Super Swing Golf Preview

We play a round with Tecmo's upcoming golf game for the Wii.

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Super Swing Golf is Tecmo's upcoming golf game for the Nintendo Wii. Because the veteran Japanese developer has made its name with games featuring ninjas, horses, robots, schoolgirls, ghosts, and monsters, Super Swing represents a new branch on its family tree. The golf game is a no-brainer for the Wii and seems poised to sit alongside Wii Sports as a pick-up-and-play title that makes intuitive use of the Wii controller.

The money you earn as you play can be used to trick out your characters.
The money you earn as you play can be used to trick out your characters.

Super Swing Golf is based on the popular PC game called Pangya Golf. The game is in the same vein as Sony's Hot Shots Golf series and finds you playing golf as one of several different, eclectic characters. You'll earn money as you play and be able to trick out your character with performance-enhancing accessories. Tecmo has stuck pretty closely to the PC game's formula and tailored it for console players and the Wii hardware.

You'll find several different modes, including a story mode, a party mode in which you can play a variety of minigames, and a traditional scoring mode in which you can try to golf your heart out. The game is set to feature a roster of at least seven playable characters, which includes a mix of some seen in the PC game and some original. You'll test your skills on a minimum of 10 playable courses (Tecmo is aiming for more), which differ in theme and environment.

At the core of the experience is Super Swing's smart control scheme, which is shaping up to be a promising mix of arcade-style accessibility and traditional golf-sim depth. The Wii controller essentially becomes your golf club. You'll have to hold it in proper golf stance and swing as you would in real life. The key difference is that the game offers some console perks to keep the experience accessible. You'll use the A button as your primary input to make selections with the Wiimote, such as your preferred hand and your shot. Once you're ready to swing, you'll tap A to switch to swinging, which queues up the in-game power meter that will fill according to how far back you pull. Once you've got the meter where you want it, you'll hit A again to finish your swing by following through. The Wii reads the speed and force of your swing, allowing a good measure of fine control that you can take further by adding spin after you get the hang of things. Players who need a hand with their swing will appreciate the game's step-by-step sequence of tutorials for you to follow as you swing that helps the action become more comfortable. In addition, you'll be able to switch clubs and your view by moving the controller with the D pad to get a better idea of the course. Though it took some getting used to, the system feels good and walks a comfortable line between arcade and sim.

The overall presentation in the game is solid and smooth but won't blow anyone away. The visuals in the game sport a stylized look that's reminiscent of Sony's Hot Shots Golf but still looks unique. The character models sport a modest amount of detail and animate well, which works for the game's cartoony look. Each of the playable characters falls into pretty conventional anime archetypes, so you can plan on seeing a nurse, urban youth, and other everyday folk on hand.

The themed environments that you'll be playing in feature some interesting hazards.
The themed environments that you'll be playing in feature some interesting hazards.

Your helpful caddy, a flying golf bag that's apparently really happy to be joining you, shows off a good amount of personality. The different courses are set in themed environments that all feature a unique look that ties in to the hazards and course layouts you'll be dealing with. The game's frame rate generally moves along at a solid pace while you're playing or having a look around the course. The audio we heard appears to be taking a low-key approach with peppy tunes, some minor voice, and assorted sound effects to complement the visuals.

Based on what we've seen, Super Swing Golf is shaping up to be a good casual title for the Wii. The game's intuitive control scheme makes good use of the system's unique controller, and the gameplay seems to be striking the right balance between sim and arcade. Furthermore, Super Swing's various modes and unlockable content should give the experience some legs once you've mastered it. We would like to have seen some online multiplayer of some kind to take advantage of WiiConnect24, but considering the game is slated to be a launch-window title, we expect the team has its hands full. If you're looking for a complement to Wii Sports or are a fan of golf games, you'll want to keep an eye out for Super Swing Golf when it ships in December.

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