Developer: GAMELOFT
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Let’s Golf! was one of the first really good golf games to hit the iPhone. Now, a little over a year later, Gameloft has released Let’s Golf! 2, a sequel that improves upon the original in every way. With great graphics, solid controls, and fun variety, Let’s Golf! 2 is now the best casual golf game in the App Store.

If you’ve played Let’s Golf! — or any other casual golf game — then Let’s Golf! 2 will be immediately familiar. At the start of each shot, the computer defaults you to a recommended club and target area. You have the ability to control your clubs, your aim, and your shot. Hitting the ball is a three-tap process, with timing as they key to power and accuracy. Wind factors into your shot, as does club selection. It’s all familiar, and it all works. The controls are easy to use and perfect for a casual golf game.

In terms of game play, everything that made Let’s Golf! good has been refined for a better experience in Let’s Golf! 2. For one thing, the swing controls have been slowed down a bit, making them a little more forgiving for the casual player. The ball physics have also been improved, so that it rolls and bounces more like you’d anticipate. And, perhaps best of all, the power level has been evened out a bit, so that a slightly overpowered shot no longer sends the ball sailing over the mark (one of my biggest issues with the original). Combined, these changes let you better create the shots you want, with less frustration if your execution is less than perfect.

In addition, the visuals in Let’s Golf! 2 are better. The characters are less blocky, and their movements better animated. The greens are gorgeously detailed, with plenty of locale-specific terrain features (including animals), excellent color, and even little touches like lens flair. The interface is a little more designed. The whole thing looks slicker than the original, and it has also been optimized for iPhone 4 retina displays.

Gameloft has also added more exotic locales, like icy Greenland and a Greek course that takes you into the clouds. The cast comes with a better variety of character types (my favorite is the Scottish gent), and they’ve given each a special ability for use in-game – like being able to calm the wind before a shot, or hitting with additional power. Finally, perhaps the best addition of the game: there’s now a leveling system so that your favorite character can improve along with you.

It’s hard to say anything really bad about Let’s Golf! 2. They removed the “pass and play” multiplayer option, which I will miss; my son and I liked to play Let’s Golf! together, and he doesn’t have his own device. There’s also the annoyance of hazard animals on the green, which, in addition to being the worst-animated part of the game, are also just unnecessarily distracting (like when a fox chooses to stand over the hole, blocking your view of the putt). But these are both minor.

Gameloft did just right with Let’s Golf! 2. They gave the game more international flavor, more colorful characters, and improved game play, all while maintaining everything that made the first Let’s Golf! so great. Let’s Golf! 2 is an amazing game that any fan of casual sports games should pick up.

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