OS Scores Explained Powerstar Golf Overview (Xbox One)
Very solid gameplay, great presentation, easy control scheme, solid career mode.
Lack of depth overall, no online multiplayer, sound needs a few slight improvements.
Bottom Line
A good and solid launch game. If this is a sign of where indie sports are heading, we're on board.
out of 10
Powerstar Golf REVIEW

Powerstar Golf Review (Xbox One)

Zoe Mode's Powerstar Golf is unquestionably charming. From the lush visuals to the comforting background music, there isn't a moment where the game doesn't welcome you with open arms. And even though it's far from a true to life simulation of the sport, it brings the same kinds of triumphs and frustrations. Despite a few noticeable flaws and omissions, Powerstar Golf provides a reasonable amount of depth for only $20.


Powerstar Golf doesn't bring a whole lot of innovation to the table, but it's great at what it does.

The control scheme is easy to pick up and learn, but it doesn't stop the game from being extremely challenging at times. In my first few hours of play, I played in various tournaments in a career mode, and didn't win a single one. The game utilizes an easy three click system that should be familiar to anyone who has played a classic golf game: click once to start your swing, click again for power, and then press the button one last time to determine accuracy. The needle that determines your shot moves up and down the meter (which lies horizontally across the bottom of the screen) fairly quickly, so timing up a perfect shot every swing isn't likely to be an issue.

That said, the game rarely has you stray very far from the fairway. In no less than ten rounds, I don't think I missed the fairway more than 20% of the time. The game attempts to reconcile with this by placing a variety of hazards in the middle of the fairway, including bunkers, ponds, and even large rocks. It makes for an interesting challenge, but not having to worry about a bad slice or hook takes removes some variety.

Putting isn't a whole lot different than the Tiger Woods series, as the green is laid out on a grid to help you read your putts. The formula is a little worn at this point, but putting is difficult enough that just reading the grid isn't going to land you a whole lot of one-putts. Instead, a unique caddy feature is available to give you a one-time look at how the putt is going to break off of your club.

Chipping is likely the easiest part of the game, but getting out of a bunker or deep rough isn't an easy task. The game gives you three options (a "pitch" shot, a chip, or a normal swing) to use for whatever situation you might find yourself in. Though, as with the driving, you aren't likely to chip one too far off your intended path. Instead, there's an emphasis on reading greens and putting a nice touch on the ball.

What makes the gameplay unique is a feature that allows you to "boost" your shots. These boosters are unlocked through experience points, which you acquire while playing the game. While a few of them are pretty interesting, most end up being simple stat upgrades. Much more interesting is the ability to upgrade your caddy. With experience points, you can unlock unique abilities and attach them to your caddy in order to give them a little flair. Depending on the course and what character you choose, pairing them with a compatible caddy is significantly important.


Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Powerstar Golf is that it manages to relax you in a way that reminded me an awful lot of Sunday afternoons out on the links. The game opens up with a few very helpful tutorials that display the colorful visuals and diverse character models. There aren't a ton of characters to choose from, but those that are there are original enough to give you incentive to unlock more.

The sound isn't perfect, but there's a noticeable difference from hitting the ball out of the rough from hitting one out of the fairway. Moreover, hitting a good shot gifts a satisfying ping where as you'll just as soon know when you've duffed one a few yards down the way. The game also has a narrator that will talk about new courses, characters, and game tips. The voice acting is otherwise pretty unspectacular, but every character has a few different quips original to their character.

Other things like swans floating across a pond or airplanes flying overhead give the game a really immersive feel. The graphics aren't perfect, but they often feel nostalgic while giving you something pretty to look at. The colors emit a soft glow that's easy on the eyes, and the lighting changes perfectly as you make your way through a round.

Game Modes

The game doesn't have a ton of depth, but it gives you just enough to leave you satisfied. Career mode is easily the deepest mode in the game, giving you various tasks across four different golf courses -- ranging from tournaments to one on one challenges with the CPU. Challenges spread out throughout the game provide an interesting way to earn extra XP as you play, but they wind up repeating themselves more often than not. For every new task within the mode, you are given the ability to earn a bronze medal, a silver medal, and a gold medal. Getting gold on every assignment is surprisingly difficult. In my time with the game, I failed over and over again in an attempt to earn gold for each challenge. Fortunately, this gives the game a ton of replayability.

Powerstar Golf is lacking an online multiplayer mode -- something that would have fit in really nicely with the other game modes. It's disappointing, because I got to play the game locally with some friends, and we all had a blast. Even though it doesn't make up for it, the game gives players the ability to enter something called "Rival Mode". This mode allows the player to challenge other friend's high scores (weekly, or all-time) and earn a good chunk of XP. Don't have any friends that play the game? Not to worry, as the game will allow you challenge other players from across the globe. It's a lot of fun to beat other high scores, but I couldn't help but scratch my head as to why there was no real head-to-head online mode. Adding in the ability to play a scramble or team up for some best ball would be a game changer, if Zoe Mode were to ever add it.

Final Thoughts

If Powerstar Golf is any kind of indicator to the future of indie sports gaming, we are in for a treat. Even though the lack of a true online mode and relatively basic gameplay get in the way of the game being a truly great experience, there's no doubt that hardcore and casual fans of the sport will find enjoyment in the game.

Gameplay: A simple control scheme doesn't get in the way of Powerstar Golf providing some surprisingly tough golf. There isn't a ton of variety, but the engaging courses to just enough to keep things fresh.

Presentation: Easily the strongest aspect of the game, providing a great way for fans of the sport to enjoy it in the comforts of their own home. From the soft lighting to the detailed life surrounding the course, Powerstar Golf makes this virtual world a lot of fun to be in.

Game Modes: The lack of a real online multiplayer option certainly doesn't help, but a fairly deep career mode filled with upgrades and challenges is enough to keep you playing for upwards of a dozen hours.

Score - 7.5 (Good)

Scoring Note:  A 7.5, or good on our scale, indicates a game was close to achieving greatness but some flaws are holding it back. These games are very playable and are worth checking out if you are curious about them. Good games offer good value, and should be treated as such. Had Powerstar golf had working online multiplayer or done a couple of other things better, it would have scored in the great range.

Powerstar Golf Videos
Member Comments
# 1 allBthere @ 12/03/13 11:02 AM
This was one of the only launch titles I was interested in. The best golf game for me to date is outlaw golf 1 for the original xbox, if it's anything like that I'd really like it. It looks like it is, but I have no idea if it plays like that or not.
# 2 zasbury25 @ 12/03/13 11:40 AM
Another positive review for this game...not sure if I can put off buying this game much longer.
# 3 moose616 @ 12/03/13 03:21 PM
Anyone else thinking Hot Shots Golf?
# 4 underdog13 @ 12/03/13 04:11 PM
Originally Posted by moose616
Anyone else thinking Hot Shots Golf?
Yeah seems like it
# 5 Keith74 @ 12/03/13 04:33 PM
My wife and I are loving this game. We played Tiger and 3D Mini Golf on 360, and feel this is a mixture. Add me, I would love to play online and find other Rivals.
# 6 lnin0 @ 12/03/13 07:32 PM
Powerstar Golf is brilliant. For $20 it offers 6 golfers across 4 courses in the vain of a Hot Shots or Mario Golf title. It looks decidedly better than CG but nothing visually about the game is drool worthy due to its cartoonish looks. Most of your play time will be spent leveling up to unlock new courses/characters while simultaneously earning coins.

Coins, which can also be purchased for real world money, are used to buy in-game card packs of varying levels. Each pack contain upgraded gear, caddy perks and single round boosters that help improve your game. You earn coins at a steady enough clip to make this RPG element work.

This RPG card element allows you to customize a golfer to your play style yet never feels forced on you like some pay-to-win games. A big reason for this balance, is that the game doesn't feature an online mode, which would have quickly tipped it in favor of the biggest spenders. I can only imagine the negative reviews if that were the case.

So no, the game does not offer online play although it does an amazing job of tracking every type of record imaginable. It constantly keeps you aware of personal, friends and world's best drives, approach shots and putts for each shot you never feel as alone as you are. And if you still miss that entire, waiting for someone else to swing thing, you can always queue up a rival friend's (or random's) best round ghosts to play against. All this connectivity goes a long way to make the single player game that much more engaging.

Better, yet, invite that friends or family member over so you can show of your new Xbox One and enjoy this game with them. Side by side play trumps 'online' gaming because 1) only one person needs an Xbox One 2) only one controller is required 3) you can trash talk your friend in person. This game excels as the launch game for parties and should keep any arcade golf fans happily occupied long enough to recoup their money's worth.
# 7 Triggerfish @ 12/03/13 09:44 PM
Hot Shots ...though it looks cartoonish had pretty realistic gameplay...not sure if this does. Maybe if price drops a lot....They should have a demo version?
# 8 BBallcoach @ 12/03/13 10:09 PM
I love this game. I bought it day one. I've been playing it more than NBA 2k14 (which I love but PSG hooks you). it's a great modern 50's stylized game. I wish there was online multiplayer but even for the $20 its worth it. It's not on hot shots level with realistic ball physics (which makes it the best golf game) but it's still fun for a cartoony game, And it can get tough, -3 is a pretty good round for 9 and -5 for 18 is good.
# 9 Shadymamba @ 12/04/13 09:59 AM
I'll wait for Hot Shots for PS4 - looks nice though
# 10 Yeats @ 12/06/13 06:29 AM


Player models that look like this ^ and she holes out with her second shot from the fairway from 120 yards out ("Chipped (??) it in!" the announcer exclaims.) I'll stick with Links 2003 thanks.
# 11 WarlordZMaster @ 12/06/13 08:15 PM
Looks like video game golf. Reminds me of an upgrade of the Adamcalc 500 PC we had as our pfirst PC, 3 button clicks. I will pass. Hot Shots is decent, still videogame golf has nothing on the real thing.
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# 13 Sadince @ 12/08/13 04:28 PM
My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,,,,,WWW.Rush64.COM
# 14 OnlookerDelay @ 12/09/13 12:24 PM
I know this is an arcade golf game and doesn't pretend to be anything but; however, I've got to tip my hat to the developer for at least throwing in these Rival mode challenges. I wish that developers of all golf games would pick up on this idea and have a database ("cloud" if you wish) of recorded golf rounds for gamers to play against. However, don't tell us what final score the recorded round was before we play against it. Let the round unfold shot-by-shot, based on the order of play rules of golf.

EA Sports had something like this up through Tiger 12 (I believe that's where it ended anyway) with their "Gamernet" 18 hole challenges. You could play against a recorded round and it would sequence the order of play just as if you were playing live against the player who recorded round. The problem was that you knew what score they shot prior to the round and it took all the mystery out of it.

Why not just have a selection of rounds to choose from where all you know is that golfer's average score for the given difficulty level, and the course and weather conditions? I think something like this would take off, even though for my money it would still take a back seat to live multiplayer play.
# 15 BenGerman @ 12/11/13 10:34 PM
Hey fellas. After the review, I've continued to play this game a ton and fall more and more in love with it with every round. Anyone with an Xbox One and a passion for the game of golf deserves to give this one a shot.
# 16 mike24forever @ 12/12/13 05:37 PM
Originally Posted by BenGerman
Hey fellas. After the review, I've continued to play this game a ton and fall more and more in love with it with every round. Anyone with an Xbox One and a passion for the game of golf deserves to give this one a shot.
Completely agree.
# 17 GruffyMcGuiness @ 12/14/13 09:22 PM
I've never struggled at badly at putting as I do on this game. I mean I get a bogey every hole because I miss short putts
# 18 OnlookerDelay @ 12/15/13 11:18 PM
This game gives the appearance of rendering the whole course. Is it possible to hit you ball into an adjacent fairway without being declared out of bounds? Do you ever see golfers on the other holes as you play? I think it would be a nice atmospheric touch if they showed life and action on other holes, or even up ahead of you on the hole you're playing.
# 19 BenGerman @ 12/16/13 12:19 PM
Originally Posted by GruffyMcGuiness
I've never struggled at badly at putting as I do on this game. I mean I get a bogey every hole because I miss short putts
I struggled a lot too, especially in the early goings. My best tips? Play with someone other than the Rocket guy and get a new putter. The stat makes it so that even when you do hit a putt on target, you're going to miss sometimes. Not to mention, I'm almost positive the meter moves slower when using a better putter.

This game gives the appearance of rendering the whole course. Is it possible to hit you ball into an adjacent fairway without being declared out of bounds? Do you ever see golfers on the other holes as you play? I think it would be a nice atmospheric touch if they showed life and action on other holes, or even up ahead of you on the hole you're playing.
Onlooker, I'm honestly not sure. It definitely has that look to it, which is great. I'll be honest, as bad as I am at this game, it's REALLY hard to hook or slice one that badly. I've hit quite a few hazards, but I've yet to hit the wrong fairway.
# 20 ZB9 @ 01/01/14 10:10 PM
This game is quite challenging. Im loving it. As far as putting, I always try to hit my approach shot so that im putting uphill. Putting uphill is much easier.

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