As interesting as a par 3 and as deep as a divet. by Cole Smith

February 17, 2006 - True Swing Golf for the DS is like a mini-game disguised as a real game. It's very generic in terms of gameplay and graphics and despite the poor inclusion of the touch screen controls and dual screen, the handheld novelty of the game doesn't add any "wow" factor either.

I'm not a golfer so I can't really see the appeal of a golfing videogame. It ranks right up there with fishing and bowling games. These activities must be experienced in real life to savor their true appeal. True Swing Golf won't even make you homesick for the real thing, it will just make you sick.

True Swing Golf is short on options, modes and incentives. There are no training modes, no practice modes or career mode. You are relegated to either match or stroke games which you play with or without a computer-controlled opponent. These modes are very basic and with no unlockables or money or points to earn there's little reason to treat these modes as more than just a prelude to the Championship mode. In this mode you can earn money from wins to spend at the Pro Shop where you can purchase accessories such as clothes, shoes and new equipment. Apparently new, expensive shoes are supposed to make you a better player but I didn't find anything that I could buy to make me a better player. I blame my lack of progress on the control system.

I can see where the developers were headed with this control system but they just didn't get to their destination. It's as though they teed off with a putting iron and ended up in a sand trap. They obviously spend too much time on this system and convinced themselves that it was great. It's disconnected and disparate from the standard golf power meters and virtually every other real-time control system. You have to draw a path with the stylus on the bottom half of the screen which simulates your swing. First you draw, then you wait a split second, then the swing takes place. It's like a turn-based system. It's hard to feel a connection with the control system because of the slight delay between drawing the swing and the execution. This not only makes the game feel awkward but it also hinders your ability to improve because it just seems so arbitrary.

At the top of the screen you'll see the layout of the course in full 3D splendor. The bottom screen is where you use the stylus to select your clubs and line up your shot. When drawing your swing with the stylus, the length of the line indicates how far back the character swings his or her club. The direction of the line indicates in what direction the ball will travel and how fast you draw the line determines what speed you hit the ball at. The game claims that you have more control at your command such as the slicing the ball, drawing, fading and adding spin. There's little reason to use anything more than just a straightforward shot as most of these nuances will be taken care of by the club that you choose.

After you take your shot the action takes place on both screens. On the bottom screen you'll see an overhead view of the course while the top screen gives you the camera angle of a televised event where you can watch the ball come to rest from different angles. The courses look fine for the most part but when the camera zooms in for a close up, especially during putting, the backgrounds turn into a pixelated mess.

Putting is done is almost the same way but it's even easier. You still have to draw a line but the speed in which it is drawn has no effect on your shot. All you have to do is line up the guideline, that appears on the top screen, from the ball to the hole and then draw a shot with the stylus. With a little practice you won't be missing too many putts.

There's nothing for character creation. You choose from eight generic looking characters, none of which are licensed golf pros. Each one can be cool or wild which indicates how they will act on the course. I can assure you that none of these characters are either cool or wild. They are low-res models that, like this game, are void of personality.

With the wireless system up to four players can take part in a tournament. The game allows you to place bets which will come in handy for trying to recover some of the money you lost purchasing this game.

The music sounds like it belongs in an elevator and the polite applause you receive from your audience when you sink a ball would be more appropriate for a dart match. There just isn't any excitement generated in any area of this game. The control system is unique but it's just doesn't feel tight. A larger space is needed to accommodate the physical movement of drawing a path with the stylus. The actual act of drawing that line feels weak; it's like playing hockey on a table by flicking bottle caps with your fingers. It's a lot different than just pressing a button or analog stick. I'm not a big fan of the power swing meters either but at least it has a feel that is palpable. I only hope that T&E are able to refine the system. Perhaps if they used a touch control instead of the stylus it might have a better feel. In any case I'll pass on this game and I advise you to do likewise.


  • Touch Swing control: In this realistic golf game, swing control mimics real life. Players simply slide the stylus across the touch screen to strike the ball and send it flying. They can even curve their swing to slice or hook shots and alter the angle of the club head for sharpshooter-like accuracy.
  • More than 15 impressive 3-D courses, all with their own hazards and strategies, test players' skills. Players earn better gear by winning tournaments to help them compete.
  • With several game modes, character customization and wireless multiplayer support for up to four players with just one game card, there's something here for all golfers, no matter what their skill levels.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
True Swing Golf (DS)
Nice 3D graphics of the course on the top screen but the character models are generic and things get really ugly when you zoom in too close.
Using the stylus is like trying to play the piano with a toothpick. It just doesn't feel right.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is lame but there are some nicely recorded ambient golf sounds.
Play Value
You're going to have trouble finding people with a copy of this game, and second, you're going to have trouble finding people that want to play this game. If you're counting on the multi-player mode to increase the replay, you can stop counting and start subtracting.
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: DS
Dev: T&E Soft
Pub: Nintendo
Released: Feb 2006
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole Smith

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best