RPGolf Legends - Switch Review
"RPGolf Legends sounds great on paper but in its execution, it misses the mark on so many basic fundamentals."
With evil monsters having rid the world of golf by blocking every hole, the world has begrudgingly carried on with less joy in the air. That is until our protagonist Aerin reels in a sentient golf club called Clubby from the river and bids her to save the sport from evil's clutches. It's here where our adventure begins as RPGolf Legends takes you on a wild adventure full of magic, monsters and... golf.
Much like many other golf video games, the controls are quite standard; select your club, adjust your direction, account for wind, press the A button once to start the power meter, again to stop it and once more to account for accuracy. After that, you'll then need to run after your ball. In between holes, you'll encounter monsters and this is where the RP part of the game's title comes into play. You'll need to defeat enemies through action-RPG combat in order to increase Clubby's magic meter, which will then unlock more holes. Also, the lower your score at golf, the better bonuses you'll receive (such as more experience, gold, etc.). It's a clever system that, quite frankly, I'm surprised hasn't been done before.
Aerin and Clubby have some witty fourth wall-breaking banter that helps to break up the pace. Within the opening tutorial, Aerin asks why we need to unlock all of the holes and why we can't just have fun on the first course, to which Clubby begins to discuss the game's length and how hard the developers have worked to make the game robust. While the dialogue can get a little stale and cheesy at times, the humour always aims to keep the mood light.
The graphics are reminiscent to the Game Boy Advance with bright colours and large pixels on large sprites. It's perhaps most reminiscent to Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color or even the indie darling Golf Story. I've always had a soft spot for the Game Boy Advance's graphical style and I imagine others will also appreciate the aesthetic as it tickles their nostalgia bone.
- Clever hybrid gameplay
- Witty dialogue
- GBA inspired graphics
RPGolf Legends is certainly an RPG and to its detriment, it borrows some of the genre's more unappealing aspects. For starters, the world is big and when traversing on foot for side quests and from one town to the next, it quickly becomes both tedious and monotonous. You'll also be required to grind a lot, defeating enemies in the wild to slowly build up the gauge in order for you to proceed to the next hole. You do have the option to replay holes and try your luck and sense of timing at the roulette but then that just feels like it goes against the spirit of the game.
It wouldn't be an RPG with side quests without having people ask you to collect a certain amount of superfluous items for lame reasons! RPGolf Legends is a massive offender of this; defeat five blue imps, collect three golf balls, defeat five red imps, rescue the kitten. I would have been more inclined to complete these meaningless side quests if they provided you with experience to unlock a new hole but sadly, you just get coins and items. Only a handful of RPGs have been able to make side quests feel meaningful and RPGolf Legends is certainly not one of them.
Sometimes you'll be challenged by NPCs to compete as they'll likely want to prove that they should be the chosen hero. These allow for actual golf matches and while this may sound fun, the only reason hitting and running to the ball works is because it speeds up the gameplay (which is why it worked so well in Mario Golf: Super Rush); instead here, you need to wait for your opponent to get ahead of you and this can sometimes take way longer than it should. Also, God forbid you're in the way of their ball as these NPCs don't know how to walk around you. It's a pointless task that also doesn't reward you well enough for the time and effort it takes.
For an action RPG, the combat feels clunky. Your character moves in eight directions and you use your club to awkwardly swing at enemies that have much more manoeuvrability than you do. Each class you obtain has a special attack that's similar to Link's spin attack but your magic meter will quickly run out and you either have to use an ether (which then means you can't use a potion for 30 seconds - more on this later) or you can travel all the way back to your home on the first island to rest.
The open world map sounds good on paper but my goodness, it is way too big for its own good. In one main mission approximately two hours into the game, I had to fast travel back to the town and as I followed the waypoint marker, I learnt that I had to go collect three lots of Strange Grass. To get that, I had to traverse back to where I was earlier and the game has a five minute fast travel cooldown, so I ran west for a whole two minutes to get the grass and then ran all the way back. A lot of this is due to the free-flowing nature of the courses as well as having enemies in the overworld but as a result, it's created a baron open world that is so incredible empty and bland.
As I mentioned earlier, there are also cooldowns on using potions. This is more understandable in design but not when you use a potion and it then prevents you from using a status curing potion. I constantly came across needing to use a small potion and then immediately after, I was hit by a snake's venom which resulted in me being poisoned. I then was unable to cure myself with an antidote for another 20 seconds and in the meantime, my health depleted to zero and I died. The status curing potions should have separate cooldowns to standard potions, which would result in far less cheap deaths like this.
- Tedious progression
- Lacklustre side quests
- Slow challenges
- Clunky combat
- Large, baron open world
- Potion cooldowns
Final Score: 4/10
RPGolf Legends sounds great on paper but in its execution, it misses the mark on so many basic fundamentals. It takes all of the pitfalls that come with open world RPGs and shoe-horns minimalist golfing into an otherwise generic experience. It's a competent game and if you go in with low expectations, you may get some enjoyment out of it. However, there are so many other golf or RPG titles on Switch that give you so much more bang for your buck.
Thank you for checking out our RPGolf Legends Switch review, thank you to Kemco 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)
- Bel Cubitt