Developed by Blacklight interactive and published by Team 17, Golf with Your Friends is a fast-paced virtual crazy golf game. Across 11 various themed areas, you can either play with 12 offline friends – if you ever have that many in your house willing to play – or you can play with up to 12 others online.
The graphics are what you would expect associated with Team 17; they are very sharp but cartoonish scenes of each of the themes on offer. As a nod to their popular franchise, there is a themed area based on Worms, where you can see the worms and their weapons in the background, as well as part of the course. Each of the themed courses has their own background music which ties in nicely with the visuals. Jaunty pirate music to go with the pirate-themed area and futuristic laser sound effects to go with the space level. This game also offers a bit of customisation for your golf ball. You can apply a hat, floaties (a sort of belt for your ball), or apply a trail that it leaves behind when you hit it.
The gameplay separates itself from other golf games as it has made some very bold choices. Most golf games set the power level using the left thumbstick but usually, you pull the thumbstick down and then slide it back up as to simulate a swing. However, here you just push the left stick up and down to set the power level where you want before pressing A to hit the ball. You can fine-tune your aim or add a bit of spin if you have some skill at golf games.
As this game is based on crazy golf, you can’t always see where the hole and flag are so its sometimes difficult to know where to hit the ball. You are given a tool called free cam where you take control of a free-moving camera, which allows you to move about the course. However, there is usually a timer on it, so you have to make the most of it quickly to find out where you need to hit the ball which isn’t always simple. Some of the courses can be a little convoluted in their design and so on some levels, you will have no idea on where you need to hit the ball to get to the hole. Hitting and hoping is a terrible tactic as well, as more often than not you will end up out of bounds. That does add some mystery to the game, but it means you need to play each hole offline so have some idea what you are doing before you have a chance of competing online against others.
To keep the game interesting, they have added in a variety of different tweaks to try and level the playing field as well as just spicing things up. The tweaks range from allowing you to make your ball jump to get over obstacles or changing the ball to a puck so instead of aiming to get it in a hole, you need to shoot past a goalie at the end of the course. There are some other interesting ideas, like a basketball net that you have to aim for rather than a hole which increases the difficulty somewhat. You have to aim towards the net and as you get close you jump with the ball to try and score it into the net.
There is also an investigate mode, which as far as I can see only lets you know how much power you used on your last shot. It’s possible there is more to it, but I didn’t see anything that explains what the mode is. Also, there is a party mode where the levels have powerups scattered around which can be used on that specific hole. A couple of the power-ups I’ve seen are freeze, stopping your ball dead, which is useful if you are trying to get close to the hole and accidentally overshoot it, or a honey trap, where opponents will get stuck in it, making them take longer to complete the hole.
I think this game is much better enjoyed online, as you can play with others simultaneously. It is fun to see how 11 others handle the course alongside you. You have your steady eddies and those that go gung-ho and just hope for the best. Playing this way does have a few drawbacks though. Every hole takes much longer to load which is a bit of a mood killer. Also, once you have stroked your ball in the hole you then go into an observation mode. You can follow any of the other players still playing and trying to put theirs. This can be a bit of a drag if they are not all that great at aiming, or just messing about.
Luckily each hole has a timer before you just move on and more often than the not the timer seems to catch someone out. So, what is supposed to be quick play could end up taking much over an hour to play 18 holes online. Offline however you play one at a time and if there is 12 of you, then 18 holes could take days rather than hours, so be warned.
Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of crazy golf in either a virtual or real sense? It’s definitely better played online in a simultaneous manner and preferably with friends though. The many different themes are interesting, and the variety of tweaks and modes do keep things fun for a while, but the pacing of the game or loading times may cause many to lose interest, unfortunately.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.