3D Ultra is, as you’d expect, a mini golf game. So precise putting is what it’s all about. And as far as the nuts and bolts, the game does a good job. Particularly the fact that it gives you three different ways to control the action – an analog swing, a power bar setup in which you hold the button, then release when the meter hits a certain point, and the classic, three-click swing meter old-schoolers know and love. It’s weird, though, that two of the three require an extra step at the end of your swing to replicate how squarely your putter hits the ball, while the third does so automatically. Still, the controls are decent enough.
The courses aren’t bad, either. You won’t find your standard, low-rent mini golf fare here, where bouncing correctly off a couple of angled two-by-fours is enough to find the cup. No, here you’ll be dealing with exploding barrels that launch your dimpled plaything high into the air; scorpions that move the ball around randomly; and even low-gravity space golf among asteroids and planetoids.
3D Ultra Mini Golf Adventures also boasts a collection of power-ups that may or may not change the complexion of your current round. They really don’t add much to the action in single-player mode, but in multiplayer, where you can use the pickups to affect your opponents’ balls (the ones on the ground), it adds a whole new layer of strategy to the game.
It’s too bad the shoddy, simplistic physics ruin what could otherwise be a solid game of golf. Some of the bounces the ball takes are just bizarre, which makes them impossible to plan for. Especially if your ball gets snagged on some sort of invisible geometry. And the creative, outer-space holes? The physics just kills the fun on that course.
The camera is another issue - it isn't really mobile, so other than the opening fly-by of every hole, you can't adjust your viewpoint at all. This creates some major problems on certain holes, making it nigh-impossible to actually aim your shot, which is obviously a fairly important aspect of any golf game. The learning curve on the power meter is rather steep, as well, but as with anything, practice will generally alleviate any problems there.
3D Ultra Mini Golf Adventures is a generic mini golf game with a few redeeming traits. If you can get past the poor physics – or at least accept them – and you plan to play almost exclusively multiplayer, it’s decent. Otherwise, it’s not really worth your 10 bucks.