Quick Review: Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational

Hot Shots Golf would be my favorite sports game franchise if it wasn’t for how superb The Show is for baseball. Just something about this game makes me calm and relaxed. I can sit down and enjoy my time playing and not get frustrated or pissed off. If I miss a put or don’t account for the wind it is purely my fault. I get that and I’m cool with that. That is why out of all of my Vita launch games, I’ve invested the most time into World Invitational. Just like a suped-up version of the PSP games, this is an easy to take with you time waster that hits the dot in almost every category.

World Invitational comes with the various game modes one would expect from a Hot Shots game. You got your Challenge modes and exhibitions. Challenges allow you to unlock new items and characters in the shop (bought with in-game credits you earn while completing challenges and games). Online works great with barely any lag. The lobby system is a bit unconventional but it allows friends and strangers to chill out with each other in-between tournaments. You sign up for a tourney, take some time out  in a lobby, and prepare for an outing. The one glaring omission from online play is the lack of either random or invite-only regular course or match play. Online is all tournaments. The only way to play with just friends or whoever you want without waiting for a slotted time is by local ad-hoc play.

Playing with friends or even doing Challenge and online tournaments is a blast. Everyone goes at the same time and the next hole only becomes available once everyone sinks that ball. This way you don’t have to wait your turn and gameplay is constant. Match play is a bit different but in that mode you’re trying to 3-up your opponent (besting them in at least 3 holes) to win.

The controls are spot on and everything you’d expect from Hot Shots. If you haven’t played one of these games before, no worries, everything is simple. World Invitational allows you to find your sweet spot as you progress in the Challenges as new hit styles become available in the shop. I still stick with my circle gauge style but some of the others are easy to use and master. Normally, I’ve seen my friends get used to the game after one 9-hole course. After that, they go from a +4 to a +/-0 or even better. So new comers should not shy away from the game based on golf difficulty.

The customization options here are plentiful although most need to be unlocked and bought via in-game credits. New costumes, new characters, clubs, balls, and swing methods are all presents. You can even get new costume pieces for your chibi-like online avatar. This gives Hot Shots a lot of replay value. Even the daily tournaments are fun to turn the Vita on and get some play time in. Clap Hanz did a great job with this launch title. You’ll find tons of things to do and a reason to play it everyday. I would highly suggest picking this up for your Vita.