The first thing you should know about Driving Mad Golf is that it isn't a golf game as such. You don't traverse 18 or 9 holes of varying distance, driving, chipping and putting your way to glory (or high blood pressure), on your Android device. Rather, you are faced with a sequence of par 3 holes, dressed up as levels, on which you have to hit the green in one. On each you have an increasingly difficult challenge: from getting two shots on the first green in 99 seconds, to 3 on the second in 99 second, and so on. Complete the level in the time alloted and you win points, and move on to the next challenge. Fail, and you are back to square one. Or hole one, as it is in this case.
Update: this isn't entirely true. By default you go back to the first hole, but click Continue and you start on the last failed hole. With the points you had when you arrived at that hole previously. Thanks to avid PC Advisor reader Richard Clooke for pointing this out.
Consider the rage of your worst hole on a golf course, and then imagine being sent back to the first hole every time you blobbed. That's why they call it Driving Mad Golf.
The closer you are to the hole when you do make the green, the more points you get. You lose points (and time) for sticking the ball in hazards such as sand traps and water. Extra time can be gained on each hole of Driving Mad Golf by hitting one of a succession of seagulls that wheel away above the tee (eyeing up your 10th hole Twix, if my golf club is anything to go by). And a hole in one is worth 1000 points. And that, my friend, is a lot of points.
Driving Mad Golf's golf play itself is simple, refreshingly so for a game for Android phones and Android tablets. You have two axis on screen: power, and direction. Taking each in turn, you have to stop the fast-moving power bar at the point of optimium power, and then the correct line of attack. It's just difficult enough to be nigglingly moreish.
The screen as you play Driving Mad Golf shows three panes. On the righthand side is information such as your score, the time left in the level, and the wind direction and speed. On the right is a helpful map of the hole, with distance and hazards clearly marked. You play on the large pane in the middle. It works well, and the adverts on this free game are relatively unobtrusive at the top of the central pane (that's why the game requires internet access, by the way - be aware that you will be downloading data as you play). See also: Best Android Apps
That said, as addictive as the game is, there are occasions when Driving Mad Golf seems unfair. It is staggering the number of occasions where your shot will fall just short of the green or roll off into the fringe. And the wind changes at the drop of a hat, wreaking havoc with your best-laid plans. Also, the wind seems to have too great a say at times: you can completely fluff a shot and it shamefacedly creeps up on to the green, or catch one perfectly and the wind carries it miles beyond into the inevitable river. Cue club-throwing rage.
But perhaps that is the point of a game called 'Driving Mad Golf' and featuring a snapped club as its symbol.
Driving Mad Golf: Specs
- REQUIRES ANDROID: 1.6 and up
- REQUIRES ANDROID: 1.6 and up
Driving Mad Golf is not a life-changing gaming experience, and it is unlikely to take the place of Super Stickman Golf or Let's Golf 3 in your Android golfing arsenal. But it is a maddeningly moreish casual game. And for free, you really can't beat the price.