18/12/2019

⛳️ BOLF | REVIEW | PC | EARLY ACCESS | "Take The Driver Out The Bag and Get Ready To Hit A Turkey!" ๐ŸŽณ #bolfgame #GameDev #IndieGames

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BOLF the video game takes the idea of mixing Ten Pin Bowling with Golf on full-size golf courses and at this moment in time goes about 25% of the way towards turning this into a fully realised video game idea.

I love golf games a lot, to the point where I did a 19 episode Golf video games feature on retro golf games for Games Freezer. 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnXszwskV-8CbULj8kAjAZtU1kcoUuvO2

Therefore I am always up for new golf video games experiences especially after sampling the delightful What The Golf back in October this year. http://www.gamesfreezer.co.uk/2019/10/what-golf-review-this-is-golf-jim-but.html


When I fired up BOLF I immediately felt that it lacked the polish of a finished game but it is in Ealy Access so I was keeping an open mind as to what the potential of this game is rather than judging it by the finishing touches.

The things I did pick up on though were the seemingly sparse play mode options and the slightly confusing menus for choosing whether you want to play on the Front 9, Back 9 and the Short or long tees. I'm not sure why but the layout just confused me and my simple peanut brain. I think it was a layout thing. Maybe you don't confuse players with too much choice upfront and just give them the choice of course and then once they've chosen the course it might be better to let them choose whether they want to play short or long tees and then whether they want to play a full round or half-round. 

Again it's a minor gripe but one which confuzzled me at the beginning of my play session. In all honesty, I was more interested and intrigued about whether there was a potential seed of gameplay here that could be built on rather than trying to see a finished game in an Early Access title from a small dev team.
When I got onto the tee for the first hole tee shot I was taken through a very basic tutorial that was given via text on the screen. It felt very placeholder style if you know what I mean. I think I’m so used to doing the action for a tutorial that this felt like it confused matters rather than clearly articulating the control method.

Simply put in my own words you use the thumbstick to swing the club just like in the Tiger Woods games of old and you change the club up and down via the shoulder buttons on your gamepad. Pretty simple stuff really but there was a lot of text on the screen to explain this that I felt was unnecessary. 

So when you actually start playing the game is it any good? Well, it really does feel like you are teeing off a bowling ball with a golf club which is an achievement in itself although I must admit I was having troubles keeping my shots straight which considering I’m a Tiger Woods veteran of the tour felt a bit odd. I think that maybe the swing mechanic was slightly too sensitive (or maybe I was just crap!).
The 2 golf courses available at the moment feel like real golf courses but maybe a bit too dull and generic for fun golf game. I think the developer, in this case, might have been better off going with a stylised version of a golf course rather than the realistic route as it doesn’t seem to add up with the whole Bowling Golf gimmick. But fair play to the devs as they have built some smart-looking golf courses that feel real.

When you hack your ball down the fairway and pitch your ball onto the green you are immediately greeted with a spark of fireworks as you are now expected to finish off the hole by knocking down the pins on the green with your bowling ball from the edge of the green. Now, this felt slightly odd to me because of a couple of things. Firstly even if your ball skips off of the green you still get the chance to bowl at the pins. Secondly wherever you land on the green the position for bowling is always the same. The other thing that could have been improved with this would have been rewarding players for hitting the pins with the approach shot so as you have fewer balls to bowl at in the ten pin bowling sequence.

You get two goes at getting a strike or half strike and then your points are tallied for the hole and you move on to the next.

Beyond this, there isn’t too much more to the game apart from unlocking more clubs and upgrading your golfer stats as you earn more points.
So, in summary, this really does feel bare-bones at the moment and it feels like it needs more time to polish itself up. There are two courses to play at the minute which aren’t wildly dissimilar from each other. The promising thing is that there is a seed of a fun game here but it just needs a bit more imagination and polish put into it to make it truly stand out from the crowd.

At around the £10 mark it worth a punt on if you like golf games and are willing to go along with the devs on a ride to completion. 

I’ll be keeping my eye on this over the coming months and hopefully, the devs can deliver on the promise that this game has shown so far.

Right, I’m off to smash a bowling ball down a realistic-looking golf fairway with an oversized sledgehammer golf club, aaaah the sound of iron on Urethane is music to my ears!

oh and have some gameplay for your troubles, enjoy ๐Ÿ˜

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