A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Mini Golf King is a sports game for iOS and Android devices. The game comes with a minimal amount of instruction and tutorial tips, which could easily cause frustration for players. For example, they'll have to figure out the game's ball-shooting trajectory tool for themselves. They'll also get pressure to use and play for real cash; they can opt for practice rounds, but those cost some of the app's virtual currency to play, which is earned by playing or paying for additional credits.
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What's it about?
In MINI GOLF KING, the goal is to find the fastest route to get the ball in the hole. Players "swing" by dragging and releasing their finger near the ball to send it down the course. Digital golfers will get a chance to putt around 35 courses that include pyramids, drawbridges, and other elements while facing off against anonymous players. Users can either pay with the app's virtual currency, Z, earned by winning tournaments, getting trophies, or as a daily log-in bonus, or deposit real-world cash and play other users for profits. They'll also get Ticketz for playing, which they can use on in-app prizes.
Is it any good?
This golf game app would be more entertaining to play if games moved faster, swings were more precise, and the focus wasn't on real cash. Mini Golf King's drag-and-release functionality is likened to playing pool, but unfortunately, it isn't quite as easy to perform; in fact, sometimes the ball moves in the opposite direction, even when the targeting arrow is pointed straight ahead. This can make the displayed angles during a swing feel useless; if the direction is off, the angles that are listed may be, too.
While the image of the ball swaying back and forth before coming to a complete stop is graphically elegant, you can't swing again until it's completely still. That slows down gameplay, which makes things less exciting -- and somewhat frustrating, since the rounds are timed. Worse, it can also take awhile for the app to find someone for you to play at times, which is just annoying. Finally. the pay-to-play option, which lets users upload and play for real money, is another big concern; while the developer says it isn't technically gambling because competitions are based on ability rather than chance, players are still heavily pushed to wager cash to play against other users on a regular basis. If you're looking for a mini golf game, look for a different course. Mini Golf King is just one big water hazard of gameplay.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pressure of gambling. Do you think that the pressure Mini Golf King puts on playing for real money makes gambling seem alluring or dangerous?
How can you maintain a healthy sense of competition and positive life skills like sportsmanship without seeming mean or taking games too seriously?
How do you balance the use of screen time for a virtual sport like Mini Golf King and stepping outside to play a sport in real life?