In games like Tiger Woods and Everybody's Golf, you were expected to judge for yourself what kind of impact rough lies or obstacles would have on the success of your shot, consider how much of a particular club you needed to put behind a swing, and then perform the swing successfully. We Love Golf does the calculations for you and the controls take little effort to master. As for putting, the greens are remarkably flat for the most part and the usual guidelines that show green speed in a particular direction - coupled with your ability to land on a sixpence from 150 yards - mean you'll rarely have to do more than two-putt.
To this end, the single-player Tournament mode and Character Matches, which unlock new courses and new characters respectively, can be played at speed on autopilot. Even the Pro Tournament mode only changes tee and green positions. There's no need to consider the course conditions and their often-elaborate design. This is a shame, because the courses themselves are vibrant and friendly places to linger: trees are giant flowers, pirate ships float past on water hazards, the wind is illustrated by twirling wisps, giant desserts form bridges between cherry-marked islands, and greens and bunkers form hearts and reindeer heads when viewed from above. The characters, meanwhile, are cute and chibi, with unlockable Capcom figures like Chun-Li, Apollo Justice and Jill Valentine.
But while there's certainly charm to that, it's only half-heartedly bonkers and over-the-top compared to better examples elsewhere in the genre - most notably the sublime Everybody's Golf: World Tour on the PS3, which has a TV weatherman who rides between holes on a helicopter, videos of dolphins between rounds and mad super-deformed Scottish caddies. Perhaps it's unfair to compare a Wii game to a PS3 one, but then the Wii is supposed to be everyone's second system, right? Either way, We Love Golf is too shy about being nuts.
It does have its moments though. There are some good offline multiplayer modes like Target Golf and Near Pin Contest, which judge you based on the ball's final resting place. There's only ever a few yards' difference between your accomplishments, but it's enough to make these engaging when you're playing them in your lounge. For single players, Ringshot, which tasks you with holing out within par having navigated a series of rainbow-coloured rings, is an effective time-sink. There's also familiar Stroke and Match-Play games, which are fine for couch play.
We Love Golf's PAL release also introduces online multiplayer via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and this lets you use your own Miis. With the game not out until Friday, opportunities to sample this were few and far between, but the games we did play were lag-free and there's something to be said for the game's soft-edged heckles and cheers when someone's teeing off. Our only criticism is the lack of modes - course selection is random and you do 9 holes, with differing tee positions based on which of the two difficulties you choose. We'd moan about having to use Wii Friends codes too, but you always get upset when we do that.
Despite this minor reprieve though, We Love Golf still suffers overall. It's competent and capable of entertaining, and perhaps Camelot has proven that you don't need to exercise as much restraint as Wii Sports did to make a good golf game - but it still suffers from a lack of challenge for single players and being disappointingly unbonkers. A bit more restraint in player assists and less when going mental could have given the entire genre a wake-up call, but not this time.
6 / 10
We Love Golf is due out exclusively on Nintendo Wii this Friday, 4th July.