Golf Story Proves Everything Can Be Solved With A Well-Timed Swing

8.5
  • Switch
  • Sports
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Golf Story is a must-play on Switch, even if you have no interest in the sport Sidebar Games

Golf is known as a slow and plodding game played primarily by old men. Not exactly a good base for an exciting story. However, add a faceoff with a dark wizard, a rap battle and a gang of snow bandits and you have Golf Story.

There’s a semi-serious main plot throughout Golf Story about your character leaving everything behind to pursue a professional golf career. However, your character is often used as a straight man in the wacky antics going on around him. Who knew becoming a golf pro would require you to help a group of cavemen repair their friendship with turtles? Or solve a mystery about a werewolf? While the main plot may be a tired retread of something you’ve seen a million times already, the bizarre situations and background action really help drive players forward to see what will happen next.

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One of the many locations to play golf in Golf Story Photo: Sidebar Games

There are eleven different courses to play (eight real courses and three virtual in-game “video game” ones) throughout the 15+ hours it takes to complete Golf Story. Many of these courses are repurposed in a number of ways, offering different tees and holes to aim for in addition to the standard nine holes you’d expect. There are other golf-related activities too, such as a driving range or mini-golf. Even when doing something completely unrelated, your golf skills continue to come in handy. For example, there comes a time when you need to return eggs to birds. Of course you could just give the eggs back, but it’s way more fun to use your driver. (I guess the shells are just really strong.)

Along with golf, there are a surprising number of side activities like disc golf, lawn bowls, drone flying and more. Most of these basic distractions offer a short bit of fun, but drone flying is the absolute worst. The drone controls terribly and is way too fickle about how soft you need to land the machine without blowing it up. I wish this was scrapped so there could be another disc golf course, but I’m also a big disc golf fan, so maybe I’m a little biased here.

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Getting a game of disc golf in between hitting up the links Photo: Sidebar Games

Players gain levels and increase one of five different skills. This is a really smart system, with one main skill and four subskills. The more players upgrade the main “Power” skill, the farther the player can drive a ball. However, upgrading power decreases the other skills. This forces players to upgrade every skill somewhat equally, or end up dropping off the map in favor of powering up other skills. I don’t think I’ve seen another game with such a cool checks-and-balances system in the skill tree.

Golf Story isn’t the most technically proficient release, but the handful of bugs I encountered while playing are only minor annoyances. For example, transitioning between scenes by walking through a doorway would sometimes not trigger the game into going into the next room. This means I would have to walk back into the room I was already in, and try again. There are other minor issues, including the text not staying up on the screen long enough and the game sometimes thinking I landed in a bunker even though I’m clearly on a fairway, but these didn’t hinder my enjoyment too much.

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The Pro course in Golf Story offers the most challenge, and is the most like a traditional golf course Photo: Sidebar Games

One big area I feel Golf Story missed out on is customization. Players can level up their skills and change gear, but there’s no way to customize your player character at all. You can’t even set your character’s name or gender, meaning “Player” is used on scorecards. Even something as basic as changing the character’s name and being able to choose from one of a handful of different shirts would be enough for me.

Golf Story is a fun, charming game and a must-play for the Switch. Featuring a 15+ hour main story and the ability to quickly set up a match with a friend, there’s plenty of gaming goodness to be had. If you’re looking for a fun game with a big heart, Golf Story is a hole-in-one.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Golf Story
8.5
Golf Story Proves Everything Can Be Solved With A Well-Timed Swing
Golf Story is a fun, charming game and a must-play for the Switch. Featuring a 15+ hour main story and the ability to quickly set up a match with a friend, there’s plenty of gaming goodness to be had. If you’re looking for a fun game with a big heart, Golf Story is a hole-in-one.
  • Charming and fun story
  • Creative ways to play "golf"
  • Minor bugs
  • No customization options
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