Game: Forest Golf Planner
Genre: Simulation, Sports, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on iOS and Android)
Developer | Publisher: Kairosoft
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $12.00 | UK £10.79 | EU € 12,00
Release Date: June 14th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Kairosoft.
Kairosoft’s latest Nintendo Switch release is Forest Golf Planner. Build and manage your own golf course with a clubhouse and aim to become the best!
I’m getting into the swing of playing Kairosoft games, but this one will have to go a fairway to be on par with some of the others. So will it soar like an eagle or fail to make the cut?
Planning Kairo Hills Golf Course
In Forest Golf Planner, Callie Shaq is your course caddy, guiding you around the bunkers and onto the green. You can update the default name, but I liked the name Kairo Hills Golf Course.
Starting with the nineteenth hole, Callie encourages you to add some fixtures to the clubhouse, for instance, an ice cream stand or a bakery. Soon your first customer arrives, and while Callie explains the basics of golf, you follow your player round the first hole.
Whilst the player enjoys their experience, they explain that more scenery would enhance their satisfaction. So they give you some sunflowers and tulips to decorate the course with. The next player wants something a little more challenging, so Callie gives you the basic builds of bunkers and grassy rough.
It’s easy to place lots of decorations and facilities, but the starting pot of cash is only 10,000 gold. The first time you go into the red, Callie will raid her piggy bank to help you out!
At the end of the first quarter, the Golf Association Chairman introduces himself, explains the ranking system and grants you permission to build more holes. Callie explains how to create a new hole and once created, depending on the types of decoration, it will get a name, for example, toasty tulips. As you add more or different decorations, the name changes.
Promo Pete arrives and explains how advertising will help boost the number of customers, and the familiar face of Pumpkin Products offers delightful decorations and additional facilities.
You’re now free to build, decorate, plan and manage your golf course in the forest.
Who’s for a Round of Golf
You start with 5 customers, all with zero satisfaction and low skill levels. Playing rounds of golf will increase both satisfaction and skill. However, if the hole is too difficult, your players will struggle, and their satisfaction might drop.
A good way of increasing both satisfaction and skill is by giving lessons. Although a customer might ask for specific training, it’s possible to select any hole and customer and play the mini-game. At certain satisfaction levels, the customer will give a request, e.g. a hole with 200 dandelion traits. Completing this request will unlock more decorations, hearts or nature points, and the customer will become a member of your club.
Each customer belongs to a popularity group: boys, girls, men, women, older men and older women. They will also become part of various teams. When a team forms, you can run tournaments for them, which will increase popularity and satisfaction. The more popular and happy your players are, the more money they will pay to play a hole.
Beautify Your Forest Course
There are three types of facilities to build: basics, decorations and clubhouse. The basics are those necessary for creating a hole, like a green or fairway. The decorations, like those shown above, enhance the course. Both types will add price, scenery and/or difficulty to the hole.
Adding decorations with similar traits to the same hole can create combos, and this will increase the price to play the hole. For example, the large hill and cherry trees both have the eastern trait. However, the large hill also has the hill and blue trait. The cherry trees have cherry, tree, pink and flower traits as well. So it’s possible to create a single hole with multiple traits, consequently adding more to the price.
Shop Till You Drop
Clubhouse facilities also have traits, and some customers will have specific clubhouse requests to become members, like Santa Claus wanting a new Golf Goods Store. Clubhouse facilities level up based on the number of visitors. At each level, you can select to increase quality (encouraging more use) or stock (more items to sell) or a combination. Restocking only happens ever two months, so it’s important to get the right balance.
You will receive nature points when players visit clubhouse facilities such as the rustic log reindeer. Items like the sofa will give heart points, and facilities like the putting green will increase the player’s skills. Obviously, shops, like the book store, florists, outfitters or bakeries, will give gold and add to your income.
Heart and nature points buy decorations or facilities from Pumpkin Products, as well as level up course items and give lessons.
Winning the Masters Green Jacket
At the end of year 16, month 3, you receive your high score. The hearts and nature points, as well as your customers’ skill levels carry forward to a new game. Any discovered combos and unlocked 4 square decorations (like the large hill) will also be available.
However, there are many reasons to carry on playing your current instance of Forest Golf Planner. Firstly, you will most likely want to get the 5-star rank. The ranking up targets really makes you use the various aspects of the game, e.g. advertising campaigns and contests, as well as developing and decorating your clubhouse and course.
You might want to get to the top of the national popularity rankings, which happen at the end of each year. You may choose to find all 46-course combos or have super satisfied customers, all with gold membership. What about winning the Championship Open S tournament or buying all the expansion plots and building a truly remarkable 18 hole golf course.
Forest Golf Planner works well in either docked or handheld mode, with excellent use of the touchscreen functionality. The font is large enough to easily read on a small screen.
Navigating the menu can be annoying at times, as ‘back’ takes you to the game rather than the previous menu. However, within the build menu, you can easily place multiple of decorations or facilities in one go. Some of the information screens are difficult to find the first time, like information about traits. First you access information about a decoration and then you have the option of finding the trait detail. Occasionally some of the controls don’t have labels. The music is typical for Kairosoft games.
The game autosaves at the start of each new month, with a manual save also available. However, you can only have two instances of game per user.
Kairosoft games generally have lots of activity on the screen, though Forest Golf Planner is less intense than some of the others. The clubhouse can still be busy, but there is definitely a gentler flow of characters around the golf course area.
Although it only takes 18 seconds in real-time to complete a week in the game, there are various activities which stop the clock, like pop-up messages, lessons and decorating. In reality, it takes about 1 hour in real-time to complete 1 year in-game.
Forest Golf Planner scores a hole-in-one! The familiarity of cute pixelated characters and a straightforward, well-guided structure make this Kairosoft offering a truly delightful and enjoyable game.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up