A 16-bit top down RPG where instead of casting spells or shooting weapons, you play golf!.. Which isn’t quite what I was expecting. In fact. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting beyond it being an RPG based around golf. However. For someone who has never been into golf or golf video games particularly. I was surprised when I found what this game had on offer.
You start the game as an amatuer golfer seeking to re-capture his love of golf from his childhood. Hoping to work his way up and eventually become a pro-golfer in spite of everyone’s opinion that he could never make it as a pro. The basic golf mechanics are very simple and easy to learn, some might say hard to master, however I’ve found through my time playing it, if you aren’t on point it’s not a huge issue as the scoring is pretty generous. Even later on you don’t need to make par for the course to reach ‘success’ but you do need to come close. The main thing I struggled with as the game progressed was the need to pay more and more attention to the wind and slope of the courses as these can hugely affect your aim and where the ball lands later on.
Along the way you encounter side-missions which are alot of fun, even though they aren’t hugely necessary beyond giving you extra money to spend at the pro-shop’s in the game. However they are never too involved and can make for a nice break away from the standard golfing mechanics used in the game. Which is why I mention at the top of the article ‘instead of casting spells or shooting weapons, you play golf’ because the game uses the golf mechanics for a variety of different things, including aiming at NPC’s and various other non-golf-related things. You also can do different things with the golf balls, try different types of shots, or even try your hand at frisbee! But don’t call it that! it’s actually disc golf!
The game has alot of charm, the character’s are cleverly written and hilarious. The art style is gorgeous and it’s fun to see the other courses as you progress through the game. Golf Story moves at a good pace and you never feel like any section is dragging on for too long. It certainly has alot more golf in it than I thought it would based on what I’d heard about the game before I played it. However I loved the very casual golfing in the game. A lot of the time I was speeding through the dialogue (as funny as it was) to get back to it. Which surprised me, because what drew me into the game was the intriguing idea of an RPG set on golf course, more than the golfing itself.
The only criticism I have for the game is it doesn’t really explain the golfing mechanics, nor the mechanics for other games like disc golf (beyond a quick lesson by your dad at the start of the game). But after a little trial and error it becomes clear what you’re supposed to do (particularly with the disc golf part of the game), and you have unlimited chances to get it right.
I think if you are considering picking the game up I would heavily recommend doing so, as it’s not expensive at all and you will enjoy 15-20 hours of casual golfing fun, even if you’re not much of a golf game fan, maybe wait for it to go on special and give it a try, or watch some playthroughs on youtube. If you really don’t think this game is for you or haven’t really considered it yet, I’ll just say it’s a ‘charming 16 bit casual golfing RPG’.. if even one of those words perks your interest.. it’s worth trying out.
References: All images used are taken, captured and/or edited by the author.