of theme-specific obstacles to avoid, such as squirrels that will run across the holes and attempt to interrupt the path of your ball.

The course design seems solid, despite the game still being a few months away from release. When you first tee off at a hole, you'll be pointed in what's likely the best direction for you to aim, but you can obviously adjust the direction and power of your stroke if you want to try a different tack. Getting past some of the obstacles can be frustrating if you wind up with a bad lie--just like in real minigolf--but even so, we managed to make a par and a hole in one after playing for about 15 minutes, so the game isn't overly difficult.

One of the strengths of Xbox Live Arcade is that it enables the games that launch on the service to be played online, and Sierra has announced that 3D Ultra Mini Golf will have support for four-person multiplayer across all of the 36 holes that will be included in the game. In addition, you'll be able to come across unlockable bonus themes for the holes, as well as a customizable course editor that you'll use to design your own holes (and theoretically share them online).

3D Ultra Mini Golf is currently slated to ship out to Xbox Live Arcade this winter, probably in the early months of 2007. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more details on the title as it approaches its release date.

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