I’m a big fan of games that support user generated content. Not only does it stretch the longevity of a game to a massive degree, but it keeps the experience fresh and unique for each play-through. Infinite Minigolf not only does that, but it also supports cross platform sharing, which is to say that if you pick this up, you’re not tethered to the creations from a single base. In essence what this means is that Infinite Minigolf houses a vast amount of content that can literally keep you going for as long as the gameplay keeps you engaged. Though with that in mind, and the biggest question I had to ask myself whilst playing, does the gameplay outstay its welcome?
My first issue was immediately apparent, and although this is hardly a game breaking experience, it’s one that needs addressing (or filtering, to be more precise) as soon as possible. Infinite Minigolf is chock-full of crappy maps that look as though they’ve been slapped together by a band of clueless chimps. I completely appreciate that this game is open to all ages, and even the youngest of minds are going to have a pop at crafting a course, but for those of us that want to soak up the truly innovative layouts, there’s a lot of digging to do. The Course Browser is a decent enough system, but it needs some strong functions to filter out the poor designs from the interesting designs. It doesn’t help that an achievement is set specifically for fans to create a course, which will naturally lead many to just create something quick and simple to pop the G.
With that to the side, this game is one hell of an addictive experience. I’ve sunk several hours into Infinite Minigolf so far, and don’t plan on putting it down anytime soon. It helps that the game is super easy to pick up and play. Your main control over the ball is tied to the analog, in which you pull it back to adjust the power of your swing, and flick it forward to follow the swing through. It really cannot get any easier than that. You can score additional points via collecting pickups, or you can aim for some powerups, which adds a layer of insane fun to the mix. The implementation of the powerups is (for me) what makes the game so thrilling. You can pick up magnets that will gravitate your ball to the hole, you can pick up springs that will bounce your ball, or even pick up a powerup that gives you direct control over the ball, and much more.
The scoring system is determined by a number of factors, such as ricochets, swings, and so on and so forth. This means that you’ll need to balance a well aimed shot with some degree of daring, if you really want to reap the best score. It also means that there’ll be some slight pressure on those that plan to create a decent course, taking these factors into account. It’s quite hard to judge how populated this game will be at the current time of typing, but from what I can tell, there at least seems to be a few good community crafted designs to enjoy. Hopefully this picks up some traction, but I doubt it will be as populated (despite cross content sharing) than something inline with the likes of the Trials titles. It goes without saying that the developer created content is the best there is right now.
Progression in the game is largely based on working to unlock challenges and new gear for your avatar. It’s not overly taxing at first, but the game does house quite a steady difficulty curve that will eventually make you work hard for your gains. There’s a lot of replay value on this front alone, and the amount of gear you can unlock for your avatar is both vast and varied enough to keep you playing for hours on end. The user generated content can be accessed via online multiplayer or in Quick Play, which is a mode that has you taking on random stages, one after the other. You can also dive into (the aforementioned) 12 dev-designed tournaments that take place over three different levels of difficulty.
Mercifully, the editor is very easy to use and gives you all the tools you need to make your very own intricate course. It’s fantastic that the game makes you play through each created course before uploading it, to ensure that what you have crafted can actually be completed. It doesn’t help to dial down on the bland courses that you’ll witness in the user generated content sections of the game, but it’s good to know that all uploaded courses have been tried and tested first. Hopefully the tools in the editor will be expanded upon throughout the lifespan of the game, but what’s already available is more than enough to keep the courses interesting for the foreseeable future.
Another gripe I have with Infinite Minigolf is that it hardly pushes the hardware to its limit. The visuals are quite bland and not detailed well enough to justify what I would call current gen standards. Don’t get me wrong it’s not an ugly game by any means, but everything from each set piece, right up to your female or male avatar, lacks that added coat of polish to bring the game to life. I also think that the lack of explanation when it comes to the controls and the UI will be one of the main complaints, being that it looks like a direct port from touch screen devices, thanks to the large icons that litter the screen. Then again when you take the price tag into account, which is generously set for how much content and longevity you’re getting, these flaws are small trade-offs in the grand scheme of things.
Infinite Minigolf is certainly a game that you don’t want to overlook. The amount of longevity you will get thanks to the cross platform shared user generated content is enough to keep you entertained for as long as the gameplay keeps you engaged. Unfortunately the lack of visual polish, the lack of control and UI explanation, and the volume of tacky maps that plague the Course Browser, pulls the otherwise fun experience down to some degree. If however you can forgive those small faults, you’re in for a good time. Infinite Minigolf remains challenging throughout, and the constant drive towards new gear and unlocks will give you something to lean on, from beginning to end. This is all tied up by a decent editor that will hopefully be utilised better as the game begins to pick up more traction and population.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.