Japanese developer Clap Hanz has been making colorful cartoon golf games for PlayStation consoles since the 1999s Hot Shots Golf 2. The studio’s first non-PlayStation game, Apple Arcade Clap Hanz Golf, is more of the same, only now there are only a few taps on my iPad screen.
Hot Shots Golf, Everybody’s Golf, Minna No Golf– Whatever you call it, Clap Hanz’s golf brand has a special taste that appeals to me very much. I think it’s a combination of a bit of realistic golf physics and locations with quirky, anime-style golfers, an easy take on a sport that takes itself very seriously. The series respects golf, while acknowledging that the whole thing is stodgy as hell and can use more confetti and special effects.
Clap Hanz Golf, released on Friday and free for Apple Arcade subscribers, is all this plus a bag of chips (golf joke alert). In the game’s turn mode, players take three – hole rounds, which is a nice fast game that works well on mobile devices. Instead of choosing a golfer to play the entire set, each hole uses a different golfer from the player’s team of collectibles. For example, in the set I play in the video below, I start with Fred Lopes Jr., then switch to the youthful and bubbly Taiyo Hoshino, and then end the third with the somewhat nerdy Nathan Neill.
Each has its strengths and weaknesses and levels independently through play. During the campaign, I fought against rivals and bosses, and added them to my list after the defeat. It’s a collectible golf game, only since it’s on Apple Arcade there are no microtransactions to worry about.
Players looking for a more traditional set of nine holes can play the game’s Score Attack mode, which allows them to select a single character and work their way through a half course. A full nine can be a bit much for a bath, but luckily the game lets you stop and continue where you left off. And for those who are not satisfied with golf, unless it involves destroying others’ self-esteem, there is a local multiplayer mode.
I’ve been in love with Clap Hanz’s golf game for a decade and a half, so if you want an impartial opinion on the appropriate title Clap Hanz Golf, you will not find one here. For the first time since the 2012s Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational for Vita, I have Clap Hanz in my pocket, and it feels pretty damn good.