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Pocket Golf Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 50%
Pocket Golf
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  • Review Score:

  • C
Golf on the portable consoles is always a crap shoot. With the limited consoles, the limited power, and especially the limited screen area, golf games on portable consoles can be quite easy to screw up. Last year I covered one that got it right (Awesome Golf on the Atari Lynx) and one that made some screw-ups (Fred Couples Golf on the Game Gear). Pocket Golf largely falls into the latter camp.

This Japanese release came from Bottom Up, the same company that provided the Dreamcast's only golf game Tee Off, and you can see a couple of major similarities. The characters are super-deformed and even include some character designs that seem like such blatant copycats that the company behind Hello, Kitty should sue. Also like Tee Off, Pocket Golf is incredibly easy. I had absolutely no trouble getting the shots I wanted. I think a shank is only possible if a player actually TRIES to screw up.

Pocket Golf (Game Boy)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Even though the game's menus and some text is in Japanese, the game is still fully playable. Strangely, the modes only include match play (with link cable support) and tournament (complete with passwords). This is the only golf game I'd ever seen that didn't have a stroke play option, the most basic of modes when it comes to golf. Controls are simple and work. The visuals are clear and quite good for the 8-bit Game Boy. There isn't even the potential for eyestrain that hurt Fred Couples Golf on the Game Gear. Even the music is pleasant if a bit simplistic.

Unfortunately, the game has two major glaring problems that prevent me from recommending the import. First, as I mentioned, the game is extremely easy. Not only are the shot mechanics on the overly simplistic side, but also the computer opponents are absolute pushovers. The only part that provided any challenge at all was putting since the aiming cursor is not that precise. Even so, I birdied the vast majority of the holes I played. Even worse is that the cartridge has only one course. I don't care that it's the original Game Boy; one course in 1998 is virtually inexcusable. It is a well-designed course that provides the only semblance of a challenge in the whole game, but it is still just one course.

Pocket Golf would be a decent choice for very little kids or the most extreme of novices in the genre, but I can't recommend it for anyone that has any real skill at golf games. Golf is a genre that's well-represented on the Game Boy. There are far better options for those wanting a challenge. Regrettably, there is such a thing as "too easy", and Pocket Golf fits that description to a tee.
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