I tried, I really tried. One of the goals of Game A Week is to narrow down my taste in games, to find what I like and dislike in a game. Golf Story is the first game so far, then, that just didn’t quite click for me. That’s not to say it’s a bad game! But there were some problems I had with it that I just personally couldn’t overlook. Like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, I didn’t get far enough to give a conclusive review, but I can still go over my thoughts on the game!
Let’s get this part out of the way- the golf gameplay was just a smidge too tedious for me to enjoy it. In particular, the missions/quests have a varying degree of difficulty.
Basically, this is half RPG, half golf game. The RPG side means there’s stats, items and ‘quests’, which I totally love. The golf side is where I had trouble. It plays about as you’d expect- there’s a bar with a moving slider, you have to press A at certain points along the slider to gauge your power and swing.
A lot of the quests you get, however, give you some limitations. Some aren’t so bad, like “hit the balls in the water to feed the fish”. Some are “only use the rough to get to the hole”. Which sounds easy, but sometimes the ball doesn’t quite do what you want, leading to a fail. You then have to reaccept the quest, push past all the dialogue again (no skip as far as I could see) and rewatch the pre-quest cutscene showing you the course.
There’s only so much of that I can personally handle. I kept pushing past it, hoping it was just one or two quests, but they kept coming back up. Seemingly at random, because you can have a bunch of easy ones, then suddenly a quest that it just absolutely tedious.
For the most part, though, the game is solid. I’ll keep coming back to this, finish a few rounds and then leave it, though. Pushing through just left me frustrated more often than anything.
The HD rumble of the Switch is used fantastically here, though. There were many times where I was playing on low volume, but sounds kept popping up anyway. Turns out Golf Story uses the HD rumble to make various sound effects in your hands! My favourite is throwing golf balls off the edge in the mountain area, to hear that cartoonish falling sound.
The story, and setting, are absolutely great! Especially for an Aussie. I’d be worried about the header image giving it away, but in the first few moments of the game, characters talk about sausage rolls and meat pies- the game is basically set in an golf version of Australia.
The story itself is a classic, legend-in-the-making narrative, with your character continuing the golfing legacy within your family, with a cute intro/tutorial where your dad teaches you the ins and outs of golfing.
There’s different courses with drastically different themes to them, with the NSWish zone being a typical green golf course, and my homeland of SA being a prehistoric, caveman themed desert. I really don’t know if that’s a dig at SA or not, to be honest…
There’s a handful of smaller stories going on within this world as well, including a bunch of pretentious fris- er, disc golfers challenging you to their apparently superior version of the game, a small war between a groundskeeper and an army of molerats stealing golf balls, and probably much more.
The art style is a 16-bit era, sprite based sort of thing, with a very rich variety of colours between zones. It’s fairly straight forward in presentation, and consistent across zones, but… the UI is a totally different style. The dialogue boxes have a handwritten, high resolution text and graphical style to them, as well as the HUD. It feels slightly nitpicky, but I feel it would look and feel better if it was all sprite based artwork.
That said, I can’t get over how different each zone looks. The starting zone is as green as can be, with the prehistoric zone being completely orange. Above is a mountain like zone, with the green turning into a slight blueish tinge- it’s subtle, but very noticeable if you look out for it.
Overall, Golf Story is a fine game if you enjoy casual RPGs, or 16 bit era sports games. But if you have trouble with tedium in any degree, like myself, you will struggle with it. Which is a huge shame, everything about this game is fantastic, but I just simply couldn’t get past it. If you get it, I certainly hope you have better luck than I did!