Sunday, January 3, 2021

REVIEW: Golf Story

I don't like sports. At all. And I, obviously, don't like most sports games. That being said, one of my favorite games on the Gameboy Color was Mario Tennis due to the fact that it was a boarding school RPG about a less common sport (and barely about Mario) that made the sport fun in a different way. All these years later, Sidebar Games recaptures that magic with another boring sport.

Play the story of a golfer, forced to give up all that he holds dear for one final shot at accomplishing his dream. But all is not so simple in the world of golf. To best today's players you have to be able to keep up with them not just on the course, but also outside of it.

Golf Story is not a traditional sports game by any means. It’s an RPG with more than just stats and EXP. Players go on an adventure to different environments to take part in golf matches and golf-related challenges. Though actual games of golf are few and far between, players are able to tee up anywhere and hit balls as they please to uncover hidden secrets.

While most puzzles are solved by hitting something far away, the game still boasts some impressive golf mechanics. Before taking a shot, be mindful to chose the right club, then factor in slope and even wind direction. Of course, watch out for the other little surprises hidden throughout the green.

Golf Story isn’t a full on fantasy game, but the exotic locations see players yelling “Fore!” on beaches, high in the mountains, deep in the snow, and even surrounded by dinosaur bones. I personally had a lot of fun just exploring the world and often forgot that I wasn't playing a normal adventure game.

The game’s real charm is it’s comedy. As with any RPG, you'll want to talk to every person you meet. In Golf Story, NPCs will deliver the occasional golf tip, a bit of worldbuilding, or set up a sidequest or mini-game. But they're also always worth it for the extra laugh. The use of animated, comic book style word balloons also punches up the jokes.

Golf Story is fun, hilarious, and full of surprises. This is easily the best sports game since Ninja Baseball Batman. Get it on exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.