I recently decided to pick up (or rather, download) Golf Story for the Switch after seeing numerous glowing reviews of the game and finding out that it is actually created by a couple of Queenslanders! I’m not really one for golf (even though I’ve previously enjoyed quite a bit of Tiger Woods and Golden Tee…) but I do like RPG’s and at a nice low price I figured “why the hell not?”; knowing full well there was only a 50/50 chance I would ever play it. Gladly, I have and what a pleasant surprise!
Now being an RPG based around golf I can tell you right now that if you’re expecting action and thrills, you’re in the wrong place… but if you’re looking for a fun game with endearing Aussie slang and a lot of quirky laughs… then welcome to Wellworn Grove. Let’s tee off.
Something that really stands out in this game is the characters, and how everyone gives you the impression of a classic stereotype, but you can’t think of where from.. Like the Coach that doesn’t like you and the students that all think they’re better than you, when they’re actually shocking at the game.
Another outstanding ‘feature’ is the dialogue. You honestly don’t see many RPG’s come out of Australia, so we (Australians / me) are pretty well accustomed to the way the a typical (read: Japanese dialogue converted by Americans to English) RPG is going to read. Much in the same way that we’re accustomed to how American TV shows and movies are scripted; it’s the norm, but it’s not how we act in real life. Well… Golf Story is.. ish. The dialogue, while overstated for comedic effect, is very close to what any common Australian might say in that situation and it’s absolutely great. Throw in the hilarious scenarios of a couple of people defending each other (looks like it went about 280), and the game just spews low-key comedy at you all the way along.
As for controls, Golf Story has a surprising amount of control mechanics for a golf game, but probably a bit light on for an RPG (unless you compare it to something like The Legend of Zelda: Link To The Past). A fun (… ‘fun’) feature of the game that fly’s completely under the radar is its utilisation of the Switch’s “HD Rumble“, which everyone cast off as marketing fluff when dropping ice cubes in a glass was used as a technology promo, but is an actual real thing that is completely unique to the Nintendo Switch. With this in mind Sidebar Games (the guys that made the game) have actually programmed a different rumble type for each surface in the game, amazing right?! Yeah I didn’t notice either, but it’s good to see developers (even indie ones) utilising platform specific features, and developing for single platforms as well.
For a top-down RPG this game has a great level of depth in the actual golfing mechanics. While they could have easily worked around the basics (e.g. Mario Golf), they decided to go the extra mile and introduce a few extra things that all change the result of hitting your ball. That being said they’re not hard to master and you could probably play a decent way through the game without really learning the more advanced features.
All in all, Golf Story is well-made, funny, charming, entertaining, and just all around a great game with a low price point meaning any gamer with a Switch can afford it. Huge props to the Sidebar Games team for their ‘first’ game (the dev’s have made games for years, but they made Sidebar Games to go with Golf Story), and I sincerely hope they move on to make another hit with their next game.
Go and grab Golf Story from the Nintendo Switch Online Store.