Miniature golf is a fun pastime that can split serious golfers down the middle. On one hand, some people may feel that the wacky nature of miniature golf belittles the sport's values as well as makes a mockery of the hundreds of years of tradition, not to mention the long and gruelling days spent wandering around the world's finest golf courses. On the other hand, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to live close to full 18-hole or even 9-hole golf courses, let alone be able to afford memberships every year: a bit of miniature golf can for some be the next best thing. One doesn't even have to leave the comfort of their own computer chair to enjoy the challenge of mini golf containing within Miniclip's Mini Gold Game. Using the power of the computer mouse and some of your finest virtual golfing skill, anyone can have a fun time playing mini golf here without ever having to spend a single penny for the privilege.
The game may look a little simplistic at first and miles away from the antics of Mousebreaker's 18-Hole Crazy golf, but choose to indulge in single player and you will get to work your way around a set of 18 holes, each more challenging than the last, and each squeezing the fun of putting into tiny little segments that will test your judgement to the max. The game is played by moving your mouse which will cause your character (of which there are four to choose from) to follow these movements. The amount of power in the shot is decided by how near or far your mouse is from your character: pull back a long way and the power bar will fill up; slide the mouse towards you character and the power bar will empty itself. It is up to you to choose the direction and power of your shot to suit the shape of the mini course in front of you; once you have selected your power and direction, simply click the left mouse button to hit the ball.
The progression in the game will feel familiar to any die-hard golfers out there. You simply have to play through the 18 holes whilst taking as few shots as possible to keep as far under par as you can. Once you finish the game, your single player score can actually be entered into a ‘top scores' list along with thousands of others from fellow players around the world. If you find yourself struggling to see the ball when it nips behind your character, you can also press the shift key in order to temporarily make your character transparent, thus revealing the position of the ball. You can also use the arrow keys to navigate the camera around the mini courses in order to attain the best view possible.
Though Mini Golf isn't pushing any boundaries for golf games in terms of its concept or its design, it is a solid effort and a good example of a shallow-but-fun mini golf game. Full-on golf games that take you through the motions of an actual 18-hole course are very rare in the flash gaming world, and many of them aren't able to bring you the kind of experience that console-based games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour or The Golf Club, with the superior hardware and huge budgets, are able to provide. The graphics are fairly decent in Mini Golf, the physics are solid, and the choice of characters is more than you often get in flash-based golf games.
Mini Golf is therefore worthy of a quick spin for any golfing fan, no matter what your ability or interest level is. Its simplistic graphics and relatively shallow nature can be forgiven if one remembers that this is simply a quick-stop golf game to pass a few minutes on a lunch break, and it can be useful as a quick distraction if your day is otherwise extremely busy. It beats spending hundreds on a golf membership, and also the effort of spending hours outside if the weather is questionable.