One of the perks that Nokia has been promising since before the N-Gage even launched is wide-area wireless multiplayer action via the N-Gage Arena. So far, though, the Arena has only been used to post high scores and compete against the ghosts of other players. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 for the N-Gage isn't amazing, but it's a landmark game for Nokia's fledgling platform, since it's the first N-Gage game to offer real-time online competition, which also makes it the first N-Gage game with an appreciable advantage over its Game Boy Advance counterpart.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 is, for the most part, identical to the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 game released for the Game Boy Advance late last year. The gameplay imitates the analog swing mechanic found in the past few console versions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour. You push down and up on the D pad to swing the club, and you can put hook or slice on your shot by pressing diagonally. This imitation-analog control scheme doesn't provide the same level of accuracy as the old-timey three-button-click mechanic, but all the same, it works well enough. Additionally, you can charge up the power of your swing by tapping on either the 1 or the 3 key during your backswing, and you can affect the spin of the ball while it's in the air by pressing a direction on the D pad while tapping on either the 1 or the 3 key. For all the realism that the game tries to imbue with the swing mechanic, it seems counterintuitive to include such blatantly unrealistic devices while not including an option to disable them.
When you get on the putting green, though, you're given little indication as to the contour of the turf, thus leaving you to rely solely on your "caddy's tips," which give you a rough estimation of where you should aim to sink your shot. Relying entirely on the caddy's tips takes away a lot of the sense of control in the short game. Once you get to a certain level of proficiency, putting becomes so easy that you're free to slop around quite a bit when you're driving, since you know you can make up for it on the green.
The other significant quirk comes when you're lining up your long shots. Before you go off the tee, you can press the A button to switch to a top-down perspective, which lets you change clubs and lets you adjust your aim. However, when you're in this view, you can only move around the course as far as you can hit the ball, which means you'll often be lining up a shot without any real idea of where the hole or even the green is.
The game doesn't really do anything too radical to the sport of golf and pretty much sticks to the safe stuff in terms of gameplay options. There's a practice mode, which is good for a one-off game of golf, as well as a career mode where you can choose between full 18-hole tournament games and special three-hole scenarios. Either provides a decent game of golf, but the career mode feels pretty limited, so a few days of steady play is enough time to tear through the game's eight tournaments and 12 scenarios.