Golf Story Review

Apart from Cricket, Golf is the epitome of what makes a sport bad. It takes hours (sometimes days) to finish, can’t be played in all weathers, there’s little crowd chanting and interaction and, in general, it’s boring. That’s all in my opinion anyway, which makes my fondness for Golf Story all the more intriguing.

If you haven’t already worked it out: I hate playing and watching Golf. I can appreciate why many people love it but, it’s just not for me. Golf Story doesn’t care about whether you like golf, or in fact any sport in general. In fact, you might argue that it thrives on people’s lack of knowledge about the sport of golf.

This top-down RPG takes elements of games like Pokemon and SNES Zeldas and combines it with golf. Your aim for the game is simple: to be the best golfer you can possibly be. You do this by exploring the worlds you’ll encounter, meeting the communities that live there and find every opportunity that you can to play golf.

Like any good RPG, Golf Story has a main quest and side stories, most of which offer delightful ways to explore and improve your golfing ability. In the early hours of the game, you’ll be tasked with bouncing golf balls off the back of turtle shells, helping to eradicate a mole rat problem and pinging balls off the beaten path in order to find hidden switches.

The side stories and the main quest will never pose too much of a problem and everything is kept quite simple throughout. Don’t see this as a bad thing though. In fact, Golf Story is the perfect game to dive into every now and then just to hit a few balls and not worry about the stress of everyday life. It’s the perfect game to wind down with after a long day.

The people you’ll meet in Golf Story also hold a certain type of charm and wit that games with the biggest of AAA budgets often struggle to achieve. Golf Story is filled with gentle humour and many of the conversations made me smile in ways that few games have.

Dialogue is shown through comic book-like speech bubbles and their speech is often emphasised through the Switch’s HD Rumble – a feature which barely any developers have taken advantage of so far. The movement of these speech bubbles is effortlessly recreated within the controller, so if a character has something to say which makes the speech bubble turn in a specific way you’ll feel it in your hands. It’s not groundbreaking and doesn’t change the experience, but it’s a nice touch.

As you complete more tasks and quests your golfing ability will improve and so will your clubs. By completing tasks you’ll earn money and XP which can be used to increase your golfing attributes (such as your power) and purchase new and improved equipment, allowing you to hit further and with more accuracy. You’ll also learn new moves, like the Hot Potato shot which allows you to drop a ball and hit it before it hits the ground. You won’t be using this in one of the game’s many tournaments, but it’s satisfying nonetheless.

Golf Story isn’t just about talking to people and playing golf though. While Golf will take up the majority of your time, you’ll be introduced to disc golf and running events early on, which mixes things up a bit on your journey.

Despite my earlier confession of a dislike of golf, in Golf Story it’s not a bad thing. You’ll often be given a different set of stipulations in order to complete a hole when doing side quests. It might be a task to land a ball on an island in the sea; drive it over a certain distance; play to the green only using bunkers or to simply hit characters. It’s not just about going for Pars and Birdies all the time.

Golf Story does have a few minor issues despite all of its delightfulness. For starters, the absence of a world map (or any map for that matter) seems like a strange oversight. I often found myself confused on how to get to different parts of certain worlds or even find specific places. Another is the choice of using the analogue stick to move your character around rather than the D-Pad. This may be due to the fact that I’m lucky enough to remember top-down games of the past where you had no choice but to use a D-Pad, but to me, using an analogue stick to manoeuvre around feels a bit clunky. Especially when you’re racing around. The slightest jolt of the stick can send you into a tree or rock, stopping your movement dead when you’re against the clock.

Golf Story Review Conclusion

Golf Story is a delight to play. It’s an RPG with a unique take, humorous writing and an enjoyable and easy to play philosophy running throughout it. A great addition to any Switch collection – whether you like golf or not.

4/5

We tested Golf Story after receiving a review code from the publisher. Golf Story is out now for Nintendo Switch.

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