Powerstar Golf Game Poster Image

Powerstar Golf

(i)

 

Unremarkable, cartoonish golf sim pushes in-game purchases.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about the game of golf while enjoying a bit of friendly social competition in this simple sports simulation. They will learn about golf through a process of osmosis as they watch the game apply standard golf rules and track scores and statistics from hole to hole. They'll also engage in friendship building and friendly competition while playing with friends in local multiplayer matches. Powerstar Golf is a pretty basic golf sim, but it could serve as an accessible introduction to the royal and ancient game.

Positive messages

Promotes social, competitive play locally and online and may spur interest in a real-life sport. Surprisingly, it does not make use of Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect sensor bar, which means it does not offer any significant physical-activity benefits. 

Positive role models

The golfers and caddies featured don't have much personality beyond whatever their clothing selections convey. Some are meant to look like hipsters, others like jocks or nerds or fashionistas. Both genders, a variety of ages, and several ethnicities are represented.

Ease of play

The simple three-tap swing system is easy to get the hang of but hard to master, especially before players earn better clubs and perks that are more forgiving of mistakes to do with timing. It will take some practice. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Microtransactions allow players to spend small amounts of real money on outfits, clubs, and single-use ability boosts.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Powerstar Golf is a golf game available via download for Xbox One. It's innocuous enough -- there's no violence, overt sexuality, or bad language -- though parents should be aware that it features microtransactions that encourage players to spend real money or virtual goods. Also, this golf game does not make use of Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing bar, which means your kids won't benefit from any sort of physical movement, as they might from other golf games made for Xbox systems. It does, however, promote a friendly and competitive social-gaming experience via local multiplayer.  

What's it about?

Available exclusively as a download for Xbox One, POWERSTAR GOLF provides a simple, cartoonish simulation of its titular sport. Players can switch among a variety of golfers and caddies and then select clubs, outfits, and special-ability boosts before heading out to conquer a handful of courses, some fairly realistic-looking and not too challenging, others rather more fantastical and much more difficult. The career mode is set up as a series of events ranging from short three-hole contests to 18-hole tournaments, with a variety of mini objectives popping up mid-round. Local and online multiplayer modes exist as well. Players earn virtual currency with which to purchase new equipment and boosters, but the game also encourages players to purchase these advantages with real-world money.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Powerstar Golf is a pretty middling golf simulation. It competently captures the basics of the sport -- all the standard rules are in play, you can shape and apply spin to shots, and the course layouts are interesting and challenging -- and uses a classic three-tap swing system that should prove pretty easy for most players to pick up within a few minutes.

However, it fails to recreate golf elements demanded by more serious players. Options to adjust trajectory, factor in lie angle, and hit flop shots, for example, are absent. Also missing is a compelling character-building system that instills a sense of progress. And the career mode simply feels like a bunch of random events strung together without any meaningful, overarching objectives. It may prove satisfactory for casual golf fans who simply want to play a round of virtual golf now and then, but players used to a more complex and engaging video-gaming golf experience will be better served elsewhere.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about playing sports games. Do you feel like you learn more about the sport? Do they help you better understand its rules and strategies? 

  • Families also can discuss the notion of microtransactions within games. How do you gauge the value of a virtual item? If you had to work for an hour to earn enough money to buy an item that takes you only a few minutes to use up, do you think you'd feel it was worth the cost?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox One
Subjects:Hobbies: sports
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Communication: friendship building
Price:$14.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:November 21, 2013
Genre:Sports
ESRB rating:E for No Descriptors

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Parent of a 15 and 18+ year old Written bynuenjins February 20, 2016

Glossy game fundamentally broken.

At first the game seems to be a bit frustrating as you adjust to the mechanics but the introductory courses are simple which compensates for that. Having played several golf games before we figured we would get a hang of the slight learning curve. Although the game is graphically fun and smooth we discovered that ANY kind of incline requires adjustment to the point that your icon will be nowhere near where the ball will actually land. Slight adjustments are OK and common in these games but here they are frequent and often severe to the point that there is no consistency and even a perfect shot with the right wind direction will still cause you to come up short even at minimal distances. After several days my wife and I agreed that the game 'looks good' but is the worst and most disappointing golf game we've ever played.