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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

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Product: GolfStar | Developer: Com2uS | Publisher: Com2uS | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1-10 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1.0
GolfStar iPhone, thumbnail 1
Let's be honest: the humble golf game has barely changed since programmers first simulated the sport back in the day.

Over time, those programmers might have delivered better visuals and taken a few brave stabs at updating those tried-and-trusted core mechanics, but, in essence, it's a genre stuck in a rut.

Unfortunately for all, Com2uS's latest free-to-play game GolfStar presents no way out of this metaphorical bunker.

That's not to say that GolfStar's a bad game. Rather, it's just a very average, very familiar one.

Out on the green

IAPs explained
GolfStar features three different currencies: stars, coins and hearts. Coins flow free and easy, mostly existing to help you level-up, while hearts and stars are a rarity by comparison.

That's unfortunate, as every round costs a couple of hearts to play. And their limited nature means you'll need to spend actual cash if you plan to hit the green with any real frequency.

Stars, meanwhile, are used to buy cosmetic items for your avatar, plus consumables that offer multiplayer advantages.

We're not too fond of such pay-to-win features, incidentally. You may have noticed this.
GolfStar offers a solid mix of structured single-player matches and multiplayer modes (ranging from one-on-one online challenges to massive ten-man real-time competitions).

These modes are underpinned by a robust, if resolutely traditional, golfing core, with the classic swing bar taking centre stage.

Once you've selected your club and lined up your shot, you start your swing with a tap of the screen. Tap again to set your swing power, then once more to determine the accuracy of your shot.

Of course, you do have to consider the lie of the land, too, so you'll have to adjust your swing to take into account the slopes and bloody great water features.

It's a well-established formula that, while getting the job done, does highlight the workmanlike approach the dev has taken here.

A bit of rough

This 'going through the motions' approach - if you'll pardon the pun - is evident elsewhere in GolfStar. The visuals, for instance, prove adequate, if unspectacular, while the course design is acceptable, if uninspired.

Com2uS's lack of ambition here wouldn't be an issue in most cases. After all, the game is enjoyable enough and will occupy a few minutes of downtime here and there. However, it's far harder to ignore the game's conservative core when it's tied to Com2uS's aggressive free-to-play wallet mining.

The chance to push an in-app purchase - whether it be a cosmetic avatar upgrade or a more questionable consumable skill that gives you a multiplayer advantage - is simply never missed.

The most troublesome penny-pinching mechanic, though, is the arbitrary play limit. Each stage (including tutorial levels, amazingly) costs a few hearts to play. This forces you to buy more should you use up GolfStar's minuscule daily allowance.

It's the kind of contrived energy system we've come to expect from the cynically designed free-to-play titles, in truth. The question you need to ask yourself, then, is: do you really want to jump through GolfStar's incessant financial hoops when all you get in return is a competent, though far from exceptional, arcade golfing experience?
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 17 April 2013
An entertaining, if unspectacular, mix of solo and multiplayer golf that simply isn't strong enough to warrant the constant in-app purchase demands
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