Welcome to another disc golf app review here at @DoglegDiscGolf. This is the second disc golf game app review this week. If you happened to miss the first review this week on iDisc Golf Pro, you can check it out here.
Tonight, we take a look at Pocket Putt disc golf putting game app by DiscGolf2Go.com. Pocket Putt is a laid-back, flick style of disc golf with photorealistic background graphics. It is available in the iTunes store for iPhone, iPad, iPod for $1.99 (Available for Android as well).
Starting Your Round:
Soon as this app loaded, I was little put off by the music. I thought I had downloaded a bowling game instead. Little jazzy maybe? I don’t know, I felt like I was in a lounge or a bowling alley. Anyway, I got a retro vibe from the start, even with their font choice for logo. I will get into graphics here shortly. Ok, let’s start.
From the home screen you have the option to either “Practice” or “Trial”. Let’s begin with Practice. I need to figure out how this game even plays, right? The next screen that advances is my course selection. There are four course selections are The Hills, The Grove, Open Field and The Pond. Ah there’s the button on how to play.
“The Hills” is first on the list, let’s go with that.
At first glance, I was impressed with the background scenery. Extremely photorealistic, but surprised with what looked like a weird, cutout image of a basket sitting in front. After a couple of flicks, I realized that this game reminded me yet of another game by how you flick (throw) the object and the flight pattern that it took…the classic, Paper Toss. Yes, you throw the disc by sliding your finger up the screen. The further up the screen you go, the harder/further your disc goes. Pretty simple, huh? Way too easy, let me try another.
Next course I tried was the Grove; it says “Medium”. Ah ok, now the basket is maybe 3-4x the distance from me than it was on The Hills basket. After maybe 15 throws later, I finally sink one. But once you find that certain “sweet spot” on your screen of where to release your finger..you’re basically hitting chains everytime. Ok now that I’ve found the spot, too easy. I’m bored. Give me some difficulty! Next…
Let’s back back out and check out this “Trial” mode.
“Open Field” it is. Whoa, the basket’s moved back even further AND NOW wind? Seriously? That’s quite a leap from the “Medium”. Whatever, let’s do this. I also now see three discs that appear in that upper right corner. No instruction anywhere that tells me what that means. I’m guessing I get three misses. I shall throw and find out. First throw…holy crap that wind is strong. That’s more like hurricane wind if I’ve ever seen it. My disc went maybe 50-ft and the wind carried it straight off the side of the screen faster than I could realize what had just happened. Lost one of the discs in the corner, great. Disc down.
The wind not only changes for each shot, but also varies speed while throwing. Frustrating. My next—and last—2 throws were horrendous and my round was immediately over. More Frustrated. I go back in and give it another shot…about 10 more rounds worth; nothing. Now it’s just really pissing me off that the difficulty level changes THAT much from that previous level to this. I don’t want to say it’s impossible to hit one with varying high wind speeds from that far a distance, but it’s sure damn close.
I play a variety of games on my iPhone, so I consider myself to be somewhat well-rounded with different types of gameplay. But the more I played this course, the more frustrated I became. I got fed up with Trial mode and went back to Practice on this course. I felt like the more I threw, the worse I got. I was not making any progress in getting closer or figuring out any type of “sweet spot” to throw at and ring a few. I threw almost 50 times before I actually sank one… How much fun is that? Would you stick it out that long or would you give up? That’s my thought..
To me, Paper Toss is way more entertaining compared to this app. Paper Toss is fun because even the furthest paper basket is still make-able with higher wind speeds with some practice. I don’t know how you’re supposed to score high on this “Open Field” course with winds that strong. I found it near impossible to aim far enough to either side of the vertical screen to play the strong left/right wind directions. I would have liked to see slightly less wind on a closer placed basket (like on The Hills, maybe The Pond).
I give props for the photorealistic, beautiful scenery in the photos. Coming from a graphic designer, I appreciate the level of detail and photography that went into those background. However, I think it falls short on the “clipart”-looking basket with the cheesy black stroke outline around it. What’s up with that? It gives the whole thing this Hanna-Barbera cartoon look with the illustrated basket on top of a 3D realistic background. If they’re going for cartoon, have the whole game in that cartoon look and feel. But don’t mix 2D cartoon foreground elements with 3D backgrounds. It’s a clash of dimensional and spatial realities.
Besides the annoying lounge music on the home screen, I actually really enjoyed the nature sounds and the rattling of the chains when you sink one. I didn’t like hearing the “dink” of metal whenever I hit the side of the basket, but I appreciated the sound effect. Another annoying sound is that that you hear when you miss your third shot in Trial mode. It’s like some kind of horn sound that reminded me of an old arcade game.
When I think disc golf, I think outdoors. Nature’s beauty. The elements. Realism. A rapidly-growing sport that’s evolving with today’s culture. Anything but corny sound effects on menu screens. I’ve noticed this often on a lot on sport games. I just don’t get it. You can’t call this an “arcade” game when you have that much realism and detail in the graphics. I may just be rambling, but if I have to leave you with something…I say, save your $1.99.
TIP: On the longer holes, I’ve found that a good rule of thumb on determining how much speed/distance to put on a throw. If you flick your finger upwards across the screen, stop it (release) about where the wind indicator is. I’ve rung a good bit more when stopping at that height on my screen. =)