Easy Golf: Course Architect • Page 2

Hole in one or albatrocity?

There's even support for four players, online or off. While it's difficult to find other players using the lobby search, Matt Davis has set up a special Gamertag - AVF Easy Golf - that you can add to your Friends List and then use the View Friends option to find other owners of the game.

So far, so good. It's a solid, if slightly old fashioned, golf game that only occasionally betrays its homebrew origins. What sets Easy Golf apart is the rather splendid Course Creator, which is simple enough for anyone to be able to throw together a decent hole or two but also has enough depth for those who want to tweak and refine their designs into an expertly balanced 18-hole experience.

Placement of the green, bunkers, water hazards and rough is all handled by placing anchor points in the shape you want. The game then fills in the enclosed area accordingly. Each anchor point can also be moved afterwards, and the curves between anchors can be adjusted. If you've ever used Illustrator or the paths tool in Photoshop then you'll have a good idea how it works, and it's a cunning way of enabling a console joypad to do the sort of work usually reserved for a mouse. Terrain can also be lowered or raised, and weather variables set to your satisfaction.

It's more than enough to make course-creation a doddle, and the ability to share your creations in Xbox Live games makes the process even more appealing. It's the sort of robust functionality you'd expect from a commercial game, and to find it in a Community Game does much to dispel the amateur stigma that too often clogs up the homebrew scene.

Also earning praise are the tweaks and updates that Davis has been applying to the title since launch. Indeed, it's this near-constant refinement that has kept the game from being reviewed earlier. As well as the new courses mentioned earlier, the game now boasts rain and snow weather effects, which can be enhanced by choosing one of the new backdrops. These just replace the blue skybox with a different image of cloudy skies, city streets or stars, and the weather itself doesn't seem to have any notable impact on gameplay.

2
Easy Golf's addictive course creator is enough to make it one of the most professional Community Games around.

Your robot golfer now comes with greater customisation options, rather than the simple colour palette swap available at launch, and there are accessories to unlock as you play. There were also new features added to the course designer, with the ability to place islands in the middle of water features among other cosmetic enhancements such as new tree and rock formations. Online multiplayer has been beefed up to support eight-player matches.

It's a staggering overhaul for an already solid game, and in terms of after-sales fan service it not only puts the other Community Games to shame but most Live Arcade titles as well. Barker's Crest is supporting the game in other ways as well, with a contest running throughout March to see who can register the lowest score on any of the six courses, with prizes of 1600 MS Points available to the winners. There are even specially created "hub" Gamertags that you can add to your Friends List in order to share and swap courses with other players and arrange online tournaments.

So as an overall package Easy Golf certainly offers enough variety and worthwhile features to justify far more than a condescending pat on the back and a certificate for being "Very Good for a Community Game". It's simply a good game, and one that keeps getting better all the time thanks to its commendably committed creator. While the occasional rough edges would be easier to accept at a lower price point, anyone who simply wants to enjoy a cheerful game of arcade golf certainly shouldn't regret spending a little extra to support a promising new talent.

7 /10

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About the author

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead

Contributor

Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.

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