148Apps Network Post
Developer: Gameloft
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Let’s Golf 3 isn’t so much a game as much as it is a business model. Playing it, it is quite clear that this was meant to be a way to turn a golf game into a freemium game.

What is there to say about golf games that hasn’t been said before? Let’s Golf 3‘s golf gameplay isn’t anything out of the ordinary; courses take place on some outlandish and nontraditional courses, such as the moon, but otherwise this is standard golfing fare. What makes Let’s Golf 3 different is that it is a freemium golf game. Players get money and experience for completing holes, which they can use to enhance their golfer’s stats and to buy new accessories that are both cosmetic and performance-enhancing.

The game is a decent round at the links; the tried-and-true three click system that has been in golf games since time immemorial is here and it works well, with the ability to apply to spin to the ball in midair. The game also has live online multiplayer where players can earn money and experience against other players. Interestingly, all players play the same hole simultaneously instead of taking turns like in traditional golf games, with a reasonable time limit that pops up when the first player finishes the hole. This way, players can take their time, but those looking to troll by doing nothing just simply cannot.

The freemium elements of Let’s Golf 3 are the problem, because of how blatant they are. The best free-to-play games make the player feel like paying is truly optional. Let’s Golf 3 never pretends that it isn’t anything but trying to make money. From anywhere in the menu, options to buy more coins, bucks (the game’s in-app credits), and experience are easily accessible. While bucks are occasionally given out in-game, there are plenty of items that are only available with massive amounts of bucks – in this case, I mean both kinds.

The most noxious element of Let’s Golf freemium hooks is the energy meter. Players can only play holes as long as they have energy charged up, which is slowly restored over time, or can be conveniently bought with the in-app credits. Without it, the game can’t be played at all. Even multiplayer matches require a certain amount of energy to play, depending on the setup of the game. The problem with this whole energy element is that it actively discourages playing the game! I can understand limiting a player’s progress without some kind of energy, but blocking off the ability to play at all? That is just foul. Eliminate Pro, one of the first games to use this kind of energy system handled it very well, as it allowed players to play without energy, just not to get any experience or money without having it. Why can’t this game do the same? I understand the reason for going free-to-play, and I understand that Gameloft is a business and they need to make money, but surely all the other enticements to pay are enough?

In short, if Let’s Golf 3 doesn’t want me to play it, why should I? I’d rather play a golf game that’s there for me whenever I want to. I’d recommend one of the previous Let’s Golf games to play instead of this, but it appears as if Gameloft has pulled them from the App Store so golf fans would have to play this. It’s a shame, because the RPG elements and online multiplayer have incredible potential. I just can’t play it. So I won’t.

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