Everyone is the hero of their own story, but no one believes in your Golf Story protagonist. The plucky hero dreams of golf glory, and despite conquering different courses, no one is convinced of his talent. It’s great. Far too often NPCs swoon in awe of a game protagonist, and it’s refreshing (and funny) to see so many characters brushing aside your golfer.
Indie games often attempt to impress gamers with humor, and that humor often comes across as forced. Golf Story doesn’t fall into that trap. There are disc golf weirdos, the uninspiring coach makes awkward sexual advances toward his crush, and I love the rival Lara. She’s April Ludgate with the aggression meter cranked up, constantly throwing shade. The plot of Golf Story is nothing special, but the game’s bright environments, fun tone, and colorful characters make it a lovely little world to visit. Oh yeah, and the golf is real fun too. The game mechanics should be familiar to anyone who has every played Mario Golf or Hotshotz Golf. Adjustable attributes like power and spin combined with special golf clubs allow the player to make tactical choices. The gameplay is just the right amount of goofy. Golf balls can be carried off by moles, and they can bounce high off of ice, but piranha plants don’t block your shots.
If there’s one feature missing from Golf Story, it’s more versus challenges. Playing against a score card isn’t nearly as fun as beating individual players (especially if they’re talking shit). In one competition you’re forced to pair with an elderly man for a two vs. two game, and he sucks. But compensating for his weak shots makes the victory all the sweeter. One other critique – most golfers you play against commit regular errors, making the game easier than I’d like.
Side mission lists in a game can be annoying or overwhelming, but I would have liked one in Golf Story. I didn’t want to miss any of the fun. Golf Story is part golf simulator, part RPG, and an all-around enjoyable adventure. I’m highly anticipating the Sports Story sequel. I hope Lara shows up for it.