There’s something about golf video games that I just find so relaxing. The easy-going pace of the sport and the typically accessible mechanics always make it one of the easier sims to get into, regardless of whether or not you’ve even lifted a golf club up in real life – that’s always been perfect for me. Golf Peaks changes that up though by adding a puzzling element to the game that doesn’t demand a good swing but rather a clever mind. This isn’t your conventional golf game folks, but it still manages to be an enjoyable one.
Those hoping to experience a traditional golf game on their Nintendo Switch are going to be slightly disappointed, with Golf Peaks instead taking the puzzling approach but tying it into the sport. Each level takes place on an isometric golf course that is broken down into tiles – you’re given a selection of cards with numbers on that dictate how many tiles the ball will move across. Your goal is to get the ball to the hole without rolling it off the course completely or running out of cards, so it’s up to you to check your deck and carefully plan out the path you’ll take across each course. Of course, it is possible to complete certain levels without using all of your cards, though the game never challenges you to do so with no form of time-limit or scoreboard to influence you to play in a specific way. It’s one of those games that’s simple enough to understand, but becomes more complicated as it brings more mechanics your way.
Some of those mechanics include the likes of slopes that’ll continually move your ball along, sand bunkers and water that’ll halt your progress, portals that’ll completely change your location, and even the need for additional cards such as the ‘chip shot’ that’ll let you jump over obstacles in your path. Golf Peaks takes a lot of the conventional things you’d expect to find on a golf course (well… except for the portals) and ties them into the puzzle-solving experience, with the player expected to work their way past them whilst adhering to just the moves that the cards allow them.
Plotting the best route across a course is undeniably ingenious and makes for a really fun experience, though you can definitely expect to be left stumped on more than a few occasions. There are over a hundred levels in total and some of them will really push your skills to the limit, whether it’s thanks to an influx of obstacles to overcome, the sheer size of the course, or just the fact that you have no room for error with your often limited selection of cards. Still, you’re always given exactly what you need to succeed and the simplistic gameplay mechanics ensure you can even solve a puzzle through the consistent use of trial-and-error, so it never starts to feel frustrating.
In fact, I was left wanting more. It took a few hours to get through all of Golf Peaks’ courses, but I had such a fun time doing so that it left me itching for a few more levels just to keep embracing my inner Tiger Woods. I can’t complain that players aren’t getting enough bang for their buck though – you’re getting a heck of a lot of golf-puzzling action for less than a fiver here.
Visually, Golf Peaks feature a simplistic yet clean aesthetic that manages to look the part throughout. Sure, not much changes between levels outside of the overall colour scheme, but it looks pretty enough and suits the basic nature of the gameplay well. Plus, I’m a sucker for an isometric viewpoint, so that did a lot for me anyway…
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch