As Dave made mention in his recent review, Ratalaika are not shy about pumping out games at quite a clip. They don’t always turn out for the better, but sometimes we get something that is fun and unique, albeit brief, and that is exactly what Golf Zero manages to be.
The premise is simple; it’s golf, but with added platforming elements. At the start of a stage we might need to traverse a small platforming segment before trying to get the ball in to the hole at the end. Early stages are short and sweet, though later on we’re introduced to blades, rolling balls of death and traps that aim to thwart our victory.
We get three balls per level to try and get in to the hole, though there are often extra little objectives in order to hit the Gold medal; most levels have a balloon to pop as well, or it might require us to only use one ball for both tasks. Later levels have us racing an AI opponent to be the first to score as well. While we’re on the ground a press of the B button brings up the aiming reticule; there’s no need to worry about power or wind, just our aim and we have about 3 seconds to adjust it and press B again to hit.
Most of the time though we’ll be aiming and hitting in mid-air. Here time slows down somewhat, letting us have a few extra seconds to get the aim just right. Wall jumping over some spikes to then hit the ball in mid-air before plummeting into the water below and hoping the balls went far enough is a pretty common affair. As long as at least one goes in, it doesn’t matter the fate that befalls our… I think it’s a bird-jelly bean hybrid?
Levels are brief, with even the longest one only taking around 30 seconds to clear and restarts are instant – for the most part. If we have a ball in play, no matter how fast it is rolling or how clear it is that it’s not going in there’s no way to prematurely restart. It’s not like we’ll be sitting there for minutes waiting, but it is a little annoying that we can’t choose a manual restart.
Visually it has shades of Super Meat Boy, though nowhere near as polished at that title. The 32-bit era sprites and models are bright and colourful, and are a style that I enjoy, though it is hardly pushing modern tech to its limits. The soundtrack though is on the opposite end – quite frankly after 2 minutes the mute button was used, instead opting to listen to literally anything else.
As usual, the 1000G is perfectly attainable within 30 minutes so cheevo hunters (looking at you Nuttywray and Chocolatebear80) will likely want to add this game to their list.
Golf Zero manages to be an entertaining spin on golfing, adding in extra platforming elements while removing every other aspect if videogame golf to worry about. It offers a good little challenge, especially adding in the extra objectives, though they are only really there for completionists. Aside from the horrendous audio, I had some fun with Golf Zero, and – cheevo hunter or not – it’s worth a look in my book.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.