Review: Pro-Putt Domo (DSiWare)

It might be cheap, but it doesn't look or play like it

When the Domo titles were first announced for the DSiWare service, many people were left unsure of what to think of them, especially given their rather inexpensive 200 Nintendo Point price tag. Now just as quickly as they were announced Nintendo has released all five titles onto the service at once. And while this Pro-Putt Domo title isn't very deep or overly content-filled, what you're getting is actually a fairly solid little putt-putt game considering it will only set you back a mere 200 Nintendo Points.

It's worth mentioning that Pro-Putt Domo is not a full-featured golf title. Instead the game presents a miniature golf-style gameplay experience that features a surprising amount of variety. Your goal on each hole is to get your ball into the flagstick hole in as few putts as possible, and you'll also be able to pick up coins along the way that can be used to unlock other game modes.

You'll face the same types of hazards that you might face on a real golf course including sand, water, trees and even patches of beautiful little flowers. Your ball will even react differently depending on what type of surface it's currently sitting on. If you're on a hard surface, you're ball will roll a lot farther than if you're on short grass, and likewise being in taller grass or sand will require you to strike the ball with a lot more force in order to make it travel long distances. You'll soon realize that the physics of the game are actually quite accurate and will have to be taken into effect if you're to be successful.

There are three modes of play in Pro-Putt Domo. Small Classic is unlocked at the beginning of the game and presents you with a short 9-hole tournament to play. If you can win the tournament and pick up enough coins along the way, you'll unlock the next mode of play, Big Open. Big Open is the full 18-hole tournament and plays pretty much identically to the Small Classic game aside from the 9 additional holes. Once again you have to win the tournament and collect the required number of coins in order to open up the practice mode. Lessons is the final mode and will allow you to practice any of the 18 holes in the game. This can be fun to see how many coins you can get on each hole in the shortest number of strokes, but the downside is that by the time you open up the Lesson mode, you'll likely already be fairly good at the game, which kind of defeats its purpose overall.

The first thing you'll notice about this title is how detailed the graphics in the game are. You certainly wouldn't expect a 200 Point title to feature this type of visual polish, but it's refreshing to see it just the same. Each hole features its own distinct look and feel and there are plenty of impressive little graphical nuances thrown into each hole for you to enjoy. This might be a bargain-priced DSiWare release, but you certainly wouldn't know it from looking at it.

Much like the visual presentation, the audio aspects are actually quite good as well. The overly cute up-tempo melodies the game makes use of won't appeal to everyone, but they're quite catchy and are easily good enough to convey the light-hearted nature the game employs. And if the solid musical score wasn't enough, the game also features some very good sound effects to go along with it. In fact about the only thing you could complain about is the fact that the musical tracks are a bit short in length and do tend to repeat quite often. Something to consider if you plan to spend large chunks of time with the game and are not overly fond of the game's cutesy musical stylings.

Conclusion

As the old adage goes, you tend to get what you pay for in this world. So the simple fact that this inexpensive little DSiWare title even begins to impress is shocking in and of itself. But the fact that it's actually a pretty solid little game and plays as well as it does turns out to be even more surprising. Barring a slight lack of replay value, there's not much this inexpensive little DSiWare title does wrong. Pro-Putt Domo might lack the depth of other feature-rich golfing titles, but its solid gameplay system and impressive audio/visual presentation make it more than worth the paltry 200 Nintendo Points it costs.