We've already seen a few attempts at golf on DSiWare, some obviously better than others, but we haven't seen one quite like Crazy Golf yet. Instead of merely sticking with a simple miniature golf gameplay theme, the developers have instead tossed in some marble and billiard influences to liven things up a bit.
At its core, Crazy Golf is very similar to many of the other miniature golf simulations on the market, but unlike a standard putt-putt golf course this field takes place on top of a desk where you'll have to navigate your way around pencils, pens and a host of other office supplies. There are even a few levels that will bring special rules into the mix, such as the Pool golf course that requires you to knock in all of the black balls before you hit your own ball into the hole. It's these quirky additions that make the game so much fun to play and give it its distinctive feel.
The game is very intuitive and easy to pick up: you merely draw a line from your ball in the direction you wish to hit it. If you need to see other parts of the course, you can scroll around using either the edges of the touchscreen or the D-Pad. All very simple and streamlined.
There are seven courses in total to take on, each with six unique holes. You'll begin the game with one course ready for play, but you'll have to unlock the latter six courses by shooting under par on various holes. Some of the bonus courses even require you to shoot birdies or better on all of the courses leading up to them in order to access them, something you'll find quite challenging given the intricacy and difficulty of some of the later courses. As an added bonus, you'll also have the distance your ball travels measured along with the time it takes you to complete each hole, something that will ultimately keep you coming back to better your previous distances and times, moving your name higher up the local leaderboards. It's this added dimension that makes the single-player mode of the game so difficult to put down once you begin playing it.
If you're looking for some multiplayer action, there are two ways to play the game. You can select the Hot Seat mode that allows up to four players to take turns playing a stroke, passing the same DSi system around to the currently active player. Of course if you can track down some extra players with their own DSi systems and a copy of the game, you can then take on the individual holes or tournaments via wireless.
The visuals in the game might not change a whole lot as far as a theme goes, but what's there is detailed and does more than an adequate job of accurately portraying a desktop. The scrolling of the holes is quite smooth and even when the current hole is zoomed out, it still looks quite smooth and detailed. It's a bit of a disappointment not to have any music playing during each hole, but you will be treated to a catchy little tune when you are able to make par or better on a hole. But by the same token, the track that plays when you fail to make par is as annoying as it should be and you'll get used to hearing it until you're able to get a grip on the game's unique challenge.
The game combines many of the play mechanics of marbles, billiards and miniature golf and somehow rolls them all into an addictive gameplay experience that should keep players coming back for more. The lack of variety in the courses from a thematic standpoint is a bit disappointing, and you'll certainly be left wanting more, but at the very least it leaves the door open for a sequel. At the end of the day, it's difficult to complain given the sheer amount of enjoyment you're getting for your 500 Nintendo Points and given the hefty amount of replay value, you should have no trouble getting your money's worth out of this fun little miniature golf romp.