Game: Golf Club Wasteland
Genre: Sports, Arcade,
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Xbox and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Demagog Studio | Untold Tales
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £8.99 | EU € 9,99 | USA $9.99
Release Date: September 9th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Wiretap Media
One Way To Spoil A Walk
You can’t beat a spot of golf in video game form. Whilst most golf games tend to take a more 3D or top down approach. Gold Club Wasteland keeps things 2D. This is generally a nice relaxing golf game suitable for all gamer skill levels with a little challenge incentive added if needed. But is this a trip through the wasteland worth taking? Let’s grab our best club and get to the range.
Earth is now a desolate wasteland leaving only the ruins of humanities failures left behind. But strangely enough, these ruins make for an excellent golf course. So the wealthy humans which fled to Mars occasionally return to Earth to get away from it all and have a relaxing round of golf.
Throughout these ruins, you will encounter modern references to current topics like Silicon Valley, Bitcoin and general wastage. Some may smirk at the tongue and check approach, but, one wonders if some may find this a little too close to home particularly if they are settling in for a bit of gaming escapism. For a simple golf game, I was quite surprised by the themes it touches on and the ending which I absolutely will not spoil here.
The controls are simple to pick up and play for players of all skill levels. Simply use the analogue stick to power and angle your shot and then press a button to shoot. That’s as complicated as it gets. The courses start out pretty simple, just shoot the ball into the hole across some simple landscapes with the main challenge being the inclines of the plains. Expect near misses which are well expressed by the main character and if you’re lucky maybe the odd hole in one.
But before long simple golf turns into crazy golf. You’ll be hitting balls round shopping malls, building sites and old museums. Some levels do become a little too complex for a relaxing game. You need to shoot the ball up onto small platforms which can make the experience more frustrating. In the standard story mode, you can take as many shots as you want. But if you opt to move into challenge mode you only have a limited amount of shots to make it to the hole.
Let’s just say I preferred sticking to story mode as some of the levels became far too convoluted. If you get too hung up on a level you are eventually given the option just to skip it and go to the next one which I will admit I totally took advantage of. So while the game is easy to pick up it is a tough one to master.
The Looks and Awesome Sounds
The graphics have a nice hand-drawn feel to them. The wasteland of Earth has been presented in an expected dark and gloomy design. But within this depression are some signs of beauty. There are moments of bright colours, like neon lights and even some brief moments where you see some leaves littering the floor which gives the impression there is just a small spark of hope hidden within all this darkness.
One of the stand out features of the game is its soundtrack. As you play golf you are listening to a radio which plays a variety of indie songs as well as providing radio like commentary. The commentary doesn’t paint the best picture of life on Mars but darn those songs sure are good.
When I was younger I actually worked on a golf course. I woke up at sunrise to start my shift raking bunkers and clearing rubbish off the course. While on my adventures across the 18 holes I had my Walkman in tow listening to various radio stations. So the design of this game really took me back to a simpler and happier time in my life.
A Short Round
Your main trip through the game will take between two to four hours. In the story mode if you sink the ball under a certain limit you unlock a diary entry to read at your leisure in the menu adding more lore to the lone golfer and the games universe. There’s also a challenge mode as mentioned before and an even harder mode where you can’t make any mistakes whatsoever. You can choose to enjoy this as a nice Zen-like trip of golf but if you need the spicy challenge that’s there too. It just seems a missed opportunity not to include a multiplayer mode where you can pass the Switch to another player and hit balls around the course together.
Conclusion – Golf and Take Stock
Golf Club Wasteland feels like a casual golf game meets a walking simulator. Story mode is a relatively Zen-like trip round if you prefer or you can choose to up the challenge if you fancy. Then there’s that memorable radio commentary that will certainly keep players engaged to the end. Overall, the approach is simply not offering much variety to the golf formula. But one thing I took from the experience is even in the most desolate of wastelands, there are still moments for you to take stock and reflect on life. What you do next I guess is up to you.
Final Verdict: I Like it
If you decide to purchase the game you also get the soundtrack and digital art book. Maybe if you play real golf or crazy golf like I do then you can take the tunes there next time you go putting.