Golf Story

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Golf Story Game Poster Image
Fun RPG experience with lots of drive ... and putts.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Surprising amount players can learn through gameplay. On role-playing side, elements such as basic reading, equipment/inventory management, economics, while actual golf game can teach some some minor physics, math fundamentals.

Positive Messages

Helping others in need; following dreams, regardless of obstacles, ridicule.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wide variety of oddball characters, with range of personalities, motivations, though none are really fleshed out enough to be positive or negative role models.

Ease of Play

RPG aspect is pretty straightforward, with some puzzle solving, exploration elements, stat management. Though basics of golf are easy to learn, there are a lot of nuances to learn to be effective, such as gauging slope and wind speed, using ball spin, approach shots, etc.

Violence & Scariness

Some minor violence. Examples include using your golf skills, bit of necromancy to raise dead, hitting everything from cranky geese to bratty kids with your golf balls. Cartoonish humor, pixelated style of game eliminates intensity, gore.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Golf Story is a downloadable hybrid role-playing/sports game for the Nintendo Switch. The game combines elements of classic role-playing games with an arcade-style, top-down view golf game, all wrapped in pixelated, 8-bit inspired visuals. Its cartoonish style lends itself to some mild slapstick violence, but nothing graphic or over the top. Golf Story is relatively easy to pick up and play, but there's still a bit of a learning curve, especially when it comes to making effective use of the golf mechanics.

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What's it about?

GOLF STORY is a downloadable game for the Nintendo Switch that combines the deep adventure of a classic role-playing game (RPG) with the arcade fun of an old-school golf game. The idea of a golf adventure might seem strange at first -- well, it gets even stranger the deeper you go. What starts off as the story of a rookie looking to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a golf champion becomes the tale of the golf pro who becomes a true legend. In a world where sand traps and water hazards play second fiddle to necromantic wizardry and prehistoric cave dwellers, you'd be surprised just how many problems a good drive or putt can cure. And for those times when you need a little break, players can step away from the adventure and play a few rounds at any of the game's courses, either solo or against a friend in two-player local co-op matches.

Is it any good?

This unique twist on a sports game manages to amuse players on and off the golf course with humor, plot twists, and a healthy dose of putting along the way. Chasing your dreams can mean getting stuck in the rough sometimes. But with dedication and a little follow-through, reaching that goal can be a "fore"-gone conclusion. At least, that's the message behind this uniquely entertaining sports/RPG hybrid. On the surface, mixing role-playing and golf seems like an absurdly ridiculous idea ... and make no mistake, it truly is. But once you accept the insanity of the idea and roll with it, it's hard not to get hooked. The game's 8-bit visuals and retro gameplay give off an irresistible sense of nostalgia, while the quirky and almost nonsensical plot coupled with the offbeat humor are sure to keep a smile on your face. It's a good thing too, because the humor helps break up the game's repetition. After all, there are only so many ways to cram golf into an adventure game (though the murder mystery was a surprise).

Most of your time with Golf Story involves testing your skills on the green. There are a few variations, such as disc golf, mini-golf, and a bucketful of mini-games meant to test and hone your skills. This means a lot of time spent making the most of the game's golf mechanics. On the upside, it's relatively easy to pick up a club and swing away. There are a few quirks, though, particularly when you're trying to judge things like how the wind speed or angle of slope will affect your shot. Much like real golf, even when everything seems lined up perfectly, sometimes the ball just does its own thing, usually in the form of an odd bounce or roll. This can mean the difference between a birdie or a double bogey. It's a little frustrating, but it's never unfair and instead drives you to try a little harder on the next swing. Golf Story may come up just shy of landing a hole in one, but its personality and gameplay still make for a fun-filled time on this freaky fairway.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about following dreams. How important is it to feel passionate about accomplishing a life goal? What are some ways to continue to pursue a dream even in the face of discouragement?

  • Talk about sports. What are some of the benefits that come from participating in competitive sports? What are some ways that academic skills (science, math, etc.) can improve gameplay in sports?

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