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What The Golf? Review (PS5) – A Hole in One and So Much More

What The Golf? Review (PS5) – To say that What The Golf? is a game where you play golf would undersell what this game actually is.

While the core idea of getting an object into a hole is present throughout the game, What The Golf? is a delightfully off-beat game that oozes charm from the very beginning and had me totally engrossed throughout.

Packed full of weird and wonderful delights, What The Golf? is a surprisingly varied roller coaster that takes you through gimmick after gimmick, with most of them feeling like they could very well be full games in their own right.

While not every one stuck the landing, the vast majority were a hole-in-one and were brilliant fun.

What The Golf? Review (PS5) – A Hole-In-One And So Much More

Tee Off

What The Golf? is a game all about playing a very abstract version of mini golf; you aim and shoot your ball into the goal through various obstacle courses that each have their own particular gimmick about them.

While you start the game playing on basic golf courses, things very quickly fly off the rails as you start aiming the club itself, or even things like bikes and cars (and those are some of the more sensible ones).

From the opening stages of the game, the idea of this being a traditional mini-golf game was completely thrown out of the window without any hesitation and I absolutely loved every second of it.

I’ve not played a game that is so comfortable in being just downright insane and it was wonderful to see these developers let loose with their creativity. They didn’t set out to make a golf game, and it shows.

These gimmicks go beyond just changing the type of ball that you hit though, these can even affect the perspective of the game and how you go about completing levels.

I won’t go into a detailed list of what surprises lay beyond the early stages of the game but some examples include a shift to a 2D perspective, with lovingly crafted references and collaborations with some indie favourites that were exceptionally surprising to see.

This premise is wrapped in a presentation that is bursting with charm and personality in the weird things it throws at you. Reminding me of similarly offbeat games such as Katamari Damacy, the simple but expressive places you experience are easy to understand and entertaining to play in.

Helped by a soundtrack that’s generally low-key but a great accompaniment to the fun, with a healthy dose of acapella that I would love to see more of in games!

The main campaign is navigated through an abandoned laboratory completely dedicated to the study of golf itself.

While this premise is silly and largely goes nowhere that interesting, it’s a fun enough way to navigate between each level and see what the game has to offer.

From Course-To-Course

The main hub of the game is split into a vast collection of themed groups for different types of obstacle courses. One might be themed around getting around using moving vehicles while one might be completely 2D focused.

Each group contains a range from 3 to about 6 levels so it never feels like each theme overstays its welcome.

While it’s more than possible to rush to the end of the main campaign by doing each mission and quickly moving on to the next one, each stage offers three challenges that help to evolve the basic concepts.

One concern I had going into the game was that ideas would feel underused or thrown away without being fully developed and I’m pleased to say that these extra challenges do a great job at alleviating that worry.

With a handful of exceptions, every idea feels like it’s been explored to its full potential and those that haven’t felt like that could easily become their own fully-featured games. Which as far as problems go – isn’t a particularly bad one.

Trouble In Paradise

Despite how much I enjoyed the game in the time I spent with it, I did find myself with some issues throughout that resulted in more frustration than I would have liked.

Particularly when it came to handling more tight and precise courses, modulating the power of your moves was far harder than I would have liked.

Getting a low-powered shot sometimes felt a bit trickier than I felt it should be.

I also found an odd bug where if I paused the game under specific circumstances, my golf ball would fly off in a completely random direction. These small technical hiccups caused slight frustrations but were hardly enough to completely sour my time with the game.

Replaying a course is a quick and snappy affair with lightning-fast loading times helping to get you straight back into trying it out once again.

While not every challenge is made alike, I never found any of them particularly frustrating thanks in large part to their generally short length.

Packed Full Of Content

On top of the generous main campaign, What The Golf? treats players to various small-scale ‘episodes’ based on particular themes. These are an ongoing addition to the game and range from general ones about the sports, to collaborations with other indie darlings like Among Us.

These are each bite-size enough to beat in one sitting and are all fun explorations of new ideas that might not have fit in the original game’s campaign and I look forward to returning for more.

On top of these episodes, there are daily challenges, leaderboards and collectables to gather throughout the various courses adding a great sense of replayability.

While I wasn’t able to test it out during this review period, there’s also a multiplayer party mode that lets you and a friend duke it out to see who’s the Not Golf master out of the two of you.

This mode takes the absurdity of the single-player levels and just adds more chaos to the mix with a friend and will no doubt be a great time with the right friends.

What the Golf? is a fantastically entertaining time alone or with friends and every new hole brings something new to the table, and is delightfully easy to pick up for everyone to enjoy.

The buffet of extra content is the cherry on top of a brilliant cake that should be well worth a look for everybody.

What The Golf? is now available on PS5 and PS4.

Review code generously provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Far more than a one trick pony, What the Golf? is a brilliant party sports game that manages to entertain in every way that it sets out to do. From beginning to end I found myself surprised and entertained by what new twists were thrown my way and I look forward to seeing what the team has in store next. Some technical hiccups here and there led to some small frustrations but none were enough to get me to hang up the club. Well worth a look for all who are interested!