First impressions can be pretty deceiving in the world of video games. Take What the Golf for example, which started out as your typical golfing video game – I lined up my shot, I set the power with a simple button press, and then pulled off a glorious hole in one in true Tiger Woods fashion. Then I played the second hole and followed the same process, except THIS time I didn’t hit the ball across the course… instead, my golfer launched towards the hole, with his trajectory and momentum determined by the power I applied. Pretty strange, right?
Well, you can expect even more of that sort of bizarreness in What the Golf, with it taking the traditional golf video game formula and completely flipping it on its head with utterly zany antics that continually introduce fresh ideas into your golfing escapade. It might sound totally bananas (and it is), but believe me, it makes for a hell of a lot of fun and easily stands out as the best golf game I’ve played on the Nintendo Switch.
The basics of What the Golf are pretty straight forward and adopt mechanics that are commonly associated with the genre, with players lining up their shots with a neat aiming arrow, holding down the power button to apply different levels of momentum, and then… well… seeing what happens next. Sure, you’d typically expect to see a golf ball launch across the course, but What the Golf is so unpredictable that you just NEVER know what’s going to happen. Heck, I even saw my power meter blast away from me on one course, which certainly caught me by surprise…
Fortunately, you don’t have to sink whatever object you’re launching along the course into the hole – you’ve only got to hit the flagpole at the end, which makes the experience a bit easier. There are plenty of objects that’ll hinder your progress along the way though, with What the Golf certainly showing off its creative flair with its wild assortment of levels.
A lot of levels play in a traditional manner with the player simply hitting multiple shots as they look to reach the flagpole, with the only difference being that you’re not hitting a ball but rather launching yourself… or a vase… or a football… or your power meter… or HUNDREDS of balls at once. These are What the Golf’s simplest levels though, with plenty of different mechanics introduced as you progress. This could be something as simple as playing from a 2D perspective, swinging your ball around like it’s Spider-Man, using fans to guide it into a football goal instead of a flagpole, blasting an egg across the map (but boiling it beforehand so it doesn’t smash), hitting bowling pins over to land a strike, driving a car across a racing course… this list goes on. There are a ton of levels to get through and the game never seems to run out of different ideas to make golfing feel crazier than ever, with each offering a satisfyingly silly take on the sport.
Best of all, some of these levels are inspired by other video games. I don’t want to spoil too much here, but you can expect to face some creative courses based upon the likes of Mario, Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, Metal Gear Solid, and even SUPERHOT, just to name a few. Encountering these levels always brought a smile to my face, whilst the silly puns that’d display when you cleared them had me wincing just as often as they had me laughing. It’s just super jolly and a whole lot of fun.
I’ve found myself completely hooked to What the Golf and worked through the entirety of its single player campaign in just one sitting, with the game taking around three hours to clear in total. It will last even longer if you decide to tackle each level’s optional objectives though, which utilise the level’s mechanics in a more difficult way to push your skills. I actually appreciated these – whilst What the Golf is a lot of fun to play, it’ll rarely challenge you with some levels feeling more like a joke to put a smile on the player’s face rather than a bona fide trial. That’s not a complaint by any means, but players hoping for a tough golfing experience shouldn’t expect that here.
Whilst there’s plenty to see in the game’s single player campaign, there are also some other modes on offer that add extra replayability to the experience. The Daily Challenges offer you a series of courses to tackle every twenty-four hours in order to compete with others, the Party Mode gives players a local multiplayer take on the game’s bizarre antics, and the Impossible Course gives you an ultra-difficult selection of courses to compete through. Put it this way: you won’t be finished with What the Golf quickly…
What the Golf is a brilliantly silly take on the sport of golf, with its ingeniously chaotic level design and countless nods to other video games making for one hell of a good time. Of course, those looking for a serious golfing sim will probably want to steer clear, but players that are itching for a creative and outrageously fun experience on their Nintendo Switch will DEFINITELY want to give What the Golf a whirl.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC