Considering Nintendo's knack for imbuing virtually any activity it sees fit with a wealth of charm and personality, and developer T&E Soft's prior success with golf in its densely packed Swing Away Golf for the PlayStation 2, it's kind of surprising just how bland and bereft of features True Swing Golf for the Nintendo DS is. The game's employment of touch-screen controls for aiming and swinging had the potential to at least make for a novel experience, but clumsy implementation makes them a liability rather than a blessing.
True Swing does the bare minimum to be called a modern golf game.
Before you hit the links, though, you'll have to choose your in-game avatar. Since True Swing doesn't feature the likenesses of any real-life golf pros, nor does it have any real character creation system to speak of, you get to choose from eight different boilerplate character models, and either a "cool" or "wild" attitude for your character, which will dictate how your character reacts to the action out on the course. From here, you're dumped into the game's main menu, where you can choose from a rather meager set of gameplay modes.
True Swing doesn't bother with novel rule sets, training minigames, or an extensive career mode, opting instead to keep your options pared down to just match and stroke games. You can play on a random course in the quickplay option, or you can go into the specific match and stroke menu options to specify the course. You can also specify the length of the game, tee placement, and whether you'll play on the original course or a mirrored version, and in the match play mode, you can set the prowess of the CPU. Both modes are competent, but other than for the love of the game, True Swing gives you no compelling reason to play through the straight match or stroke modes--no cash prizes, no stat increases, no new courses, nothing.
If you want to improve the abilities of your avatar, you'll have to go into the championship mode, which puts you into a standard series of increasingly challenging courses against increasingly competent competitors. On a gameplay level, it's not much more compelling or inventive than the stroke or match games, but winning in the championship mode will open up additional courses and net you cash that you can take to the game's pro shop. Here, you can dress up your golfer with new tops and bottoms or buy performance-enhancing clubs, balls, gloves, or shoes. The quantity of gear available in the shop is quite limited, and all of it has a bad, low-fashion look to it.
If going to the country club by your lonesome lacks appeal, True Swing features the same match and stroke games in a multiplayer format. Up to four players--off a single copy of the game or with individual copies--can play at a time, though the course options are much more limited in the single-cart game. Like the single-player components in True Swing, the multiplayer components work well enough--they're just completely predictable.