Golf Club: Wasteland is one of the most memorable games I’ve played of late, and I should know a thing or two about computer games – I’ve played over 22 of them! I’ve also played golf before, and it’s nothing like this experience.
Coming into a game with an attitude about the sport is fine. You can think all you like about chequered trousers, sun visors and hole puns, too. By the time you finish this – hell – a few holes in, and it’ll change your perception of the game.
I doubt you’ll be signing up at the local country club, and prefer to play this again and again to better your score.
Stating the obvious, Golf Club: Wasteland, by Demagog Studio and Untold Tales, is an interactive golf game. Note the choice of words as it’s not just golf. When Bezos and crew have managed to shift Earth’s population into Mars a few years in the future, the planet is left to rot in neon lights promoting pubes and conveniently placed flags.
Golf Club: Wasteland Review
For those who are homesick or want to flaunt their money for the sake of it, they can go 35 holes across the planet, donned in a spacesuit, hoping to get their name on the scoreboard, and seriously under par. Like the simple premise of golf, you need to put the ball into the end hole in as few moves as possible. The thing is, getting in the rough in Golf Club: Wasteland is a little more challenging than sand or overgrown grass.
You see, Earth is now a dynamic golf course – dynamic in that platforms will drop, glass window panes will smash, and what remaining lifeforms exist will pinch your balls. Ha. But this isn’t the fairytale golf course rich folk could ever dream of. It’s very urban-based – teeing off of derelict balconies, through sewage systems and off the roofs of skyscrapers.
Despite the abandonment, the visuals are gorgeous – in particular, the way your character is animated; hovering in their jetpack, shuffling to the ball or shaking their head with another missed putt is excellent. But what makes Golf Club: Wasteland so memorable is the sound production; both the storytelling and the superb soundtrack.
Let Me Tell You About A Time When…
Beaming off of the satellites from Mars, you’ll be tuned into a live broadcast playing some truly fantastic tunes, and vocal accounts of the events that have led us up to the point where Earth has become a glorified golf course. The ambience is superb. There’s such beauty in the accounts and accompanying tracks that it’s a mixture of profound thought and reflection without feeling melancholy.
I’ll go on record as saying this in one of the best productions I’ve heard in a game – not just for the feels of the beats, but the storytelling. I particularly loved hearing callers speak in their native tongue, making Earth feel global once more. As a non-speaker of many of these languages, the voice talent was just as musical as the playlist. Music is my big passion, but I struggle describing it and am not about to write those big pompous words that some professional music journalists use. Simply put: the audio is (inter)stellar.
Anyway, I digress. The golf aspect is naturally a big part of the game. Besides actively listening to the stories (you’ll note I’m not expanding on the narrative), your role is to play a round of golf. There are no clubs to pick from or any customisations; it’s a simple case of choosing the trajectory and power of your swing with the on-screen display that resembles the attacks in Worms.
Swing Batter Batter Batter Swing
It’s a straightforward setup, but unsurprisingly, it’s pretty tricky to master. To get a grasp of the game – that is Golf Club: Wasteland and not golf in general, you need to get accustomed to drop shots. Unlike its real-life counterpart, the physics aren’t as realistic (not a bad thing), and the ball doesn’t have that much momentum, nor can you drive it too far. The key is to do lob-like shots as stepping stones until you get to the end of each hole. Think of it as a pitch and putt, or crazy golf type experience.
Mastering the amount of power and angles can be exceptionally testing, though. Even hitting at full force won’t be enough to get onto another building or past a hazard where you’re likely to lose your balls (ha! I’m amusing myself). In this case, there are lots of times you’ll have to tap the ball just a little each time to get in a more strategic position. Unlike short pars of 5-6 hits, many of the stages are around the 20 mark. Get it under par, and aside from showing off, you’ll unlock some entries that elude to the fate of the Earth.
As much as that’s an incentive, replaying a stage to get under par is the driving force, alongside the music and fascinating monologues. Golf Club: Wasteland truly is a unique experience, and I highly recommend it, regardless of your thoughts on the sport. It’s a beautiful, somewhat dream-like experience that will keep you returning until you get the par (and hidden achievements) on each hole. Check it out before the world ends and shifts into a golf course for the rich!