Golf is the perfect portable sport -- broken into convenient bits, it's ideal for playing a few minutes here and there
The DS should be a great golf platform. In True Swing the upper screen shows a wide view of the course with a projected shot trajectory, while the touch screen handles the swing and fine tuning of each shot.
True Swing uses the touch screen both to select a target area of the course and to swing the club. It's a good idea, but executed with a disappointing lack of finesse. While other titles use the d-pad to give players a high degree of control over exactly where their shot will head, here the touch screen feels as if it lacks sensitivity. When on the green, the cursor almost feels as if it's skipping along in six-inch increments. Fine tuning a putt in harsh conditions becomes frustrating.
The same applies to the swing mechanic. An image of the ball appears near the top of the touch screen; players draw a line back to set power, then forward to swing. A simple graphic shows how far back to draw, while a line on the upper screen gives a real-time update as to how far the shot will go. The idea is that the speed and accuracy of the line impacts the shot, but that only works occasionally. Most of the time, you'll end up with a serviceable shot that doesn't deviate much from every other swing.
In what could be called a lucky stroke, the inaccuracies don't render the game unplayable, but neither is it very satisfying to best courses by following all the on-screen guidelines for swinging the club.
Little in the presentation will distract anyone from the nuts and bolts of play. While we don't necessarily want the colorful excesses of a Mario or Hot Shots golf game, at the same time True Swing feels almost too sedate. Technical and composed is just fine, but this is almost generic, from the middling courses to the elevator music.
There's little to the presentation other than a series of player characters, a few control icons, and the realistic but not terribly convincing courses. The approach is much like what EA has successfully used in Tiger Woods, but the DS's lack of resolution and bland music track will make some wish for a different approach.
The inaccuracy of the swing and shot placement turns into a severe handicap for the game. True Swing Golf is passively entertaining, but won't suck anyone in as quickly or for as long as Hot Shots is able to.