He’s had a long layoff and a shaky start to the PGA Tour season, but Tiger Woods is back! Well… at least on the iPhone.
Thanks to the faithful reproduction of some of the most famous courses in the world, depth of gameplay and shot selection, and presentation on par with the greatest golfer of this generation, Tiger Woods PGA Tour is arguably the best golf title on the iPhone.
Those familiar with the console editions of previous Tiger games will feel right at home with Electronic Arts’ adaptation of their signature golf franchise. From the start the game offers “Play Now” — single-game matches of stroke and match play, skins, Stableford and modified Stableford, and a shootout. And then there’s the obligatory “Tour mode.”
Realism is the name of the game — we imagine this is what playing golf is like if you’re Tiger Woods, minus the supermodel wife. Along with Woods, there are a handful of other PGA and LPGA pros, as well as your own create-a-player. As much fun as cartoon-inspired games like Let’s Golf are, there’s no substitute for dropping a shot within a yard of the pin on the island green at Sawgrass.
The seven courses are laid out with painstaking reproduction to their real-life versions. All the sea-side splendor of Pebble Beach is captured about as accurately as possible for the small screen. Yes, the rough at St. Andrews can be quite brutal, though its bunkers aren’t quite as crippling as their real-life counterparts.
Shot making is performed by a simple back and forth on the touch screen, mimicking the motion of a real swing. Imparting draws and fades are a matter of angling your finger on the downswing, similar to the trackball in Golden Tee. Punch shots, flops and chips are all available, as well. Impart spin on the ball mid-flight to control its bounce and roll. By using all of the above, you will be able to exert more control over the ball than in any other iPhone golf title. Well-executed shots earn you cash for spending in the pro shop, because there’s no better way to get better at golf than to throw a lot of money into new toys, right?
But having that much control can be a disadvantage. When you’re that good, it’s not much of a challenge if you’re playing by yourself. Putting, which is often a stressful part of the golf, is reduced to a chore thanks to a “putt preview” feature that shows the expected path of the ball. Thankfully, the game puts the pressure on players through the Tour and with pass-and-play multiplayer. Playing against other people and bots, when everyone is equally as good, makes that margin of error small enough to provide a decent challenge.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour, with its superlative level of depth and detail, is arguably the best golf title on the iPhone and most definitely worthy of its $9.99 price tag. We don’t get to say that very often.