One of the powerful things about the Android, in my opinion, is the fact that you are not held captive by one way of getting applications for your phone. The Android Market is very convenient, but you can also go other routes to purchase and install applications.
One of the other sources is Handmark. They have been around for a while, and I recall purchasing from them back in my Palm days. If you go to their website, you can set what your phone is, and searches will then only display those applications that work with your phone.
They were nice enough to send along Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 for me to review.
By default, the Android restricts you from installing applications from any source other than the Android Market. This is a simple setting on you phone, and easy to change. You just need to go to Settings > Application and check mark the option Unknown sources.
When you purchase an application on Handmark’s site you are sent a link to download the application. If you download it from your phone, it automatically installs. You can also download to you computer and move it to the SD card of your phone. But if you do that, you have to use a free application on the Android Market called Apps Installer and install the application from your SD card. Here is a look at that screen:
I looked forward to testing this particular game because I have played Tiger Woods a lot on my Xbox (yes, I still have that old thing). I was curious as to how this game would translate to my phone.
The graphics are slick, for a cell phone. I really wish they would let you turn off the music, launching the application brings up a very annoying music riff. You can obviously use your volume control to silence it, but frankly I would prefer to turn it off in the options, but that is not available.
The main menu has a number of options.
On the first screen you can do a Quick Start which lets you play a quick 3 holes, Tournament which is 18 holes against computer opponents, Challenge which focuses on specific goals (like within 5-feet of pin), and Practice which lets you define Golfer, Course, Difficulty and Mode (number of holes).
The game tracks your accomplishments. Here are the results of my first tournament round:
They have great help screens that talks through all the options (available near the bottom of the main menu). Here are some examples of how the game play works.
This is the main screen. You can see an overhead shot of the hole to the right, a line of golf balls shows the direction, and the indicator in the center indicates how far below or above the hole you are. The bottom left indicates the club you are using. You can tap it to select a different club. The upper-left target icon changes the view to the target:
You can tap the golf balls to change the location of the aim, and tap the clubs in the upper-left to return to the regular view. You can also aim from the regular view by tapping the golfer and using the arrows there.
To swing tap the track ball to bring up the power bar. Hold down the track ball, and release it when the power bar gets to your desired strength:
While in flight you can put english on the ball:
And on the putting green you get a grid to help you aim:
You can also design your golfer, and view your record on the Extras menu option. I don’t have the latest gaming console, so therefore not the latest Tiger Woods, but if you complete a challenge on this application, you can actually send a Stat Boost to your player on Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.
This will not play on the Droid, it does not support the higher resolution screen, it also does not play in landscape view. Not sure how soon they will update to the Droid, but it worked fine on the Droid Eris.
I think the is a very nice implementation of Tiger Woods on a cell phone. If you like to play the occasional game on your phone, this is a keeper.