04/09/2021

๐ŸŒ️‍♂️ Golf Club Wasteland | Review | Xbox Series X | 6.5/10 | "On earth, no-one can hear you miss a birdie" ๐ŸŒ️‍♂️ @UntoldTalesHQ #IndieGames #GameDev

Share This Post On Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share This Post On

I was HIPS DEEP when I saw the trailer for Golf Club Wasteland. The striking, pastel visuals and dreamy music combined with basic gameplay seemed really captivating.

Having played the game, however, whilst there’s a lot that appealed to me, I  really, really wish I’d connected with the style of progression and the general direction that Golf Club Wasteland takes a lot more.

Earth is FINGERED. With the remnants of humanity toiling away on an apparently less than idyllic Mars, our protagonist has jetted off to Earth for a final round of golf amidst the wreck that humanity left behind. 

The gameplay in this 2D puzzler is extremely straightforward. You can control the direction and power of your shot by angling and pressing a single button. It’s as direct and arcadey as possible, allowing you to drop into the mood pretty breezily.

As you float around the beautiful decay, spotting pop culture references in the background, avoiding water and sand hazards and trying to get into the hole on each stage in as few strokes as possible, you are accompanied by Radio Nostalgia, a radio station from Mars that supplies you with a constant stream of music, chatter and stories of how people left Earth and also how their new lives are shaping up.


For the first few stages (there are 35 in total) I was enjoying just pottering along and getting lost in the really well-presented ambience – after raising the sensitivity on the controller up to 100%, which it really feels like it should default to.


The background radio DJ, rolling tales and mellow music really set the mood and I felt like I’d be quite happy to use Golf Club Wasteland as a game to really relax with and even dabbled with the thought of a vinyl soundtrack release and subsequent purchase...until about halfway through.

The game shifts at around level 13-15 to be more a war of attrition than a zen ride. I never felt like I got a handle on the controls in a way that made me feel like I could make my way around the holes as I saw fit. As I’ve already said - the game is a puzzler and not a sports title, in the early stages I didn’t really notice how I was hacking the ball across the screens, even the most powerful shot felt like a lazy tap, and when I was on the ‘green’ making the final hit, it was oddly hard to judge as everything felt so ‘heavy’.


When the stages become labyrinthine puzzles with a set way through, knocking the ball around, seemingly randomly attempting to get the right path and hitting each shot at the right strength, the fun seemed to drain out fast. It doesn’t help that the music occasionally switches to abrasive, industrial beat-driven tunes with distorted vocals, gradually it dawned on me that everything that had sucked me into the game from the trailer was dissipating and it never won me back, unfortunately.

The game is at its strongest when it draws at those pastel-coloured, neon visuals, dripping information on the situation your golfer finds himself in. The diary entries, hazy audio and references to the modern political climate – it’s a fun and enticing game.


That shift towards pixel-perfect shots and more aggressive music, however, means that the game works against its own strengths of dreamy casuality in a pretty bizarre way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Like what you see in the Games Freezer?
Why not tell us what you think with a few well-chosen comments? :)

๐ŸŽฎ Featured Posts ๐ŸŽฎ