Everybody's Golf made its first appearance way back in 1997. At this time the mechanics of a golf game consisted of a power bar, with the skill element consisting of timing; ending your back swing with a button push followed by another to hit the sweet spot. This would dictate how straight your shot would be.
Game development has moved on with the top simulations relying now on the joystick for a realistic swing and hit. Everybody's Golf has remained true to its arcade roots through its subsequent releases. Everbody's Golf: World Tour is no different.
This incarnation is arcade golf at its finest. Don't be fooled by its initial cartoonish feel; at the bottom of the golf bag are a lot of interesting features that only become apparent after you play a few rounds. To start with you only have the option to play two of the characters in the game; however, over time you can unlock up to 15 characters. Each player has their own unique style and set of on-course antics. All are portrayed in the anime, doe-eyed style which is popular with many Japanese games.
You can quickly move onto the Challenge and Stroke Play options which give you the opportunity to unlock other features, such as better equipment and enhancing your overall golfing skills. You can elect to play the game in either the traditional horizontal power bar or the more advanced version where the arch of the club forms the power bar. Either way relies on hitting the button at the right time.
The courses themselves are cleverly designed with some really pretty features. There are water and sand hazards to avoid as well as animals, buildings and the occasional spectator. The course layouts are well thought out and realistic, presenting a good challenge without being overly difficult. You have a lot of control when it comes to viewing each course - from a bird's eye view to a travelling view through your proposed line of shot.
The physics of the game are realistic. Slicing or hooking your shots is well executed with a reasonable margin of error. The courses are tight though, and careful placement is required to avoid hitting the rough or the sand. Putting is done across a gridded green with animated arrows showing you the slope. The ball in all situations moves and acts realistically, right down to teetering on the brink and then slowly pick speed as it makes it way into the water hazard.
When playing solo you are accompanied by your caddy who offers help in the form of advice, compliments, and (when things are not going so good) encouragement. This maybe not to the taste of everyone however it certainly makes for a more entertaining round of golf.
One of the features you can unlock in the challenges is how your avatar will look in the game lobby online. You can play online in 50 player tournaments and with some limited chat abilities you can enjoy the company of players throughout the world (World Tour?). If this is not your type of game then there is also the option to play four-player hot seat golf.
The sound and audio are good, however some of the more prissy girlie voices may not be to everybody's taste. The graphics are well executed but certainly don't push the console to its limit. Oddly and almost seemingly out of place, there are full motion video sequences at the end of the games. You can be entertained by sequences of sunsets or dolphins swimming in the sea. We figure this is an attempt at calming you after the stress of the game but they just feel odd and out of place.
One aspect we really enjoyed was how on the initial installation of the game it saved a lot of the game data to the hard drive. The result of this was really quick load times between shots and games. Consequently Everybody's Golf: World Tour is something you can pick up and play a short nine holes in the space of ten minutes.
This is not a franchised golf simulation but as far as arcade golf entertainment goes this is a great game that is ultimately only let down by the limited number of courses on offer. Despite this limitation it is fun to play and presented a good level of challenge that kept us coming back for more. We highly recommend it.