What the Golf?
Week of 1st June 2020
Does a game have to have any point? I don't mean an in-game objective - it probably does need that to some extent. But does someone have to have had a particular reason for making the game? What the Golf? has had be wondering. It's fun, it's silly, but I'm not really sure what it is, or why it is.
WTG plays out with you using that classic golf game input of pulling the mouse / controller / finger back at an angle of your choice and then releasing the ball towards your objective. WTG quickly subverts this - you're not always moving the ball, sometimes the player, sometimes some other element, and the goal might be a flag, but it can be anywhere and with anything in between.
WTG quickly uses this freedom to allow it to heavily reference other games. There's an entire Superhot section (called Super Putt), levels mimicking Flappy Bird, Lunar Lander, Mario and many others. Each of these is pulled off with aplomb and the physics is pretty much perfect - it plays just right. Each level is connected with an overworld that you also progress through using the same mechanics.
It's fun to play (although works better as a game played for a few minutes at a time) and each homage to another game brings a smile. It's generally impressive how well the pull-back-physics gameplay fits other games (Superhot especially). If you enjoy a level there are two extra challenges to play on each one.
The overwhelming comparison I'm left with is Fuzzy's World of Miniature Space Golf which is not a sentence I thought I'd have the opportunity to write. You've likely never played Fuzzy's...; it's a 1995 PC game with the same pull-back gold mechanic and (somewhat) silly levels. Fuzzy's, despite being a short, cheap game was clearly made with love. The music was silly, the colours vibrant: the creators clearly set out to make the most fun miniature gold game that they could.
I can't quite tell what Triband, the creator of WTG wanted to do when they made the game. I think the answer was "have some fun", which is a pretty good answer and, don't get me wrong, this is a really fun and silly game. They clearly wanted to play with some references to other games and it does feel very Apple Arcadey if that means anything to anyone. There's a gentle cynicism to the whole proceeding. I just felt it wasn't quite made with the same innocent love as Fuzzy's World of Miniature Space Golf, and therefore it hasn't quite stuck with me the same way.
Platform: PC, Switch and Apple Arcade (Played on Switch)
Price paid: £13.49