[Review] What The Golf? – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kevin Orme
  • Developer: Triband
  • Publisher: Fig Publishing Inc.
  • Price: $19.99 / £17.99
  • Release Date: 21/05/20
  • Review Copy provided by Triband

Introducing – What The Golf? Nintendo Switch Review

Many moons ago, as my wife and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, we decided to stop off at a local thrift store. We had been to the location they had in our hometown, but we’re thrifting folk, so any excuse to visit another store in another town was perfect for us. It was here that I found Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour for the Gamecube. I was instantly hooked. What I thought was going to be a brief session quickly turned into a four-hour marathon and an eventual mastery of the game. I’m absolutely unremarkable at sports in real life, but this experience showed me that crazy golf is something that is to be cherished. Then, when you combine this love with my penchant for the insane and ridiculous, you have to know that What The Golf? is a perfect storm for me.

I’ve been following What The Golf? for what feels like an age. I first saw some post on Imgur showing a person hitting a house across a golf course and I lost my mind. I was laughing so hard! This is what I THRIVE on: a simple concept pushed to the absolute limit of absurdity. There’s nothing like it when the developers can hit that perfect balance of fun and downright bonkers. I’ve almost laughed so hard I peed playing this.

So! Enough of this introductory nonsense! Without further ado, I present to you Triband’s hilariously wonderful “What The Golf?”!

Hit The Flag. I Don’t Care How.

What The Golf? is as simple a premise as you could ask for. In their own words it is “The golf game for people who hate golf,” and I couldn’t agree more. The game is literally as basic as “hit the thing at the flag pole,” but at the same time, it is so much better than that key idea would lead you to believe. I mean, if you haven’t already watched that trailer posted just a few lines above, do yourself a favor and watch that little gem to get a delicious sampling of what this whole thing is about.

See, the funny thing is that I think there’s a story in here too. You play this game as a golf ball wandering around some facility of sorts. As you wander about clearing stages (which are just golf holes laying around in this place) you come across consoles that have memos from what I can only assume are scientists who worked here. I mean, if you’re looking for a story from a golf game, I’m not entirely sure what you’re looking for. Who cares, anyways? This game is fabulous.

You Have Selected: POWER DRIVE

Let’s talk about smacking some golf balls around like God intended. When I see a golf ball at a driving range, I want to do just one thing: smack that little guy like Happy Gilmore and just watch it go. Thankfully, What The Golf? is all about chaos in the best ways. P.G.A. this ain’t. This game encourages you to slap this ball as hard as you can as often as you can. As the name implies, this game is all about taking golf as a concept and doing nearly everything you can to not play it like that, with hilarious results. Heck, half the time I don’t think you’re even hitting a golf ball. It’s usually something like a soccer ball, a person, a HOUSE, a cat, or whatever else the developers felt like throwing at high velocity towards something else.

This “lab” that you traverse through is broken up into sections and wings. Each section, or chapter, is broken up into these specialized wings that focus on a specific gimmick. For instance, one of the sections in the beginning has you hitting the ball in a 2D setting, so you don’t have to worry about launching the ball off of a cliff. Later on, you go to space, so you have to worry about orbiting space junk and gravitational pull. Then the game just throws its hands in the air and says “LET’S JUST MAKE AN ENTIRE AREA ABOUT EXPLOSIONS!” Every new section breathes a glorious fresh breath into a game that already feels fresh and wonderful. Seriously, just as you think you might be kind of done with a gimmick, the game says – “BOOM! It’s different now,” and you find yourself giggling like a doofus at some new stupid thing they’ve concocted.

There are also So DANG many modes in this game! Single player is marvelous. Multi-player is delicious chaos. Impossible mode is sadistic and makes me want to scream until I realize that I’ve been playing it for an hour. The game has more stuff to offer than I ever expected for a title that was originally designed for Apple Arcade, of all things. There is just an absolute treasure trove of content here, and I love it all.

Looking Good At The Club

When I think of how this game looks, I think about how I feel about the Katamari games: the art is simple, so you can focus on how great the gameplay is. I’m not saying that it’s bad, by any means! The game looks great with its bright colors and semi-cute aesthetic, but I’m not here for how good it looks (even though it looks good.) In fact, let’s talk about what helps in the art department here:

  1. The art is clean and non-distracting.
  2. There is exactly enough information on the screen, so you never feel like you’re lost. If you ever feel like there’s too much stuff on the screen, it’s because the developers are doing something to simply be ridiculous (like a stage where you control 30+ clubs at once.)
  3. Bright colors and solid contrast help keep the game moving and keep it right to the punch.

The music for this game is fabulous. Much like Katamari Damacy and the games in its respective series, the soundtrack for What The Golf? is goofy, light-hearted, and an absolute joy to listen to. The music is also pretty good to keep on theme with whatever insane predicament you find yourself in, so it always feels like it belongs, which is a blessing in something that already make me laugh. Let me tell you though, this is a game you want to have headphones in for. When the music hits right, it is a BEAUTIFUL experience. (I’m looking at you, platforming levels.)

Oh, That’s A Beautiful Hit There…

This game runs so smoothly on the Switch. I mean, it’s not too crazy to expect that where this game was able to run so cleanly on Apple devices. There weren’t any technical problems that I ran into while I played on my console. Well, I mean, the drift on my joycons made aiming a little tricky sometimes, but that’s on me not them. This game is always functioning like a champion. Levels load quickly, retries take mere seconds and I was never in a place that made me frustrated with the gameplay experience. This build is CLEAN.

You can play this game happily on Handheld or Docked modes. Personally, I love Handheld just because it’s how I function these days. I’m rarely in a place where I can sit down and just play this on my TV, so the fact that it runs perfectly in my hands is a HUGE thumbs up from me. Docked is pretty great too just to see one of the great punchlines of a course on a much bigger screen. You can enjoy this fabulous game any way you want to wherever you want to.

Scoring Big

If you like games that make you laugh so hard that you need to seek medical care, Triband’s What The Golf? is an absolute must-have. Every time I thought I knew what the punchline was going to be for a particular hole, the game would blind me with a literal rocket-propelled house. This game is masterful in taking one of the Earth’s least-watchable sports and turning it into something that I can’t shut up about to all of my friends.

Look, everything in the world is a different flavor of suck right now, so why not grab a sun-caliber ray of joy and light and brighten up your life?

Pros

  • This game is hilarious.
  • Equal parts forgiving and challenging
  • Immense amount of content

Cons

  • It can be tricky to hit the ball at anything less than full strength
  • Some second imaginary gripe.

Verdict:
What the Golf is everything that I want regular golf to be: Literally anything but golf.
4.5/5

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