A hole in one in concept.
Platforms: PC, iOS (via Apple Arcade)
Genre: A golf game for people who hate golf. Couldn’t have said it better ourselves…
For a game with golf in the title, there is surprisingly little of it in What The Golf?. And that’s what makes this indie game from Triband quite a remarkable 2019 treasure.
What The Golf? only has one gameplay mechanic: pull back, aim, and release. You just have to hold the mouse button and move your mouse to determine the strength and direction of your shots. It’s everything else that entertains you to no end, from the game’s story featuring a computer who wants to improve the sport of golf, to the chill soundtrack.
The first stage of this wacky bright game makes you hit a ball into a hole like in conventional golf game, but all bets are off after that. You get to knock a house into a golfing zone with cars driving onto the course to impede you. You even get to launch a golfer into a hole. Sometimes, the hole moves around like a sentient being to avoid getting a ball in. Heck, there’s even football, bowling, and even first-person shooting shoved in to keep you on your toes.
And sometimes, you have to guide a cowboy’s loogie into a bucket while electric fans are trying to blow it away off-course.
The objects you’re using as projectiles have their own physics and obstacles to deal with. You have to take into account how fragile a vase is and how it rolls in one direction if it’s positioned in a particular way. Or even figure out how an office chair would move in a course. Riveting questions, really. Or solve a multi-ball puzzle; there’s a lot of that here in What The Golf?, and it’s really challenging.
The puzzles here are more creative and tricky than frustrating, and the strange vibes of the world you’re stuck in makes the experience all the more calming. Like you’re doing a physics-based puzzle while an acapella group snaps their fingers to a catchy yet low-pitched beat.
The game’s humour also blindsides you with what you’re using as a projectile and its wordplay. I rather not spoil all of it, as I want you, readers, to experience this game’s zaniness for yourself.
Let’s just say that if you’re up-to-date with your memes and gaming references, you’ll appreciate the easter eggs and course inspirations this title has to offer.
And if you want a bigger and better challenge, the game’s stages also have alternate versions with a time limit and a restriction on your moves. You’ll get some sweet trophies for your troubles.
No Bogeys In Sight
My only nitpick is that some of the more esoteric challenges are a bit awkward to control with the “pull back, aim, and release” control scheme, and with a mouse to boot. I feel that this game is better played on a touchscreen for certain segments, but it’s not a complete game-breaker; you just need a few tries to get used to it.
Still, don’t let that deter you from one of 2019’s finest indie gems. What The Golf? is a funny, challenging, and inventive take on an old-timer sport that relishes in its insanity.
- An innovative take on golf.
- Zany visual style mixed well with smooth soundtrack.
- Easy controls
- Creative & challenging physics-based puzzles.
- Funny and cute narrative & tone.
- Awkward controls in certain reflex-based sections.
FINAL SCORE: 90/100