- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Here’s a look at a few games for Apple’s iPad 2.  

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 (Electronic Arts, $9.99) - Unlike the level of mediocrity recently seen on the golf course in this franchise’s namesake, the latest game bearing Tiger Woods‘ moniker delivers a winning event for owners of Apple’s latest computer tablet.

I’m a novice golfer at best, but as a gamer, I can appreciate the wealth of options and features granted for the $10 fee in this slick simulation.

Players get a golfing avatar all gussied up - complete with purple pants, black gloves and baseball cap - that can shoot a solo round (from three to 18 holes), compete in a full calendar’s worth of PGA Tour events or challenge Tiger himself.

The solo round also offers up to four local players the chance to pass the tablet around and select from a customized avatar or eight current golf pros, including Tiger, Paula Creamer and Zach Johnson.

Now, let’s discuss the all-important stroke meter, which requires a player to move a finger down the meter to power up and pull up to swing. Once the ball is in the air, quickly scrape the finger across the screen in the direction you want the ball to rotate for some killer backspin or to get a few more yards on the drive.

Drawing a straight line leads to the best success - except for the experts looking to carefully craft a slice to strategically drop a shot.

Overall, I found it difficult to master, and putting can be a nightmare. It perfectly replicates the actual game of golf.

Courses available include Pebble Beach, Doral, St. Andrews and Hazeltine, and each looks as pretty as a colorful picture, including animation of birds in flight, clouds, moving shadows and rippling water (a place where my ball often ended up).

The key for an avatar is to collect cash to pay entrance fees. Participating in premiere golf events brings bigger paydays, and the prize money can be used to upgrade skills such as drive control and power.

Experts also will appreciate the control over club selection, shot type, speed and power.

Options that also make PGA Tour 12 worth the price of admission include receiving help from the caddy to see a simulation of a putt before making the final shot, viewing multiple angles of a hole (including gorgeous flyovers) and being able to connect with Facebook and play a “closest to the pin” challenge. (Compare distances with friends.)

I recommend wearing headphones while playing the game. It will engulf golfers’ ears with the sounds of the outdoors, occasionally peppered with applause or groans, depending on the shot (major groans in my case).

The game does have a couple of miscues.

First, there’s the smattering of monotone and monotonous commentary. I can’t believe a better range of narration could not have been picked.

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