Mini-game and arcade-mode lovers be warned - this game offers nothing but straight, sensible golf.

User Rating: 7 | True Swing Golf DS
The Wii, and to a lesser extent the DS, as of this date, are yet to be graced by Golf title that truly makes expert use of the motion-control and touch-control respectively. "True Swing Golf", or "Touch Golf - Birdie Challenge" on Pal regions, is the most accurate attempt at swing-control made for a title on the hand-held system. The control scheme is this games real selling-point, and nine times out-of-ten, it doesn't disappoint.

The unique controls scheme asks players to take the stylus, perform a back-swing, then let fly with a forward-swing. This is accomplished by dragging a straight-line from the top to the bottom of the touch-screen, and then back again. Your speed and accuracy are derived from your quickness and straightness of your movements. Although it feels odd at first, you'll soon be at-home making great tee-off shots - those special enough are rewarded with an on-screen "Great Shot!".

The overall presentation of this game is very simple, and almost generic. The title screen, with a great shot of some unknown course, is impressive enough, but it's not long before a player will notice that menus/sub-screens in the game are for pure function - decoration is virtually non-existent. Apart from the actual game play presentation (which I'll get to), the game looks like a SNES title. However, unlike some newer titles, all navigation is made with the stylus.

As there are no licensed products, courses, or players in this game, there is a hollow feeling to the whole deal. It's strange to play a golf game devoid of logos, products and advertising, but this game has managed to do it - and the difference is quite blatant. To play, you can select between male and female, as well as a vague personality description, and you are ready to begin the exhaustive, repeat, exhaustive tournament modes.

Graphically this game is fair. Although quite colourful, you do tire of seeing course after course portrayed in the same methods - there are no crowds, and the trees do not vary all that much. That said, the game engine itself is quite simple, but effective, and it never lets you down with bad camera angles or unclear course maps. Again, like the menus, there is a feeling of emptiness about the courses. Together with this, there are occasional uses of ugly textures, as well as some bad clipping within the course geometries.

The fun lies within the games pure focus on hitting that ball. That's what it offers - complete and utter hole after hole after hole of golf. You do find yourself in a rhythm when playing this game, and it is pretty satisfying knocking over each hole quickly. There is always more to explore - this game has many courses (I'm not even sure of the amount), but it's got to rival or even better Tiger Woods for it's hole-count.

Targeting and aiming in the game is very peculiar at first, but again, after the shortcomings of the game's menus and icons are overcome, you find your own way in which to aim, draw or fade, and spin. Most holes however, are knocked over easily with simple straight-shots, applying the "power boost" with the L-button, if that so happens to be your style.

I found it a shame that the game relies so heavily on the bottom screen - a top-view of the current hole which is scrollable and zoom-able. You make your shot, and sadly, more can be told about where it's heading on the bottom screen than can be be seen on the top-screen in the true 3D representation. You find yourself staring at this bland view of the course, following the white pixel as it makes it's flight up the fairway. This map-view/top-view is useful, but ugly. And it's a bit strange that it represents the ball's progress clearer than the actual game's 3D engine. Oh well. I still can't help but imagine how much this game would of benefited from a two-screen spread of your ball traveling through the course in 3D. Bummer.

Mini-game and arcade-mode lovers be warned - this game offers nothing but straight, sensible golf. It's good golf, but remember, it's nothing too fancy, and it is a game that relies on touch-screen almost completely. Fun, but not for those without a bit of patience. In that sense then, I guess it is a true golf simulator.