You likely nabbed a Switch for one of three reasons – on-the-go gaming, local multiplayer, or the fun-filled exclusives. Golf With Your Friends is the perfect addition to the handheld’s roster, giving an experience reminiscent of Wii Sports.
Golf With Your Friends might not be a title that rolls off the tongue but the ball that you swing with your illustrious invisible club is unbelievably smooth in its responsiveness: Team17 has magnificently brought their hit multiplayer extravaganza to Nintendo’s latest console.
The experience retains the charming simplicity of the sport with the engaging and entertaining environments that make the miniature variant so popular, whether you’re golfing in a candy land or a magma-filled active volcano. That extends into the intuitiveness of the design, from the second you boot up Golf With Your Friends and find yourself face-to-face with the main menu, a moment of contention that can make-or-break a first impression. The cutesy logo is sprawled atop a slick and modern interface that leaves you with very few options, opting to serenade you with some upbeat music and a quaint windmill, rather than bombarding you with a migraine-inducing mess.
There are two options you’ll pick from – offline or online. It’s that simple, with the former allowing for singleplayer or a couch co-op experience, whilst the latter does what it says on the tin, letting you connect with friends and family across the internet to partake in a virtual golfing experience. Connectivity is flawless, as even playing with an Australian from the comfort of the UK resulted in no input lag or delay. Toppled with responsive gameplay that’s incredibly easy to pick up, even if you still find yourself doing absolutely terrible a few hours in, and Golf With Your Friends succeeds in its goal of letting the multiplayer fun speak for itself. However, bugs and janky glitches leave a lot to be desired, as, at times, Golf With Your Friends feels worse than a Bethesda game on launch.
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You can end up thrown under the map, trapped in a nauseating first-person perspective or lodged in a gap that reveals the underbelly of the level, all of which serve to diminish the polished feel that the game overwise basks in. Nonetheless, bugs aside, Golf With Your Friends is exactly that – a polished experience. Although, at first, it does feel somewhat akin to a tech demo, as it seems to lack in a lot of the personality that bleeds into Team17’s other works such as Worms and Escapists. Nonetheless, the wealth of customizability that you can find in their other titles has resurfaced, allowing for you to deck out your golf ball to make it much more than the typical bog-standard white sphere. As such, there’s a wealth of replay value to be had as you strive to nab those sweet unlockables.
World / Level Design
Even in the very first level of the eleven at your disposal, The Forest, there are some grueling courses that put your skills, or lack thereof, to the test. The environments are as wacky and inventive as you’d hope to get from a minigolf experience but that doesn’t detract whatsoever from the layouts that can reward you for taking risks or push you to find inventive ways to cut down your number of shots. There’s often alternative paths, means of skipping over certain parts as well as a vast amount of forethought that can be had, especially given the free camera at your disposal that allows for some meticulous, albeit timed planning. Very few levels feel cheap in their difficulty, and they never once felt repetitive, even in replays.
Story / Personality
Team17 are famous for their English-wit and charming designs, such as with the aforementioned Worms, but Golf With Your Friends lacks a lot of that personality. You’re thrown into a level of your choosing with some brilliant concepts such as the Egyptian-themed desert, but everything feels very mechanical and produced – there’s nothing beyond the golfing, no progression beyond striving for cosmetics, no humorous announcers or stylized loading screens and visuals. It’s a functional experience that feels hollow in execution.
Graphics / Art Direction
Golf With Your Friends isn’t an open-world RPG like The Witcher 3 or The Outer Worlds, so translating it from beefier consoles and PC rigs to a handheld, less powerful machine resulted in it looking far better, especially on the smaller screen. It faired well in the transition, although the art design is, just like the experience itself, functional, with little personality or originality: there’s very little that is visually striking or memorable.
Music / Sound Design
Bubble Bobble finally has a game that can give it a run for its money in terms of repetitive music, as Golf With Your Friends has a score so monotonous and manufactured that it borders on torturous – you’re best shutting it off or drowning it out with music of your own, as it can get tedious fast when the same generic and bland notes begin to circle round in their endless cyclical repeats. Some levels are forfeit from this, such as the haunted house that feels reminiscent of Luigi’s Mansion, but the more upbeat, mobile-game sounding score of the main menu and the forest leaves a lot to be desired.
Final Score: 65%
Golf With Your Friends isn’t the best golf game on the market, but it’s a fairly fun multiplayer experience that will give you a fair bit of mileage given the incentive to plow on and unlock cosmetics, whilst also topping your score and beating your friends and family or losing to them spectacularly.
Thank you for checking out our Golf With Your Friends Switch review, thank you to Team17 for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out!)
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