Flick Golf 3D is yet another touch-based mobile game to receive a port onto Nintendo's handheld, having previously been launched in its original incarnation around five years ago on iOS. The title is both accurate and misleading at the same time; there's plenty of flicking to be had, but not too much golf. Flick Golf 3D is essentially a high-score target practice game presented within a golf theme and (thankfully) minus any annoying micro-transactions or in-game ads.
Your first steps are to learn how to play; there's a brief tutorial which takes you easily and painlessly through the basic mechanics. When the ball is in play, everything is controlled via the touchscreen, including the camera controls. A flick of the stylus launches your ball into the air (following the trajectory of your stroke direction) with shot strength dictated by how long each stroke is. There are no clubs to select from; just aim for the hole and swipe. Once the ball is airborne, you are able to magically alter its direction by madly swiping where you'd like it to land, as well as adding spin for landing. There's a handy trail coming off your ball, which changes colour according to whether or not you've applied topspin or backspin, a left curve or a right curve. Using these basic controls, it's fairly straightforward to coax the ball into landing and rolling exactly where you'd like it to end up. You'll also need to take into account the changing wind conditions for each shot and amend your strategy accordingly.
Tutorial completed, it's time to head out for a round of golf. However it's disappointing to find the golf courses on offer are not strictly speaking golf courses at all, but a series of holes requiring a single shot to reach them. There are no pars or birdies or eagles in Flick Golf 3D - gameplay consists of hitting a number of one-off shots to achieve the highest score possible; how many shots depends on the mode selected. It's worth pointing out that across all three modes there are no multiplayer options to be had; Flick Golf 3D is a solo experience only.
The first of these modes is Quickshot; an against-the-clock race to rack up as many points as you can within 90 seconds. It's possible to gain additional time by sinking a hole-in-one or landing close to the flag within one of the marked score zones, which are defined by an archery-style target / boundary system of circles. Land outside of the outermost boundary and it's no points, no extra time. Bonus points are gained through meeting certain criteria, such as hitting the pin or sinking a hole-in-one with no bounces.
World Tour mode sounds like it should be the real meat on the bones, but it's basically the same again only instead of being against the clock, each course of holes only allows for nine shots to build up the points. Trophies are gained by reaching tiered score targets and you'll need to keep collecting these to unlock the later courses (six in total) which are each themed on a different scenic location. Although as mentioned already, it's a little bit of a misnomer to call them 'courses' – each location is played around a single hole and the impression of moving around a golf course comes from taking shots at different tee-off points dotted around the environment.
The third and final game mode is Quickshot Pro; a much tougher version of Quickshot with a harsher time limit. Unlocking the later courses in this mode requires speed and skill and it provides a welcome manic panic-inducing change from the more sedate World Tour mode.
It's clear from the initial set-up, accessibility and throw-away gameplay that Flick Golf 3D has firm roots in mobile gaming, but pleasingly it's helped along by some lovely well-drawn visuals and stereoscopic 3D effects. The high-score based gameplay is addictive in short doses; however it's a shame to find no online leaderboards with which to try for bragging rights - there is some limited StreetPass score sharing functionality for Quickshot mode only.
Flick Golf 3D isn't going to win any awards for being an epic golf game, but it is a well-made handheld score attack title, as well as one of the better mobile-to-3DS transitions. Developer Full Fat has clearly made an effort to optimise for the platform, which is refreshing to see. While you won't be playing for hours on end (and variety is a little thin on the ground), Flick Golf 3D is worth grabbing this for those moments when you don't have time to sink into a gaming session, or need a bit of light relief. Come at this without expecting anything earth-shatteringly deep and there's some fun to be had here, albeit in small doses.