App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Golf is all about efficiency. Expertise in the sport literally revolves around doing less. Unlike many other video game adaptations of golf, 100% Golf wholly embraces this idea, and it does so in a way that is original yet immediately understandable. On this conceptual level, I really appreciate 100% Golf, but playing it leaves a bit to be desired.
100% Golf looks like a typical retro-inspired golf game. You have an overhead view of each course presented in a minimal pixel art style. To play, you can drag and release anywhere on the screen to line up your shots and control their power.
There are a few things that set 100% Golf apart from other golf games, but the main one is how scoring works. As opposed to counting the number of strokes it takes you to complete a hole, this game rewards you for using as little power as possible across all your strokes. Another departure from typical golf is that this game treats every swing as a putt, so you have to navigate around water hazards and sand traps as opposed to over them.
Players have a finite amount of power allotted to them on each hole, which is represented by a percentage meter. As you drag on the screen to align shots, you can see exactly how much power you'll be using on each shot. The ultimate goal is to preserve as much energy as possible while still completing the course, as the total leftover energy you have by the end of a full round determines your final score.
100% Golf has three preset courses available for players to compete for top scores on. It also has an Endless Mode that serves up procedurally generated courses for when you want a break from score chasing. To gain access to all of the courses and modes though, you'll have to prove your skills on the first couple of courses by scoring a respectable par.
Better in practice
100% Golf elegantly repackages the core tenets of golf into a simple mobile package, but its simplicity also works against it. Once you get past the initial novelty of its concept, the game itself limits its appeal to dedicated score chasers or folks who want a simple distraction.
This is totally fine, especially considering 100% Golf is free to download (with an option to remove ads for $1.99). For me though, I was ready to move on with the game once I unlocked each course and posted a score for each, which didn't take particularly long. Without some other incentives or information that could lead me to believe I could get better at the game and feel some satisfaction in that, 100% Golf is a fleeting experience.
The bottom line
100% Golf has an attention-grabbing concept, but it struggles to keep you engaged with it. Perhaps this is intentional. Some people look to mobile games for ephemeral distractions. If this sounds like you, 100% Golf is probably exactly the kind of game you're looking for. If not, there's nothing stopping you to check it out anyway. Just know that you can get a good percentage of the enjoyment 100% Golf offers by just watching gifs of it.