Hands-onSwingerz Golf

We check out a near-final build of Eidos' upcoming GameCube golf game.


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We had a chance to check out a near-final build of Eidos Interactive's upcoming GameCube golf game, Swingerz Golf. The game is being put together by Japanese developer Telenet and published in the US under Eidos' Fresh Games label. The game is a breezy arcade-style take on golf in the vein of the Hot Shots Golf series seen on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles.

The game will offer a number of play modes: tour, training, stroke play, match play, and minigame. Tour mode is a standard career mode wherein you'll unlock a sizable number of elements and have the opportunity to improve your chosen golfer. You'll be able to choose from just two players initially, but you'll find a small horde of eclectic characters, each with unique strengths and weaknesses, to unlock and bulk up by purchasing items for them. Training mode lets you hone your game on any of the game's courses in a variety of weather conditions to prepare yourself for a real match. Stroke and match play games let you take on up to three other friends or CPU opponents. Finally, the minigame mode will let you try a nice assortment of fast-paced games that offer a good amount of variety.

Graphically, Swingerz Golf offers a clean, cartoony look that suits the game's tone. The cast of golfers and caddies is a motley crew of archetypes ranging from bikers to soldiers to robots. Each golfer is cleanly rendered and offers simple detail and good animation. The various courses are nicely done, featuring just enough detail to complement the action without overpowering it. However, while the game offers a pretty mellow visual experience most of the time, you'll find some loopy effects used to highlight powerful shots or other displays of skill.

In terms of control, Swingerz Golf features a unique setup that uses the C stick to determine the power and direction of your shot. You'll pull back on the stick to build up power and push it forward to determine distance. The interface offers a pleasantly tactile experience that keeps you engaged during a game, though you may find that the setup takes a bit of getting used to, mostly because when you push forward it's possible to have a negative effect on your ball's direction if you happen to veer too far left or right. Once you get the hang of it, however, you'll be pleased by the amount of control and precision it affords.

Swingerz Golf has come together nicely and should be a solid entry in the GameCube library, which is a bit anemic in the golf department. The game will ship this week for the GameCube, so fans of golf games can look for it soon.

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