A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- 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
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.