Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds Game Poster Image
Kid-friendly golf series gets new online mode.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Fosters a friendly, competitive atmosphere for up to four players locally. Online play can be an equally positive experience, though it could turn sour, depending on the behavior of those with whom you play.

Violence & Scariness

This game is part of Sony's Hot Shots Golf franchise.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a simple golf game with accessible controls and easy-to-understand modes. Aside from a couple of moderately skimpy outfits worn by female characters, there is little that might be considered unsuitable for young players. Note, however, that this is the first game in the series to offer online play. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for kids under age 12.

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What's it about?

HOT SHOTS GOLF: OUT OF BOUNDS is the fifth game in the series and the first to appear on the PlayStation 3. Like its precursors, Out of Bounds is less of a golf simulator and more of a golf arcade game. It has an easy-to-learn three-tap swing meter, fun cartoonish characters, and offers the occasional twist on the sport's rules, such as a mode that features greatly oversized holes. The single-player game consists of working through a series of tournaments to unlock new characters, equipment, and abilities. There's also an online mode -- a first for the series. Dozens of avatars can hang out together in the same clubhouse as they text chat with one another, keep tabs on tournaments that start every few minutes, and create their own matches.

Is it any good?

Thanks to the new online mode, Out of Bounds is easily the deepest and most entertaining Hot Shots Golf game yet. Of course, the single-player career, which will provide a couple dozen hours of fun and help you build up the abilities of the game's characters, shouldn't be overlooked. But it's the friendly clubhouse community and massively multiplayer tournaments (up to 50 people can play together at once) that will keep fans playing this one for weeks, if not months. Due to its unpredictability, Common Sense Media doesn't recommend online play for children under 12, but it's worth noting that the Hot Shots Golf online community seems much more innocuous than those of more mature games. We spent several hours online text-chatting and playing with others, and rarely ran into anyone using bad language or otherwise trying to put a damper on the fun. Parents may want to consider supervised online play with their children.

However, as much fun as online play can be, it's not perfect. For example, tournaments see all participants golfing concurrently, and provide everyone with a set amount of time in which to finish each hole. The problem is that the clock continues to tick after everyone finishes, sometimes for more than a minute after all players are ready to move on to the next hole. It feels like a big waste of time. Still, online play sets Out of Bounds apart -- in a good way -- from its forerunners.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about etiquette in golf and golf games. Do you believe the courtesy and graciousness expected of people on real golf courses should apply to those playing golf video games? Do you congratulate others when they hit a good shot? Do you make a special effort not to distract others when it is their turn to play? Or do you think the reverse applies, that part of the fun of a golf video game is that it should be less serious than real golf? For those families trying the online portion of the game, what is the proper online behavior. What constitutes a breach of game etiquette? Under what circumstances should you report a fellow gamer?

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