Golf Story is a role-playing sports adventure game that follows a down-on-his-luck golfer attempting to reclaim his childhood love of golf, passed down to him by his father, after not playing the game for 20 years. The game is presented as a traditional role playing game, with the combat replaced with golfing. The player is free to explore eight unique areas (some of which are locked at the start), each filled with side quests and minigames that allow the player to earn experience and money, which can be used to develop the player’s skills and purchase new equipment. Each area includes a nine-hole golf course that can be played after certain missions are completed. Golf is played with the traditional three-click system, in which player clicks once to aim, once to set power, and once to set accuracy.
Even when not playing an entire 9-hole course or specific challenge, the player can tee up and drive a ball from any outdoor location in the world at any time. Players are encouraged to do so by a variety of secret or challenging targets that the player may discover while exploring. These special targets typically reward bonus cash or experience points, but in rare cases they may even unlock new areas. Just as in traditional RPGs, the player is rewarded for exploring locations, searching containers, and talking to NPCs. For example, some NPCs will provide players with a clue for the location of a secret cache, which the player can dig up with a special wedge.
In addition to traditional golf, the game also features a handful of cousin sports, including disc golf, mini-golf, an Atari-like golfing video game, multiple driving ranges, and lawn bowling.
Golf Story Review
Golf Story tells an odd but enjoyable story full of clever and funny writing. You meet expressive and lively characters on your journey for golfing glory, all of which talk to you through emotive dialogue bubbles that tilt, grow, or change pace with their attitude. That quest takes you across eight varied pixel art worlds, which range from regular grass courses to prehistoric valleys to island beaches, and even a spooky haunted graveyard.
The story itself is amusing, if extremely thin. You, some random dude, decide to leave your old life behind and become a professional golfer, but no matter how well you do, just about every single character either hates you, thinks you’re terrible, or both. That joke got a bit old by the end of the roughly 16-hour campaign, but thankfully the dialogue is amusing enough that it held me all the way through.
When you aren’t golfing, you’re completing tasks for people that often have very golf-like solutions. There’s a linear questline to follow, with optional objectives and little challenges to complete along the way that earn you money and experience. Money is used to buy new golf clubs with unique effects that don’t always mean the newest club is the best, like an awesome putter that let me curve my hits.
Golf Story’s clever writing and sound golf fundamentals keep it entertaining, even through some stale moments. Despite its light-hearted RPG structure, there’s a challenging and very real golf game here that’s worth coming back to even after the story is over. But it left me wishing that more of the campaign focused on the golf itself, and less on the often repetitive side tasks.
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