Modern gaming has not been kind to sports fans. Developers have utilised microtransactions and pay-to-win features to make a quick buck from those desperate to play with their heroes. Golf Story, Sidebar Games’ Nintendo Switch exclusive, takes a refreshing stance against these tactics, managing to have fun with its mechanics whilst creating a top-quality golfing simulation.
In a twist for sports games, Golf Story successfully integrates its quirky plot without simply adding basic exposition through cutscenes followed by standard gameplay. Instead it uses details from more traditional 2D RPGs, an overworld full of NPCs and side-quests that give out XP, to bring its world to life. This light-hearted adventure is both witty and full of classic Australian humour, primarily at the expense of your character whom every other golfer
seems to loathe and dismiss.
The game further surprises with its golfing mechanics, which are easy to pick up yet crisp and make for an in-depth golfing simulator. Players have to incorporate wind speed, terrain type and sloping into all their shots. But maintaining precision is not easy due to Golf Story’s
quirky course designs. Each deploys distinct obstacles or shortcuts that will mix up the gameplay, whether through moles stealing your ball, or bouncing shots off the backs of turtles to avoid landing in water. Sidebar Games did a perfect job in giving each course its
own aesthetic design too. They used a variety of colour palettes and backgrounds in a world not too dissimilar to the design of the Earthbound series. Each is further complemented by the relaxing soundtrack and satisfying sound effects that come from hitting the ball
perfectly, creating a comfy atmosphere perfect for the Switch’s handheld mode. These combined features make each of the eight courses feel completely unique and a delight to visit.
The final extra ingredient that makes Golf Story worth its £14 price tag is its multiplayer mode. Even though the courses are taken straight from the main game, it is still just as fun (and competitive) as any other multiplayer sports game. What is more, the game can be played using only one Joy-Con, meaning you won’t have to break the bank and buy an extra controller for matchups.
Whilst you can complete the main storyline in under 15 hours, the replayability factor will keep you entertained for many more hours in this charming little sports game that is well above par.