Fun! Fun! Minigolf TOUCH! might lay it on a bit thick with its overly exclamatory title, but it does a decent job of summing up the first 3DS eShop game from long-time Nintendo supporter Shin'en Multimedia.
It's worth saying right off the bat this isn't a portable version of WiiWare original Fun! Fun! Minigolf: while that was intended as a party game, this is a single-player only experience, with 81 holes compared to WiiWare's 27. While the first course is the same as WiiWare's nine holes, the new Japan and Europe courses are brand new.
With this now being a single-player experience, Shin'en is aiming to keep you coming back by giving you in-game currency to spend on unlocking new courses and trick shot challenges, novelty clubs and the ability to play as your Mii. It'll take a good few hours to amass enough gold to unlock everything, too.
Naturally the controls have changed slightly since WiiWare. While you can use the buttons to set the direction, power and spin of your shot, there are also intuitive touch screen controls: pull the stylus back to set the power and release in time with a pendulum-like yellow dot to add spin to the ball. It's accessible and works well, and while it's not quite as responsive as button controls it's a welcome option.
One thing that does survive from WiiWare is likely to divide players. Each hole has a marked zone around the pin that's classed as "in bounds" – if you don't land your shot in this area it's classed as out of bounds and you have to retake your shot. There's no play where it lays here; if you can't get it in the zone from your tee shot, you'll have to keep trying. Some will see this as frustrating and repetitive, but it does lend the game an extra air of skill, and it's satisfying to tee off and see the ball nestle just inside the safe area.
Shin'en tells us it's aiming for a lower price point for Fun! Fun! Minigolf TOUCH! than its WiiWare counterpart, which costs 900 Points, and with a release in the coming weeks it shouldn't be too long before we see if Shin'en's succeeded in creating a fairway to heaven.