PANGYA: Fantasy Golf Review

Pangya: Fantasy Golf is without a doubt a goofy game. Goofy anime characters, goofy story, and some pretty goofy ideas. However, under all of that goofiness is a pretty decent golf game with imaginative and challenging courses and an extensive story mode that will keep you occupied for quite a while.

Pangya is the name of an Island that exists in another dimension, as well as the name of the game of golf its inhabitants play. The game was created to honor a hero that defeated an evil lord by hitting a ball in a hole, and not only is it played for recreation it is used to settle disputes, force criminals to turn themselves in, pursue love interests, just about anything on Pangya can be settled by a face-off on the links. The residents of Pangya aren't above plucking people out of our dimension and training them to be better Pangya players, for reasons that aren't entirely too clear. The game's story mode gives you the opportunity to play as a number of Pangya residents and purloined Earthlings in a series of golf matches and challenges. The goofy and often inane chatter between the characters before each match can either be read in its entirety for its entertainment value or quickly skipped through with the X button to preserve your sanity.

Once you get out on the course the basics of play should be familiar to you if you've ever played a golf game before. You cycle through your clubs with the shoulder triggers, adjust your aim with the D-pad, and fine-tune the club's impact point on the ball with the nub. The swing is controlled by the X button with the traditional three-press method - once to start the swing, once to stop the backswing and set the power of the swing, and once to make contact with the ball when the swing meter reaches the sweet spot. There are also a number of special shots in the game that include traditional gold techniques such as adding backspin or a fade to the shot, as well as fanciful shots such as the cobra and tomahawk. The special shots add a few extra button presses at key moments in the swing, which makes them appropriately more challenging to pull off (part of that challenge is simply remembering the right sequence of buttons required for a particular shot).

In the game's default mode it's pretty easy to hit the button at the meter's maximum point and sweet spot, and even if you're a little off the game is pretty forgiving. If you're looking for a greater challenge you can switch the game out of its beginner mode, and then you'll see poorly timed swings leading to more hooks and slices and the wind will have a greater effect on your ball in flight. Your current golfer's stats will have an effect on your shots, and these stats can be modified by purchasing special equipment in the game's store. The game's fantasy elements are strongly represented by the equipment available; special balls (called aztecs in the game) can leave trails of hearts or other things in the air while in flight, and clubs come in all sorts of forms from axes to umbrellas. And then there are the odd living shopping bags that follow you around the course and spot your ball by flying through the air just behind it.