Much like the proverbial tiger let out of the cage (double entendre anyone?) EA has recently reaffirmed its commitment to the iPhone with the dual App Store release of two of its largest franchises: Need for Speed and Tiger Woods PGA Tour.
For anyone familiar with the Tiger Woods series the iPod iteration will feel right at home. You pick from a series of pro golfers or create one of your own through a fairly stripped down character editor. Playing through any one of the seven real life courses earns you money (through good fairway drives, long putts etc, as well as birdies and eagles) with the aim being to buy your way onto the PGA tour. Unlike the console titles control is implemented via a touch screen interface that let's you do everything from smash long drives down the fairway to curve shots around trees. Running a finger down the screen raises your club skywards (setting power) whilst flicking it back up the screen brings the club down (setting accuracy). The system works brilliantly, and while it's never going to replace the sensation of swinging a real club it does a fantastic job of bringing a bit of added feeling to the game.
Much like a driving test Tiger's faults come in the form of a couple of minors and one major. The commentary can be way off the mark at times - upon landing a banana of a shot in the rough we couldn't help feeling the commentator was mocking us with her 'hey that's a nice shot' routine. While the courses are presented accurately they do feel a little lonesome with the only hint of an audience being the empty sound of applause when you sink a fine shot. These problems are only worth mentioning because the game has such a high polish to it that anything short of perfection comes in as a bit of surprise. As mentioned there is but one major problem that will no doubt be an inconsideration to some but a definite put off for others - Tiger Woods has no online multiplayer function at all. While it's still great fun to enter the PGA tour alone it would have been a real treat to face off against some human opposition.
The quality of Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09 is absolutely top notch. The control system actually raises the bar in terms of what we've seen on some home console versions and will no doubt stand as a benchmark for future App Store golf titles. Multiplayer would have been a nice addition but there is still plenty on offer here to keep you coming back to perfect your swing (finger swipe) even after you've completed the main event.