It’s all about the game (and a disclaimer)
Naturally, I am the furthest thing from a golf fan. With that disclaimer out of the way, I am happy to report that as a gamer, I have played golf video games in the past (and yes, I was always Tiger Woods. Always.). This time, I got to play a quirky one called Golf with Your Friends. Developed by Backlight Interactive and published by Team17, Golf with Your Friends officially made its release across consoles and PC in May 2020.
As Golf with Your Friends is a sports game, the only major plot comes in the form of your journey to being number one on the digital green. From the humble beginnings to getting your initial putts to the betrayal of your friendship when your winning shot gets abruptly stopped by a planted trap, and finally your triumphant victory. Until the next course.
Gameplay: Shoot your shot
Gameplay may seem like simple golf, right? Wrong. Golf with Your Friends needs you to work for your win. How you play the game is up to you. From the course to difficulty – you choose. There are two ways to play: Online and Offline.
Online vs Offline
With Online you can either host or join a Golf with Your Friends lobby and play against other aspiring golfers – all with the bonus of a safe and socially distanced game. Online will also need you to play a smart and tactful game off-the-course. You can set traps and use rewards you earn during gameplay to create added advantages. You will soon learn how cutthroat this sport can be.
It is important to note that this is not realistic golf and there isn’t a large trophy with lots of zeroes in your bank account when you win, but you can get a Viking hat that your golf ball can wear to your next match. Just saying. Each completed course earns you a reward that you can use to decorate, help you and even give you the advantage over your opponents in your face-offs.
On the flip side of things, we have Offline play. This is a place to play and fail in peace. Without the added threat of a honey trap from an opponent, you can master your shots and avoid the natural humiliation that comes with taking more than 10 shots at a single hole only to forfeit it in the end (it can happen to anyone…). But this doesn’t mean it is any easier to win. Thankfully there is Practice available too. Practice mode is all about the vibes of playing the game – no timer no penalties, no restrictions, just you and the continual improvement of your shots.
The Course Experience
As of recently, there are 13 courses to play on. My personal favorites were Oasis (and not just because I scored my first Hole in One here), Twilight, and Candyland. Each course is designed to keep its theme running through each hole you will face. From the color schemes to the unique challenges, you will both love and hate each course for your reasons.
Onto the gameplay controls. Golf with Your Friends has simple controls which I appreciated. With the left stick, you can control the force and speed of the shot you take by moving it vertically. You can also control the spin you add to your shot which is very useful in those settings that require a the-Matrix-like-shot. The right stick controls your view and the camera as the hole isn’t always as straightforwardly visible as you might hope. Other buttons can be used depending on your selected game mode. You can choose from 5 available modes: Classic, Dunk, Hockey, Explore, and Party. And if you feel you want a unique mode to play, you have the option of creating a custom mode where you have adjusted the difficulty, timing, gravity, and even the shape of the ball.
Visuals and Issues
The visuals of the game are nice and do add to the charm of the game’s quirkiness across the board. I will give Golf with Your Friends points for that. The background music is also upbeat which is very necessary when you’re on your 14th shot at the same hole (yes, I’m looking at you sir Hole 16 of the Forest course – I WILL be back.)
There were a few technical issues I experienced in the game, however. The game would randomly glitch and cause problems by either obstructing my view or resetting me off the course, making it impossible for me to get back on track and completing the hole. In some instances, I would be forced to forfeit the hole just to overcome the glitch. As frustrating as this was, I still had some good moments with this title.
The verdict: To putt or not to putt?
My biggest takeaway from Golf with Your Friends is my newfound Golf lingo education – a hole in one, Birdie, Eagle, Par, Bogey, and Double Bogey – I finally know what they mean now (please refer back to the disclaimer at the beginning of this review).
At the end of it all, I can confidently say that Golf with Your Friends is a charming golf game that you can enjoy by yourself or with others.