House of Golf 2 Preview

As our Project Game Pass titles have shown this year alone, we’re quite partial to a game of videogame golf, especially when it’s a bit off the wall and whimsical. Well, we recently had a chance to play the opening few levels of House of Golf 2 from Starlight Games and came away impressed. The game is out on Xbox in a few weeks, though we played using PC preview code.

The courses are fairly short but backdropped by some excellent world-building using UE5

As the name implies, HoG2’s courses take the form of mini-golf style affairs that are dotted around a home. We move from living room to kitchen, bedroom, attic and more, with each course taking up a small area in said room. They’re crafted from various real-world inspired items too, like cereal boxes, power tools, children’s toys etc; think Micro Machines and how that game used it’s setting brilliantly to recreate the feeling of playing at home and you’ll get the idea, 

There are some more videogame-like elements, such as portals, in play too, and all together they’ve provided some inventive and fun courses to tackle so far. We were able to play the first three courses – Seasonal Opener, Jungle Jam, Putt-em-up – each with 9 holes. Even in this small taste (the full game has over 100 holes) the creativity has been a highlight. 

Hitting those pads spells doom in this example, though elsewhere they’re of use to us

Simply getting to the hole is one thing, but Starlight have added in all manner of secrets to uncover as we play. There are medals to collect that unlock new ball aesthetics (we managed to get a smiley face, which is an instant win in our books) but also a plethora of shortcuts to find. Some are simple – an opening on the right as opposed to the obvious path on the left – whereas others are a bit more devious. One level has a conveniently place rubber that’s just so angled that we can skip the level entirely (assuming we get the power right), whereas others hide them out of sight altogether unless we use the free cam to scout about.

Aiming and hitting the ball works much like Golf with Your Friends in that we set the power and angle before hitting A to fire it off. There’s no timing-based input to worry about thankfully, which serves the game well as it’s intended to be best played as a four player, couch-play experience. As such, players take turns in pad swapping and taking their shots which works just fine. While we’d like to see online included at some point too, we can already see this added to our (sadly less frequent) IRL meet-ups. 

Being a British-made game, there are plenty of gags and references that play on well known household items

There are also course trophies to earn by hitting a certain shot limit, and it’s these that unlock further courses. In the level we got to play we managed to get gold on the first two (including the semi-tutorial)  easily enough, but the latter two took a bit more practice. We can only imagine some of the tricker levels to come later on, and are quite looking forward to seeing more.

All of this fun golfing is wrapped up in some stunning UE5 work. Again, we played on PC (using our 40-series gaming laptop) and it features some stunning lighting, reflections, textures, the works. Of course, that’s not the be all and end all, but it is a lovely add to what has been a fun game so far.

Our only concern is with the unlocks. There’s not a massive amount of skins in the menu currently, and some of the skins require hundreds of medals to get to, so unless there’s something in the game to speed up the process it could be that most will never get to see them. We’ve played for three hours roughly and gotten a dozen or so. This could be toned down for launch possibly, but as of now that’s our only real (minor) complaint. The game plays well, as with a group of four mates together in a room, will no doubt provide some good laughs. 

This game was previewed on PC (via Steam). All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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