These days, golf games aren’t quite as common as many would prefer. We’ve seen no sign of a Mario Golf entry in this generation just yet (it’s coming though, right, Nintendo?); and EA Sports gave up its pro game, forcing 2K Sports to step up with its PGA Tour 2K21, arriving this August. So what are players to do in the meantime? Well, you can putt balls around with Golf With Your Friends.
Originally released on Steam a while back, the casual-friendly golf hit has finally made its way to consoles. It’s not without its caveats – namely with the lack of a course editor that extends the replay value. However, it does have positives as well, especially if you have a group of friends looking to become king or queen of the putts.
It’s All In The Hips
General gameplay for Golf With Your Friends works on a basic level. You can aim your shot with relative ease, then set up the power with the analog stick and press the button to launch. There are secondary things you can apply as well, including spin, which is quite useful when it comes to getting around certain obstacles on each course. And, boy, are there obstacles.
The first course alone has some holes that will test your patience, particularly one with rolling logs that may force you to start over entirely since you never really get a proper chance to reset the ball. But then come later courses, including ones set in a space station, a museum, and even one based on the Worms franchise. They’re deviant, to say the least, but they might be too complex for their own good.
That’s not to say the game is bad, because it’s not. It’s just certain things that get in the way of getting full enjoyment out of it. For instance, the “free cam” feature, which gives you 15 seconds of looking over the course before playing it, actually does very little good because it ties in with the regular controls. That means you can accidentally pull off a shot, even though you’re just looking over the course.
If some tweaks were made to the game’s controls – particularly with speed and having a “reset” option in case your ball just doesn’t stop rolling – it’d fare a lot better. As it stands, Golf With Your Friends has decent gameplay, but never really anything that goes above and beyond.
Course Design Aside, This One Doesn’t Look Bad
Despite the developers going a bit mad on the over-the-top course design, Golf With Your Friends doesn’t look half bad. It’s not an extremely polished game like, say, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, but it captures the general appearance of what mini golf should be. And there’s some charm here too, particularly with some bonus power-ups on the course.
As for the music, it’s okay. There’s nothing here that’s extraordinary or even somewhat licensed, but it’s a soothing collection of tunes that fit right in with your golf game. Take it for what it is.
Good On Your Own, But, Surprise, Better With Friends
Golf With Your Friends does let you get practice going solo on each of the 11 courses. But obviously, it’s built with multiplayer in mind; and if you get the right group going, you’ll have a blast.
Not only can you set up matches with others and play in realtime as you dominate the course, but you can also pick different options. Party Mode provides a nice twist on things with assorted power-ups to either help or harm your performance; and there are Basketball and Hockey modes that change up the rules slightly, forcing you to “dunk” the ball instead of just sinking it. These are worth trying out, provided you’ve got the right group willing to experiment with you. (Some people, surprisingly enough, just want to play a simple game of golf.)
Online performance is excellent with this game, as we had no problem getting into a match and enjoying it with others. The only downside is when you miss certain highlights. There’s no replay option of what the other players did. Again, fingers crossed we see something like this with a patch down the road.
And, yeah, we would’ve liked that course creator. It would’ve opened a lot of community doors with a game such as this. Hopefully, Team17 will give it consideration, as it’ll really open up the magic of what Golf is all about.
Hardly a Birdie, But It Gets Away With Par
While Golf With Your Friends isn’t quite the total package it is over on Steam, its arrival on consoles isn’t half bad. It really depends if you have friends that you’re willing to play with, hence the name. Single-player is okay, but the course design might be a bit much on you, especially in certain spots. But get some buddies together, and it’s easier to shrug off the shortcomings and just get your putts in. Besides, it’s not like we have many other golf games to play this summer, and you really can’t afford that golf cart rental fee, now can you?
It has its issues, but Golf With Your Friends scores a solid par, especially in multiplayer.