- Developer: Blacklight Interactive
- Publisher: Team17
- Release Date: 19/05/2020
- Price: £14.99 / $19.99
- Review code provided by Team17
Introducing: Golf With Your Friends Switch Review
Mini-golf, known as Putt-Putt in some places, takes a golf ball and places it on a miniature course. In a game you’ll putt the ball into the holes which are separate areas of walled turf. Often, there are different obstacles and themes to add to the amusement. Golf With Your Friends takes the fun home, with a healthy amount of themed courses. The main appeal is that you can play online with up to twelve total players, no turn taking needed.
Slam Dunk that Hockey Puck
The classic mode follows the usual rules where you’ll try to get under par for the amount of putts expected to reach the hole. Levels become increasingly more complicated with fantastical elements not present in reality such as black holes, jet packs or explosive sheep. There are eleven different eighteen-hole courses with themes such as a twilight forest, a space station and so on.
You can choose the direction and power level of your shot, and while curve balls are an option, that’s something you’ll need to turn on. In any mode you can customize various settings such as the maximum shots and time per round, whether you can re-try shots, allow a bounce when you shoot and if other players can collide.
In Dunk mode, the hole will be positioned slightly behind the usual spot and is turned into a basketball hoop. Jumping is enabled by default, so you’ll need to set yourself up right to shoot through the basket. While in Hockey mode, the golf ball is turned into a puck and you’ll need to get past the goalies blocking the net. Thankfully the goalies merely move back and forth in small patterns, and in some levels there might be goalies in other places. Unfortunately, the levels stay largely, if not entirely, the same with the par not changing at all. Party Mode is mostly the same as classic (with some other options enabled) but around the levels power-ups will be present. One lets you lay traps of honey and another turns your opponent into a different shape for a short while.
Cross Continental Competition
You can change your golf ball to any colour you like and playing the game will unlock other customizations. These include a dinosaur nest hat, snorkels, a trail of christmas-crackers to follow you or a new lifesaver colour, among others.
There are lots of different regions for the game’s online so I often had to float between them to find a match. Unfortunately, even a few days after launch I wasn’t able to play with a lobby of more than three people to feel the proper experience of the game (especially as something like party mode would be great with more players). Playing on your own a course is likely to take less than ten minutes and while good for practicing, it’s much less amusing. There is local play but there’s no split-screen, instead you take turns putting and you don’t even have the option to use different controllers. Having to pass the controller got tiring really fast and I can’t imagine doing with with eleven other people. In local play the only way to make it slightly fun is to turn on collision.
The groundskeeper is on holidays
While the game doesn’t have too much going on, the graphics aren’t as good as they could be. There are quite a lot of visual errors, such as not being able to render a background properly or the camera going through the floor in or out of bounds. Many things out of bounds aren’t particularly solid. Thankfully, those don’t impact the gameplay. Adding to the theme of being a mini-golf area you can see nearby levels around you. This can be especially confusing when the hole your on has separate parts, and I’ve landed on other levels before (which does count as out of bounds).
The audio is pretty simple, each of the eleven courses has one song, some of which were especially annoying.
Playing the game I’ve come across a number of glitches. Sometimes the floor would instead register as out of bounds and would reset my position. This happened in one level of the space station whenever we went through a tunnel near the end with only one of us managing to get through eventually. Similar things happened a little less consistently and might have something to do with the bounds reset option, which appears to be entirely inconsistent. I’ve also managed to putt myself halfway through the floor, making that my permanent position and any further shots would drop me out of bounds. I’ve had one instance of starting a round and not being able to shoot for a while, as it seemed to have trouble recognizing me. These issues make it hard to play the game seriously.
I found the default options in most modes to be annoying, especially the free-cam restriction which only lets you use the free camera to get a look around for a small amount of time that entire round. On the longer courses you migh not get to see the whole area first. Especially with how terribly the camera controls, often getting stuck on things or struggling to move up. The camera that follows your ball around is also pretty shocking, making it hard to tell what caused you to get thrown off track. You can manually move it around which you often need to do as sometimes you’ll start your turn facing backwards.
Beyond a shot limit there’s also a time limit per round. For some reason, after taking your shot the timer still carries on even if bounce or bound reset isn’t on. Given how long it can take for the ball (or puck) to slow down, extending the time limit is almost necessary.
Some levels are designed unfairly with particular (non goal) holes throwing you out of bounds with no way to tell which one takes you where. With those exceptions the variety and different elements do make it more fun than some plain old mini golf. This game is best played with lots of other players online (and not at all locally). In that situation, hours of fun could be had. However, the glitches and camera issues really detract from the overall experience. It’s one of those cases where it’s probably a good game, but the Switch version just isn’t worth your time.
- Multiple game modes
- A good amount of content
- You can wear a triceratops skull hat
- Technical issues and glitches
- No splitscreen or multiple controller usage in local play
- A few unfair parts and bad default options
Being able to play across crazy courses with multiple people online sounds a treat, but the Switch version of Golf With Your Friends needs a lot more upkeep.