What The Golf? Review: Punny Putt-Putt Parade
What the Golf? is a comedy golf game that seeks to uproot the basic elements of golf as both a sport and game mechanic. It seek to completely turn golf on its head in order to make the sport quirky and fun because let's be real: golf is boring.
So, how did Triband take a concept as sleepy as golf and make it creative and funny? Well, it's pretty simple honestly: they just broke all the rules.
Ever Hear of Mini Golf? Well, This is Fractal Golf
The beautiful thing about What the Golf?, and what makes its premise work so well, is that it plays extremely fast and loose with the concept of the IRL game. It starts with the basic idea of hitting a ball toward a hole, and it just keeps skewing the concept until you forget the game is even about golf.
One minute you'll be playing golf with 50 balls, the next you'll be playing a first-person version of golf that transitions into a shooter. Next, you'll be transporting an archer with a portal gun in order to hit a target.
What the Golf? is like a box of golfball-shaped chocolates, and the fillings range from vanilla cream to toothpaste. From level to level, it's hilarious.
The game even goes so far as to have levels that pay homage other games, such as SUPERHOT and Super Mario Bros.
The game's ever-changing variety and its comedy are what makes What the Golf? truly delightful. The core concept and gameplay elements are so simple that changes in controls and gameplay don't feel jarring. In conjunction with the generally low difficulty curve, this gives the game a wonderful sense of flow.
That's helpde by the smorgasbord of extra modes, including a daily challenge with global leaderboards, a "show a Friend" feature that lets you show off levels, connections to the game's Discord server, and streaming functions.
Each level has three different missions to complete, and completing all of them will reward you with a crown. If you unlock all of the crowns, you're able to unlock some of the game's secrets.
These secrets and surprises continue on the game's top-down overworld that connects all of the different levels. Here, you explore a gigantic golfing laboratory as a golf ball and hunt for secrets and shortcuts between levels. The main campaign will last you several hours by just completing the main missions in each level, and with the extra modes, missions, and secrets, this game is honestly a bargain at $20.
It is possible to get easily lost in this overworld if you haven't unlocked specific shortcuts, and a map would have maybe helped this, but such a gripe only applies when backtracking or looking for secrets. Outside of this, the game is only sometimes hampered by occasionally finicky controls — especially in its 2D sections — whether you're using a mouse or a controller.
Hole in One!
What the Football?
- Solid length and oodles of content at just $20
- Consistently creative and fun
- Easy to pick up and play
- Very funny
- Controls can be finicky at times
- Navigation can be confusing, especially with secret hunting and backtracking
What the Golf? is a wonderful spin on one of the driest games out there, and it had me smiling bigger and bigger as I comfortably plowed through its surprisingly robust campaign.
Control issues can get irritating at times, and navigating the overworld isn't perfect, but these are merely a few dented clubs in a bag full of solid iron drivers.
What the Golf? is available now for PC on the Epic Game Store, and will be coming to mobile platforms, Nintendo Switch, and Steam in the future.