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Critical Reception: T&E Soft's/Nintendo's True Swing Golf

This week's Critical Reception features the T&E Soft-developed, Nintendo-published True Swing Golf for the DS, one of two of the current golf offerings for the Nin...
This week's Critical Reception features the T&E Soft-developed, Nintendo-published True Swing Golf for the DS, one of two of the current golf offerings for the Nintendo's handheld, as well as one of the few first-party sports titles for the DS devoid of any Mario references. Scoring an average of 72% from reviewers, according to review compilation website GameTab.com, True Swing Golf seems to suffer from one particular flaw in general in the eyes of most reviewers - the game fails to differentiate itself in terms of setting or 'flavor'. In citing this lack of flavor, GameSpy's Phil Theobald muses: "Perhaps True Swing's biggest problem, however, is its complete and utter lack of personality. Far be it from me to suggest that Nintendo tosses Mario and company into another random game, but why didn't this game become Mario Golf DS?" Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell offers a less drastic take, but still notes: "Touch Golf [the game's European title] has virtually no 'wow factor.'" In terms of gameplay, the game takes advantage of the DS' stylus and, according to Bramwell, the player can "...use your stylus to reposition the marker somewhere in the center of the fairway, hit the "Swing" button at the very bottom of the screen, drag the stylus back and then thrust it forward to propel the ball toward your objective. The smoother, speedier and straighter the stylus stroke, the better and more accurate the shot." The swing mechanic was subject to varying opinions, with sharply contradicting views of the game's play mechanism from some outlet. On the one hand, GameSpot's Ryan Davis criticizes that: "There's virtually no nuance to the touch-screen controls. Once you line up your shots with the aiming reticle, a marker appears on the lower screen, taking all of the guesswork out of figuring out how much power to put behind your shots... you'll realize that regardless of how much you try to vary the speed of your shot, it will almost inevitably end up traveling at roughly 70, 90, or 110 miles per hour. There's also no way to choose any type of shot other than a full swing, which means that the shape of your shot is always determined by which club you're using." On the other hand, Eurogamer's Bramwell offers an opposing opinion, in positing: "You'll pick up the touch screen swing control almost immediately as it feels remarkably natural." There are significantly differing conclusions regarding the game's overall quality over multiple media outlets, too. IGN's Craig Harris concludes that: "T&E Soft has pulled off a really fun and challenging golf game with some great course designs and a fantastic, intuitive touch screen swing mechanic", whereas GameSpot's Davis suggests: "For a game from a publisher and a developer that have both done some interesting and accomplished things with the game of golf, True Swing comes out surprisingly flat." In any case, with it being one of the few golf games available for the DS, True Swing Golf seems destined to hit the niche audience of golf purist DS owners, with larger success seeming unlikely, and no professional golf personas and no Mario personality to aid in reaching a more general market.

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