Gummy Bears Minigolf is an unusual DS game in that its packaging was designed so ineptly that it actually made me want to believe that game inside was some sort of hidden treasure. Rather than having the game?s summary in English followed by the same text in French, as is common with games for the system, it just has the same English summary printed twice in a row. I am not at all sure how this mistake got through enough people to actually be present on the final product, but the fact that the box was so clearly screwed up really made me hope that Gummy Bear Minigolf was a relatively fun game that had gotten stuck with one of the most apparent examples of a failure to proofread I?d ever seen on a commercial product. Unfortunately, Gummy Bear Minigolf is just as lazy and low quality a game as the box would suggest.
Before I say too much about the gameplay in Gummy Bear Minigolf, I would like to state that I am not new to playing bright and cartoon-ish golf games. I?ve spent plenty of time playing well-regarded entry in the genre Mario Golf, in several of its incarnations, and the amount of time I?ve put into the Wii?s Super Swing Golf games, as well as their online counterpart, Pangya, borders on pathological. Because of this previous experience, however, I feel very confident in saying that the gameplay found in Gummy Bear Minigolf is inexcusably bad. There is absolutely nothing to do here except for play mini golf in three modes have no discernable differences from one another, and since the golf itself is boring and plagued by difficult and inaccurate touch screen controls, there?s really no reason to put up with it for one mode, let alone three.
In light of the bad gameplay, which has your vaguely personalized gummy bear regularly missing the hole at what looks like a six inch range, some of you out there might be inclined to think that Gummy Bear Minigolf could be redeemed by the customizable holes advertised on the back of the box. This, however, is not even close to being the case. The customizable courses are nothing more than a text box in which you can enter your own name for the course before selecting from a list of holes to string together to create a new environment in which your gummy bear can suck at golfing. You can?t even change the background graphics to make the same holes you?ve already played at least superficially seem different. It is the worst excuse for a create-your-own-anything mode that I?ve ever seen in a game and adds absolutely nothing to the title.
The only aspect of Gummy Bear Minigolf in which it looks like anyone spent any time caring about the game is the graphical presentation. The visuals in the game are by no means great. None of the textures look very clear, the 3D models lack detail, and when you customize your golfing gummy bear, the T-shirts and hats that you put on them often look like they?re cutting into the pre-existing characters. Still, the generic backgrounds, fuzzy courses, and clearly pallet swapped characters work well enough that it?s never unclear as to what you?re looking at or where you need to be directing your putts.
Sound, however, does not seem as if it was as much of a priority during the development of Gummy Bear Minigolf. There?s nothing very concrete that can be said is bad about the music, but once you?ve sat through an entire round of golf while listening to its tuneless peppy plinking, it is quite possible that you will begin to wish your DS was not equipped with speakers. The shrill sound effects, though infrequent, are also very irritating. Perhaps the weirdest detail of all of the game?s sound problems, however, is that the sound you get when scoring a bogey is nearly identical to that in the Super Swing Golf games. It sounds a little different, like the key the brief song was in was somehow altered, but it is unmistakably similar and shows a massive lack of originality on the part of the game?s designers.
If there is nothing else to be said about Gummy Bear Minigolf, I can say with absolute certainty that this game is almost impossible to recommend. The gameplay is terrible, the graphics are mediocre at best, the sound is annoying and derivative, and even if you do hate yourself enough to get through the entire game, the few included holes will only take you an hour or so to play. With all of the DS games available, there is no reason why anyone, no matter how infatuated they are with the idea of golfing candy, should buy a game as abysmal as Gummy Bear Minigolf.