App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Remember Vista Golf? I won't blame you if you don't. It was an endless putter on mobile that came out just about a year ago. It was solid, but otherwise not particularly memorable. Vista Golf Rivals seeks to make more of an impression by offering up the same kind of putting action, but in a multiplayer context where opponents can compete using actual money. These structural changes certainly make for a more enticing game, but Vista Golf Rivals ultimately suffers from the same kinds of issues thatVista Golf did.
Mini-golf for money
Although it doesn't say so in the name, Vista Golf Rivals is a mini-golf game. There's no teeing off or chipping shots out of the bunker in this game. Instead, you'll be putting it up through fantastical greens that feature halfpipe ramps, trap doors, and (of course) windmills.
It's all very familiar stuff if you've played mini-golf games on iOS (including Vista Golf), but Vista Golf Rivals stands out in its focus on multiplayer. Specifically, Vista Golf Rivals is a multiplayer only game where two players can compete by wagering in-game currency or real money. In each match, players putt through a certain number of randomly generated holes, and the player to complete the course in the fewest shots (and shortest time) wins all the spoils.
Not paying? Still playing
Vista Golf Rivals is listed as free on the App Store, but the game pushes players to buy into the idea of investing money to wager on matches. If you're wondering whether you can play Vista Golf Rivals without paying, the answer is yes, although playing this way is a bit of a compromised experience.
Instead of putting up cash, players can wager in-game currency that is granted to players over time or by winning matches. Using this currency, you can challenge players in tournaments of varying stakes, but playing this way is referred to as “Practice.” All other forms of the game require a cash buy in and are considered the core of the game.
Same golfing gaffes
The added dimension of multiplayer—particularly the high stakes nature of it—makes Vista Golf Rivals a much more exciting game than the first. Unfortunately though, the core action of the game still very much feels like the original Vista Golf, which isn’t ideal.
It’s still hard to see your way around random obstacles in the course, and the power arrow that extends from your shot is still misleading. These problems can be frustrating when playing a single-player mini-golf game, but when the stakes are higher and you’re playing with real money, these problems feel downright unacceptable.
The bottom line
Vista Golf Rivals can deliver some heart-pounding multiplayer, but it still isn’t quite the golf game you want. Without changing the core problems of the original Vista Golf’s gameplay, Shallot Games created an experience that is infuriating, particularly if playing it as intended: with real money. Perhaps in the next iteration of Vista Golf we’ll see much needed improvements to the game’s core, but until then, I wouldn’t bet on this game.