A Little Golf Journey Review
Review Context: I’m always a sucker to consider playing golf games. I find the recent surge in creative golf games very interesting.
Date of Playthrough: October 2021
PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9700F CPU @ 3.00GHz
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER
Disclosure: This review is based off of a review copy provided for free.
A Little Golf Journey, developed by Okidokico, is a golf game that gave me a very unique golf experience. Golf games have seemed to make a resurgence in gaming lately, with many independent multiplayer golf games, plus even Mario Golf: Super Rush coming out earlier in the year. What makes A Little Golf Journey a relaxing journey is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but enough to keep the player occupied and interested with something to do or collect. It took me a little while to ‘get’ A Little Golf Journey, because the systems are a bit abstract and up to the player to figure out.
Okidokico doesn’t shy away in letting you know they have mobile development experience with their previously golf game, OK Golf, because the menu design for this game looks more fit for mobile than a PC game. That’s also part of the charm of this game because it requires very little resources and you can jump right in and casually start your golf journey. Your journey starts in a beginning section or world, connected via an overview map that you need to work your way through to move through all nine areas, each in a different biome. The game uses a star system to gain stars per strokes used and that part of it is very straightforward. What isn’t really introduced that well are all the other aspects of what you need to do to unlock content. At the end of each section you need a certain amount of stars to move forward and if you just play the game straight up and score two out of three stars each level without unlocking secrets you will run into a wall and have to get more stars to before the game allows you to move forward.
I admittedly ran into that wall and had to backtrack because I was literally approaching the game from a ‘relaxing’ state of mind. It wasn’t until I played some previous levels I completed that I discovered trees moving and other parts of the level that might mean something. The game wants you to explore and discover secrets to unlock new routes with more areas to give your more stars, sometimes quite literally on the secret path. The level does not necessarily end if you run out strokes because you can shoot the ball anywhere and restart whenever you want to. Some of the extra things you can discover or collect are a faded cube icon or blue things that look like mines. The faded cube icons help you discover new areas and are definitely worth your time. Collecting the blue things can unlock challenge sections depending how many you have.
The key part of A Little Golf Journey’s game design that I like the most is that it gives the player the tools and options to play and enjoy the game how they want. Shooting the ball in the game is done by holding a mouse button and pulling your mouse, but sometimes it can get jumpy. When aiming your shot the normal settings have your aim start swaying after a few seconds, which is interesting in practice because sometimes the sway can give you unpredictable and even helpful results. Adjusting the camera each course isn’t necessarily hard, but starts to become annoying after a while. Luckily, the game design options allowed me to remove the golf sway, add undo for each shot, and that helped make my experience far more enjoyable and less frustrating. Even with the options I turned on I still felt like I got the full experience. The later biome worlds required a lot of precision and patience to complete even with all assist help I turned on. There is no way I would have completed or enjoyed the game without the assist options. For challenges, you can unlock some within the actual course levels, but they are timed and luckily can turn off the timer. As much as I wanted to complete the challenges with the timer, the camera kept resetting while doing challenges so it was impossible to do.
Once I was discovered the ability to tweak the game to my personal preferences the game went from frustrating and annoying, to the advertised relaxing experience going through each different biome. I was able to now enjoy my surroundings in all of the beautiful biomes the game provided, whether it be the desert, forest, snow, space, or the end area. I was also able to relax and take in the beautifully composed soundtrack by Haakon Davidsen. A Little Golf Journey is not so much about the journey provided, but about what you want to make of it with the tools provided to create your own custom golf journey experience.
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