Way, way better
What the Golf? is by far the shortest appointment I had at PAX West. In the overcrowded Indie Megabooth, where a day earlier I meet former Destructoid editor Hamza for the first time, its quirky demo encourages people to watch the utter silliness of its ridiculous premise. What the Golf? isn’t aiming to be the next great golf game, but rather something that takes the basic concept of the sport and turns it on its head, kicks it in the face, and shoves it out a window.
Funded through Fig and currently in development for Steam and mobile devices, the game is the work of developer Triband, a small team from Denmark with a Geocities quality website. What the Golf? features gameplay in the same proximity as the sport, but with the types of crazy ideas people daydream about when they’re stuck listening to Jim Nantz describe the slope rating of the Azalea hole at Augusta. I’m not just hitting balls, but houses, cars, soccer balls, golfers and more.
The demo features roughly 20 holes from the game, of which about 200 have been created, each putting their own spin on the concept. Using the Xbox One controller, I simply point my shot in a direction, hold down the swing button to charge the shot, then let go and see what happens. The end result of every shot is usually amusing, though it can be devastatingly funny depending on the theme. Each hole usually lasts just a few seconds, giving the game a WarioWare vibe. Peppered between the short green are longer challenges, creating a tempo that moves along at an enjoyable pace.
The best of the bunch are saved for last. The final two holes of the demo take their inspiration and color scheme from Superhot and the end result is amazing. Like the popular first-person shooter, time only moves on these holes when I do. There are single-shot guns on the course I can pick up to take out bad guys, who then drop more guns for me to use. The two gaming concepts flow together perfectly and I can’t wait to see what other industry influences find their way into the final product.
This is something I want to see more of from indie developers: games with simple but inventive premises that hold an absolute cornucopia of possibilities. What the Golf? is expected to launch in 2019 and I’m already making space for it on my iPad.