Not many people know this, but I actually pursued a career in professional golf in my younger years. That unfortunately didn’t pan out for me, so playing virtual versions of the sport is the next best thing. Or is it?
Golfing video games are nothing new, it’s been around for as long as I can remember. The turn-based nature of the sport actually lends itself pretty well to video games, but for some reason, it’s been a while since a really good golf game has been available on the market. So does Everybody’s Golf cure the golfing itch? Well, yes, yes it does.
Welcome to Golf Island
Straight at the start, Everybody’s Golf drops you off at your central hub. It’s an island, that according to its founder and chairman (don’t ask me his name, I will butcher it here, and it doesn’t really matter) is dedicated to the sport that he truly loves. You are introduced to his generic assistants and told to head off and go create your character.
Character customisation is incredibly deep, so if you put a little bit of effort in, you can have your own anime form, or your perfect waifu to play with in no time. It’s also completely interchangeable, so you can mix and match and swap out everything. You’re only limited by your imagination, and off course the stuff you have already unlocked.
The island serves as your home. You choose the tournament that you wish to compete in from a single player perspective, or which online mode you want to join. You also meet some other colourful characters, of which some serve as a challengers you need to beat in order to unlock more levels, clubs, clothing and courses, of which there are seven in total. The island also features some other activities, like fishing and kart racing, but it’s really nothing too special. Whether there will be more of these types of activities, even in online events, still remains to be seen.
It’s a fun and entertaining place to an extent, but it seems a bit barren, as it feels like it should be some sort of social space, but I didn’t meet any other actual players there.
It’s a fun and entertaining place to an extent, but it seems a bit barren, as it feels like it should be some sort of social space, but I didn’t meet any other actual players there. That said, the online part of the game is a bit barren, since I played it before launch, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t see other reviewers playing the game. Whether this changes after release of the game, still remains to be seen, but nothing indicated that this will be the case.
So enough about the clubhouse, how is the golf course
The courses are very well designed. You get a good sense of scale and depth as you go about our business. It also feels and played like real golf courses, which might not seem the case if you look at the cartoony look of Everybody’s Golf. There’s a lot of effort and details put into the look and feel of the game, with subtle things like the sound of a shot, to birds chirping, to seeing a leaf blowing across the green as you’re about to take a putt. In the rain you can see a slight trail behind the ball as it travels along the green.
You start out having access to only one golf course. You unlock more courses as you compete and level up in the single player tournaments. It does take a bit of time to unlock these courses, and it can feel a bit like a grind. It serves a good purpose though. The game and courses become progressively more challenging, so getting your level up and becoming better at the game is essential to avoid frustration.
Yes, it looks like a child’s game, but it is much deeper than that, and offers enough for anyone looking for a challenge or just something fun.
The game is easy enough to get into and to understand. The controls are simple, yet, surprisingly deep. It’s the kind of system that truly awards those who put some proper effort into understanding it. There’s a decent leveling up system, in that you become more proficient with specific clubs as you achieve certain feats with them: like timing full powered shots well with them, or knocking the ball close from some distance away or applying some backspin on the ball. So the more you play, the better you become due to the system allowing it, and you playing it. It is after all Gary Player that said: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” And it certainly rings true for this game.
A social game, with very little social to it
Part of golf’s charm is the social aspect of it. Walking for 18 holes with your mates, talking crap and doing something healthy is why so many people do it, and its clear that this is what Everybody’s Golf is aiming for. I do however feel that it falls a little bit short in this regard. I did state earlier, that the lobbies were a bit quiet at the time of me playing, so giving my full opinion on this might be a little bit unfair.
That said, the online offerings did feel a bit bare-boned, with only two modes really available from the get go called Open Play and Turf Wars. Open Play is exactly what it says it is. You get dropped onto the course of your choice, provided it’s unlocked, and you are free to run and explore the place. There’s numerous collectibles available across the map, and you can play any random hole as you choose. You also have an option to play the daily challenges, which sees you playing nine holes against others to see who gets the best score. It’s simple, but fun, and it can become a bit of an obsession, as you know you can improve on your last round.
Turf Wars is the only real online competitive mode available at this time though. You and a few others gets divided into two teams, and you go about your business, trying to play and score as well as possible in the allotted time. The team with the best score wins, as simple as that. It’s fun, but a little chaotic, and not as enjoyable as the rest of the game.
Personally, I hope Everybody’s Golf releases some ranked matches or tournaments along the way. It doesn’t really need a hundred different modes, just enough opportunities to be competitive with other players.
The best golf game available at the moment
Everybody’s Golf doesn’t really scream “Professional” in it’s style and presentation, but it holds up pretty well, and it feels like a proper golf game. It does however have a lot of heart. With seven available courses, a ton of customisation, it really does stand out. Yes, it looks like a child’s game, but it is much deeper than that, and offers enough for anyone looking for a challenge or just something fun.
If you’re looking for a decent digital version of golf, then this is probably the best golf game available right now.