To start things off I should mention, I’m a fan of the Hot Shots Golf series, but I’m not a golfer. Also, I haven’t played every release in the series consistently. The last Hot Shots Golf game I played before this one was on the PSP and I loved it, but prior to that…..it’s been a while. Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is another iteration from Clap Hanz, in the long line of Hot Shots games which first appeared back on the PlayStation 1.
This time making its way to the new PlayStation Vita and I have to say, I’m fully impressed with this launch title. I bought it on release day and have been playing it almost daily ever since. Largely in part to the Daily International Tournaments and Challenge courses. World Invitational looks great, plays great, and has a VERY HIGH replay value. I definitely recommend owning this one.
At The Touch of A Button
While the Vita-specific functions aren’t that impressive, they do add fun to the game that wasn’t there
before, but not much else in the way of necessity. All menu options are touchscreen
enabled and accept button input. When on the tee you can swipe a camera icon to
change your view, which actually can be rather helpful when determining the
wind direction after dropping a few blades of grass. On the green you will
encounter leaves laying in your putt path which with the swipe of a finger can
rustle them out of the way. But this is one of those “added features”
that does little to change gameplay. If you decide not to swipe the leaves out
of the way, it doesn’t affect your putt at all. So, neat feature, but not as
important in the way it was implemented. Another option lets you “free-look”
around the course by moving your Vita around the room like a camera. Again,
this feature is interesting, but I tried it once to experience it, then never touched it again.
In the shop you can buy clothing items and accessories from
little quarter machines, and in order to make the purchase you have to rotate
the machine crank around and around until your item pops out. It’s simple, but
immensely satisfying. Making those lengthy purchases a fun experience, instead
of just a simply button press over and over as fast as you can until your
broke. Touching the back touchscreen while on the course will pop up a marker
displaying information about ground height and distance from your location.
This marker can be moved around by dragging your finger, giving you a quick lay
of the land. To be honest I didn’t use this feature much, but I did use it on
occasion and I can see the usefulness of it. All in all, the HSG makes good use
of the Vita functions, but some feel more like missed opportunities than a
More Than Just Golf
As you would expect from any HSG game, there are unlockables galore! With over 12 characters to unlock each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, you won’t have trouble finding a golfer that fits your style and golfing requirements at the same time. World Invitational offers several different modes of play to keep you busy too. Single player offers Challenge, Stroke and Training modes. Training allows you to practice and try anything/everything with just the right setup. Stroke mode allows you to play courses to achieve your personal best course score. Challenge mode is more like the story mode as it were.
The challenges are broken up into ranks, with each rank having 6 unique challenges, (5 challenges and 1 playoff vs character) you unlock new ranks (and thus more challenges) by beating enough stages, earning you stars for each successful challenge. If that weren’t enough, after completing all that, you have the option to earn “Crowns” by completing specific requirements during each challenge. Some are easy enough, but most are no joke. As you play you earn money…how much depends on how well you play. Your money can then be spent on unlocking new golfers, new equipment, new courses, new gear, and new outfit items. There’s enough to unlock to keep you busy for months!
Compete In Tournaments
The online is done well in Hot Shots Golf World Invitational too. You can check rankings, play with others in regular online matches, or participate in the online Daily International Tournaments. These were always my favorite. Each day 3 courses were offered in tournament mode for you to compete against the world. At midnight each day the tournament results were tallied and results were posted the next morning. All sorts of parameters are measured and scored allowing for long lasting leaderboard competition to go on aggressively for some time. (NOTE: Just recently changes were made to the Daily International Tournament to allow for weekly tournaments to produce new winners each week, instead of one overall lifetime leaderboard, that made it hard for new comers to catch up. I’ve yet to experience this much, but so far it seems awesome, and just as fun/addictive)
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is a great game, and one that really stands out in the Vita launch lineup. HSG has a way of sucking you in and not letting you go. This game is no different. I've enjoyed every minute of this game and I can easily recommend this to any gamer as a must own title. It looks great, plays great, and has a VERY HIGH replay value. What more can you ask for out of a game!
Touchscreen controls are a fun addtion
Take Hot Shots with you anywhere
Campaign advancement can tough at times
Some Vita functions feel tacked-on
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