Pangya: Fantasy Golf - hands-on

Serious golf has its place in the gaming world, but plenty of gamers would just as soon embrace the lighter, more fantastical side of it. And there have been many great but simple golf games over years, such as Mario Golf and Hot Shots. Following in their footsteps and with a few more tricks in its bag of clubs, is Pangya: Fantasy Golf for the PSP.

Based on one of the approximately 8,000,000 MMOs in Korea, Pangya plays a lot like other “simple” golf titles. Line up your shot, press the swing button three times quickly to determine power and accuracy, then watch your ball fly gracefully to the hole. It’s easy to figure out - mostly thanks to its similarity to other golf titles - and there are many factors that make each stroke different. Club choice, wind, rain and grass quality can all affect your game, which should mean plenty of depth for those who want to play more seriously.

The real reason you'll be playing courses over and over is because you’ll want to unlock the thousands of costumes, accessories and other doohickies buried deep within the game. Though there’s a limited set of characters – 18 total - you can dress them up with unlocked items to such an extent that you’ll make them your own. And the cast is pretty eclectic, including a pirate, a fairy, an old cop and a polar bear, just for starters.

But if you want to play dress-up, you’ve gotta earn that Pang, the currency of Pangya. Games can be won based not only on score, but also on Pang earned throughout the game. Chances to earn it are all around, such as winning a tournament or getting a perfect shot. And not only can you buy things for your character with in-game currency, you can also spruce up your caddy, too.

Earning the cash to transform these eccentric characters into clothes horses is good for more than just your own amusement. As mentioned above, Pangya is based on an MMO, and while the PSP release isn't massively multiplayer, you can play online via PSP Wi-Fi with up to eight others. And won't they be impressed by your fairy wearing a nurse’s scrubs when Pangya releases this summer?

Apr 14, 2009