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Community Article: Indie Insights - What The Golf?

Written by John Edwards

 

 

 

Golf is a good walk spoiled, or so they say. Fortunately in What The Golf? walking isn't particularly high on the list of things you will be doing, but then neither is playing golf.

 

You may come to a golf game expecting the usual swing meter, a power gauge, something about the wind probably. In What The Golf? you get to point in a direction and choose the power and then some insanity.

 

What The Golf? is a remarkable exercise in subverting your expectations and making you laugh. It starts off innocently, you hit a ball in a hole. Then on the next level you take your shot but instead of the ball flying through the air, the golfer does instead.

 

 

 

This is just a taste of the imagination and variety that you'll come across as you play the game. There's a temptation to blurt out all the unexpected ways in which the game wants you to 'golf' but a lot of the joy comes from the surprise so I will be as coy as possible.

 

The game has a level selection map where you whack a ball around a disused lab of some sort, hitting golf flags to select a level. Each one has its initial version, a variant of what was asked for and then a final task that nets you a crown. Completing the different challenges in the levels contribute to your progress and unlocking trophies. It was a pleasure to aim for 100% in this game.

 

 

There are 2D and 3D levels but the controls remain intuitive throughout. You can also use the touchscreen to drag across the screen to set your aim and power. There was one level involving a crab which I had to use the touchscreen to finish the hardest challenge as it allows for quicker inputs.

 

For some levels, like the Mario Galaxy feeling planet levels, you have a helpful guide line for where the ball will go. There is a wonderful, tactile immediacy to the controls and they help with that 'one more go' feeling.

 

 

 

While I don't want to give too much away about what's in the game, I should say it is absolutely crammed full of references, nods, winks, homages and parodies of other games. These range from indie darlings to larger gaming luminaries.

 

What The Golf? is a very funny game, not just because of the number of times it pokes your brain with nudge about other games, but the absolute deluge of puns it hammers home. Almost every hole ends with a pun that will leave you grinning/despairing for humanity depending on your appreciation of wordplay.

 

 

 

One of my favourite bits of What The Golf? is the 'Show To A Friend' mode. This gives you a handful of levels from throughout the game that you can use to entice a friend. Hand over your Switch and watch the bafflement turn to disbelief then to rapturous joy as they play through a sample of the eccentricities on offer.

 

In many ways What The Golf? is a game perfect for the Switch. It is easy to pick up and play, it lends itself to quick bursts of fun and works perfectly well with a single joy con as you only need a control stick and a button.

 

 

It provides a two player Party Mode where you race to the flag against another player on randomly selected holes. It is raucously good fun and even people who have never played the game before will be in with a chance because it's so intuitive.

 

There's a Daily Challenge, achievements and a mode called Impossible Challenge which is actually possible, just probably not in as few strokes as everyone else of the leaderboard seems to manage.

 

What The Golf? is a joyous experience. Easy to pick up, so much to do and never ending fun. Golf may be a good walk spoiled, but maybe they're just missing out on hidden cats, hot dogs carts fit to burst and a rocket propelled office chair.