Review: Gummy Bears Mini Golf (Wii)

Gummy Bears Mini Golf
Publisher: Storm City Entertainment
Developer: Storm City Entertainment
Genre: Sports
Release Date: 09/30/2010

A mini-golf game on the Wii could be a wonderful thing. Imagine giant obstacles with created with no concern for the physics of the real world. We could see a truly entertaining, imaginative, fun game. Do we get that? Let’s tee up for Gummy Bears Mini Golf, and see what par for the course looks like.

1. Story/Modes

There is no story, only golf. You and up to three friends can play mini-golf in the land of the Gummy Bears. There are four courses you can attempt, but they are very short. You must reach a certain score total in each course to unlock the next courses. There is a free-play that you can choose to do, but if you haven’t unlocked further courses, you’re just going to play the same few levels again. The levels change their theme, but there is nothing that ties one course to another aside from which quarter of the game-map it rests on.

Story/Modes: Bad


2. Graphics

Aside from the celebratory burst of joy when you land a ball in a hole, the graphics here are just plain bad. Sinking a putt gets you flowers, hearts, and bubbles streaming out of the hole. Everything else is flat, featureless, and bland. Trees in the background are green or white circles on top of brown sticks. The courses are checkered patterns with ugly grass textures. The bears you’ll be playing as are, technically, gummy. There’s nothing fun about them though, they are just single-colored blobs in a bear shape. I wish the developers would have tried to do something like adding translucence for a few of them, like actual gummy bear candy.

Graphics: Pretty Poor

3. Sound
Game soundtracks should fit the mood of the title. Sadly, this music put me to sleep. It sounds like something you’d hear in a nursery at nap-time. It’s quiet, it’s boring, and it just isn’t good. The crowd noises are tolerable, but they sound like they were ripped straight out of Wii Golf.

Sound: Pretty Poor

4. Control and Gameplay

So far, this hasn’t been a good day at the golf course for these Bears. But, as we know, great controls can often save a game from obscurity and propel it into the upper echelons of quality. Sadly, the opposite is true here-bad controls make this game stand out in ignominy. Making a golf game for the Wii should be a simple task of mapping the swings of the club to the swings of the Wii-mote. Instead, the Wii-mote is designed so that the swings just build up a power bar. Once you release the A button, even if you’re standing completely still, the game puts all the force you’ve developed into the swing. There’s no motion control here, just a standard “Do this to build up power” mechanic. To make things worse, there’s no way to back off the power you’ve created. Swing too much, and you just launch the ball careening off the sides of the course. Adjustments to your aim are easy enough to make, but really, that’s just not going to cut it if the basic swing mechanic is broken.

Control and Gameplay: Dreadful

5. Replayability
At least Gummy Bears Mini Golf offers some fun in the way of replay. The courses all have a series of coins running down the middle, and you can collect them by rolling across them with the ball. Doing this allows you to shop for items to customize your Bear. There are some fun things you can buy, such as pirate hats, different colors for you balls, interesting putters, and even special effects trails that follow your ball. Sadly, the act of getting these items is so boring and painful that it is very rarely worth the effort.

Replayability: Poor


6. Balance

Remember the obstacles I had hoped for early on in this review? Sadly, they aren’t to be found. The difficulty of this game comes chiefly in trying to control the putter. Most holes are par 2 or 3, and simple mistakes early can cost you a lot of strokes. Since it isn’t possible to adjust your stroke if you aren’t happy with how the power is going, you’ll end up knocking a lot of balls further than you want. On the plus side, you only have to aggregately par the course to move on. So if the holes are par two, par three, and par three, you have to keep your total strokes below eight to move forward. If there was a reward to do so, this could be justified, but the courses all just ramble around in relatively flat patterns. There’s a few hills to climb, but nothing that makes you want to.

Balance: Poor

7. Originality
How bad is it if all the cool things happen in the background? The Fairy Tale world, which is the first world you’ll play in, has a bunch of giant Nutcracker soldiers in the background. Why am I not golfing with them? Or trying to hit my shots through their legs? The second level is an Adventure park-themed mess. There’s pirate ships and treasure chests in the background, but I keep taking shots down a boring putting green.

Originality: Worthless

8. Addictiveness
Sadly, this is a game I had to force myself to play through. The controls are a nightmare, and the events on screen did nothing to keep me interested. This is not a game that lends itself to long-term play. There might have been a few moments of “What’s happening next?” but they were quickly quashed by the answer of “The same thing you’ve already done.”

Addictiveness: Awful


9. Appeal Factor

Putting a mini-golf game out on the Wii as a full release could have been great. I really wanted to like this title, but it just kept getting in the way of itself. If the developers had done anything exciting or imaginative with it, this could have been a great game. As is, the basic Wii Golf game on Wii Sports is vastly, vastly superior.

Appeal Factor: Very Bad

10. Miscellaneous
Keeping gamers happy requires a lot of intuitive programming choices. The shopping interface on this title is just another problem with the game. As I browsed and purchased my items, there was no choice to “use now.” I assumed that after buying a black ball, a lightning bolt trail, and a pirate hat, I’d be able to see them on my bear the next time I went golfing. No such luck, so I went back to the customization screen, and I found that I had to assign them. So I did, but activating the trail effect turned my ball back to the default. Activating the ball color option got rid of the trail. This didn’t need to be so frustrating.

Miscellaneous: Dreadful

The Scores
Story: Bad
Graphics: Pretty Poor
Sound: Pretty Poor
Control and Gameplay: Dreadful
Replayability: Poor
Balance: Poor
Originality: Worthless
Addictiveness: Awful
Appeal Factor: Very Bad
Miscellaneous: Dreadful
FINAL SCORE: BAD GAME!

Short Attention Span Summary

I really wanted to like Gummy Bears Mini Golf. Putting around interesting courses with video-game inspired obstacles could have been wonderful. Instead, bad graphics, pathetic sounds, and awful controls keep this game from being any fun. Completely sinking the game is the way that the backgrounds are more interesting than the holes themselves. In a game where you could have done anything, the designers have decided to do the bare minimum, and do it badly.

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