Gameloft hit the tee on the head with Let’s Golf! 2, which offered a near-perfect balance of deep gameplay and cartoony style, plus tons of content to back it up. Real Golf 2011 is their attempt at a realistic golfing simulator. Unfortunately, it removes most of the factors that made Let’s Golf! 2 so excellent.
To differentiate the gameplay from its stylized cousin, Real Golf 2011 employs an advanced swinging mechanic where you swipe down and then up on a power/direction meter to hit the ball. Other new control options include the ability to either add spin to the ball or change the golfer’s stance. For those with 4th-generation devices, gyroscope controls are available as an alternative to touch for aiming, but we can’t see why anybody would use this.
The big problem with the controls is that the input feels sluggish. For example, the power meter stops moving a second or so after you hit the stop button. Also, moving the ball-landing square causes framerate dips.
If you want to play by yourself, you can choose a quick play option or dive into the campaign mode. In campaign mode, you play through a PGA tour as one of 10 big-name golfers, completing challenges along the way. Different challenges include completing a course under par, or beating an opponent on the last two holes of a course when you are back a few strokes.
As you play, you’ll level up your golfer, increase his stats, and win money for higher-tier equipment. The flaw in all of this is that more than half of your time is spent managing stats or waiting for a tournament invitation.
Are you too good for your HOME?
The AI in this game is also all over the place, with computer opponents badly botching shots on some holes and then nailing the rest. That’s where multiplayer comes in. You can play online or locally over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but hotseat multiplayer is missing. Leaderboards are handled by Gameloft Live.
Possibly our biggest aggravation with Real Golf 2011 are the hiccups in scrolling menus. When sliding your finger to navigate the menus, they jump around sporadically. It’s baffling, because Gameloft games have never suffered from this problem in the past. On the other hand, the graphics are killer, and they look particularly superb on the Retina display.
Real Golf 2011 is a bogey. It may be loaded with features, but the production feels slapped together. If you want a hole-in-one, go for Let’s Golf! 2 instead.