What the Golf prides itself on being a golf game for people who don’t like golf. The absolute disrespect means that for long periods it only looks like golf because the controls are similar to other touchscreen golf games, especially Desert Golfing. You aim in one direction, pull your finger back to measure your distance, and then let the swing. But as often as not, you don’t shoot a golf ball here. This is our What The Golf Review.
What The Golf Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, iOS, Windows, Linux, Macintosh
- Developer: Triband
- Publisher: Triband, The Label
- Genres: Sports game
- Release Date: September 19, 2019
What The Golf Review: Official Trailer Video
What The Golf Review: Gameplay
Sometimes you fire a football or throw a golf club or an object that is not even adjacent to golf, such as a rocket to be led through a mess of trees or a crab to be protected from the rising tide. What you do changes entirely, but the controls and humorous sense of surprise remain unchanged for most of the game. Often the first shot on a course is a punchline. At a first level, you are going to shoot the ball, but when released, the on-screen golfer is instead thrown forward as he pops towards the green.
In other cases, the punchline comes to the end of the hole: you hit the pin and discover that the whole reason for giving a level about driving a car was that they could hit you with the ‘driving range’ pun. What the Golf is an original, charming, and funny game, a game that rushes through ideas, jokes, and quirks in a steady clip so that none of his ideas ever get a chance to grow old. It’s fast, weird, and reasonably straightforward – the exact opposite of real golf, and all the better for it.
What the Golf’s high-concept golf gown does not attempt to provide a severe or profound experience. Each level is short – getting the ball (or equivalent) to the pin rarely requires more than a few shots, and while the upper world you navigate through to access each level contains only the mildest traversal puzzles. The whole point of the game is to make you laugh about how flexible the internal definition of ‘golf’ is. It’s a weird flex, but it’s more than okay.
The game’s irreverence for golf doesn’t spill over into malice, nor are there any real parody elements – golf provides a rugged frame and theme that the game can build on. Levels are divided into rough themes and concepts: for example, some levels are set in space or are based on other sports, or require you to change your phone orientation and switch to a first-person control scheme. Some even bring in augmented reality elements and ask you to move your phone to understand a 3D level fully.
The level of creativity seen here is what makes the game so charming, and until the end, it still finds new ways to take the joy out of some straightforward controls. Unfortunately, if you’re playing on PC, some of these fun gimmicks have been cut or cut – this is a game designed with mobile devices in mind. It’s also not as intuitive to control, as moving a mouse isn’t as direct or satisfying as using a finger, especially in levels where you have to take multiple photos in quick succession.
But the game remains hilarious no matter how you play it. Explaining too many of the game’s jokes would reduce their power, but it’s an excellent way to incorporate the comedy into mechanics. What the Golf repeats is the same basic jokes often to great success – a favorite is when you think you’re controlling the ball, but when you take your shot, another object is propelled, which is somehow funny every time. Even the soundtrack, which is mostly made up of different tunes and singers who repeatedly sing “what the hell” and “golf,” is funny.
The fun part is the more recognizable connected to golf it is, although that doesn’t mean shooting a ball on a pin at the best levels. For example, the game turns into a spot-on tribute to Superhot for a few degrees, where you pick up new clubs to fireballs at enemies that only move – and shoot – when you do. It’s a dedicated tribute to the ‘SUPER. PUTT. voice over after you complete each level. There are other direct game parodies here, and most of them are a delight.
On a few other points, however, the game stumbles somewhat – some levels have so little to do with golf that the game’s central joke seems to be momentarily abandoned, and it would be nice to have a few more levels that are a little out-of-the-box to think. Even with all the zaniness, much of the gameplay boils down to merely pointing and shooting, and some more puzzle-based levels wouldn’t have gone wrong.
Fortunately, the two additional challenge holes attached to each level do a lot to work out the game. You can complete What the Golf in about two hours, but it’s worth going back and trying it 100%. These additional levels are a ‘par’ challenge, and then another level that usually creates a significant commotion, a level that is often unrecognizable from the first challenge of the hole. Often there will be new jokes or ideas to enjoy tucked away in these challenges, so it is worth going back for them.
What the Golf is primarily a comedy game, and it succeeds in its primary purpose. Perhaps the game’s most important feature is the ‘Show To A Friend’ option in the main menu, which guides you through a fast-playing best-of reel of some of the smart challenges the game offers. What the Golf review is an experience that can be shown, fully understood, and effectively sold to a player in about two minutes – and like all great jokes, you’ll want to share it.
What the Golf prides itself on being a golf game for people who don’t like golf. The absolute disrespect means that for long periods it only looks like golf because the controls are similar to other touchscreen golf games, especially Desert Golfing.