Golf can be an aggravating past-time for some, especially when you're mere centimetres off of a putt (are you too good for your home?!). Video game iterations of the sport can fall into a sea of mediocrity but Playtonic Friends' first published Switch title A Little Golf Journey sets out to provide a serenely ethereal game with over 100 courses set across 10 locations. Collect some stars, uncover secrets and take in the atmosphere along the way, all the while trying to be reunited with an old friend.

The Good

Golfing video games can be very complex, especially when compared to the likes of PGA Tour and even Mario Golf. A Little Golf Journey looks to differentiate itself from the simulation aspect and focus more on an arcade style that is easy to pickup and quite frankly, not particularly difficult to master. It compliments the game's intended serenity well and doesn't set out to overcomplicate a system that works just fine to begin with.

Some courses have secret challenges to find which provides the player to unlock new hidden secrets on the overworld map. These secrets can be found in all shapes and forms, like a translucent icon or a mysteriously twitching tree. This incentivises the player to experiment with the game and its surroundings; before taking a shot, the player can use the right analogue stick to search every nook and cranny of a course, suggesting that there's more than first meets the eye.

As is the case in most arcade style games, you'll earn stars based on how well you complete a course. However when unlocking secrets, you can also collect what the game so elequantly refers to as Blue Things which, after unlocking in levels, have to be found and collected in the most intricate corners. Once you've collected enough Blue Things, you'll unlock sets of challenging courses that will certainly test your mettle.

The music is calming in every sense of the word. It most commonly consists of a piano (or acoustic guitar) with a lightly touched melody over simple chords which enhances the zen motif that the game intends. This also accentuates the charming story that is told through letters from a friend referred to as Y, spurring the player on to reach the end and be seemingly reunited.

TL;DR

  • Easy to pick-up
  • Plenty of secrets
  • Stars and Blue Things
  • Zen atmosphere

The Bad

Due to A Little Golf Journey's simplistic nature, it made certain golfing aspects difficult to manoeuvre. For example, there were many times where I wanted to curve my shots around some trees or perhaps apply some backspin when the ball landed however, as the game focusses on simplicity, these are not mechanical options. Many times I would be forced to take two shots to implement what I could normally do in other games in one.

The requirements in many courses to earn more stars seems absolutely ludicrous. For example, a course may require you to sink the ball in two shots to achieve a three star rating and despite hitting the ball perfectly at max power twice, you'd still be a good distance away from the flag. What's more frustrating is that stars are required to progress as you'll need to have obtained certain amounts to unlock the path foward and when you're short of a couple, it just feels cheap.

TL;DR

  • Too simplistic at times
  • Inbalanced star ranking

Final Score: 8/10

A Little Golf Journey is a beautifully crafted golfing adventure that'll make you feel at peace. It foregoes the sense of realism that many golf games attempt to emulate and instead, achieves something new whilst doing less. However, there are moments where you'll want more from its controls, which will feel a bit jarring at first, and the star rankings in various courses are, as previously stated, simply ludicrous. And yet, these misdemeanours are easy to overlook when you're grooving to its zen tunes and striking visuals.

Thank you for checking out our A Little Golf Journey switch review, thank you to Playtonic Friends (via PressEngine PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

For more reading, check out our review of Bonfire Peaks.