Golfie combines mini-golf, deckbuilding, and rogue-lite elements into a single package of delightful frustration. Mirroring my real-life mini golf skills, I’m terrible at this game. Luckily in Golfie, there are no nearby cars or pedestrians to suffer from my poor aim and power control. The only victim is my own sanity.
You can find a video version of this review on my YouTube Channel
In Golfie you play a series of procedurally generated holes all designed to make you question your own existence as your ball ricochets off the map for the 10th time.
The fewer shots you take on each map, the more coins you earn. If you run out of shots you begin losing energy. Energy is also lost when your ball falls into the abyss, water, lava, or other hazards. Once it runs out, the run is over, and you’re rewarded with a score to see just how pathetically you did compared to other players.
The trick to Golfie is that a standard swing has all of the force of a wet napkin. You need to modify your shot with cards. Play a Lob Shot card to send your ball skyward, add a power shot for a bit of oomph, or a jet pack because why not.
The farther you go down the rabbit hole, the more intense the obstacles become. And each biome presents its own kind of challenge. It’s not enough to simply aim in the general direction of the hole.
You’re going to need to bop some crystals to earn new cards and perks, or use a vending machine in order to spend those hard-earned coins. The basic cards can only take you so far once the courses become a mile long and filled with every manner of rage-inducing obstacle.
|Gideon’s Bias||Golfie Information|
|Review Copy Used: Yes||Publisher: Yogscast Games|
|Hours Played: 6 Hours||Type: Early Access|
|Reviewed On: PC||Platforms: PC|
|Fan of Genre: Yes||Genre: Rogue-lite, Deckbuilder|
|Mode Played: N/A||Price: $17.99|
What I Like
The Card System
The way the cards interact with the concept of mini-golf is pretty neat. You can modify your shots with a variety of cards. A power shot makes the ball go farther. A lob shot sends it airborne, and a curve shot does what it says on the tin. Combine all three, and you have a powerful curving shot that flies.
It gets even wonkier when you factor in the crazier cards. You can use a sticky card, for example, and smack the ball onto a tree. Allowing you to take the next shot from said tree. Add a jet pack and you can gleefully sail the ball over the course, only to cry when you realize you have the timing skills of a sloth and drop the ball off the map.
Each card adds some heat, and sweaty balls are not a very pleasant thing to deal with. If you add too much heat, it explodes and drains some energy. Some cards allow you to reduce the heat level, however, so you can continue slapping it with new toys.
Some cards are better suited for certain biomes, and your deck composition is something you have to factor in. It works remarkably well and is a ton of fun. You constantly have to decide between going straight for the hole or making some attempt at picking up coins, perks, and new cards. Because as the levels get harder, you’re going to need them.
Being able to use a parachute to stop the ball, teleport it into a better location, or being able to alter its course with a redirection card is invaluable as the run grows increasingly more difficult.
It’s one of the most unique rogue-lite deck-building games I’ve played. It puts a fun twist on a physics game about slapping balls around.
What I don’t like
The Lack of Content
Golfie is an early access game so a lack of content is to be expected. However, to the game’s credit, it doesn’t feel unfinished. Aside from the “Coming Soon” banner on the multiplayer menu icon, I’d never guess Golfie was an early access game.
Instead, it feels like a finished game that is short on content, if that makes sense. The variety of cards isn’t that large, and you can unlock all of them within an hour. The courses may be procedurally generated, but they are essentially a small set of obstacles strung together.
For example. You might get the same ramp on multiple levels, but in a different spot with other course pieces slotted before or after it. You begin to see the pattern pretty quickly. And while it doesn’t make the game any less challenging, it does make it repetitive far quicker than most rogue-lites.
It just needs a bit more of pretty much everything. The good news is that it will likely receive the variety it needs over its early access period. The fact that the game feels feature-complete is a boon, in that every addition will feel like an enhancement rather than simply filling in gaps that the game would otherwise be missing.
Unfortunately, even though it’s early access, I have to judge the game as if the developers cut and run. No matter how unlikely that is. And whether or not I’d be happy paying for the game they left behind. As it stands currently, Golfie’s longevity is limited.
Golfie isn’t the first minigolf game with crazy courses. But the deck building and rogue-lite elements make it stand apart from any other. It’s undeniably fun if you enjoy one or both concepts.
There can be some frustration, both with your own skills and the quirks of the game. I got the ball in multiple precarious positions where it was actually impossible to get out of with the set of cards I had. It’s frustrating if it happens late into a run. The camera can be wonky in the indoor levels, and the aim prediction arrows just seem to straight-up lie sometimes.
At the same time, I’ve always found an inherent joy in many physics games. No matter how terrible I am at them. The cards and deckbuilding elevate that joy even higher. It’s one of those ideas that seems silly on paper, but it honestly works really well and adds a lot more substance to the game than it would have otherwise had.
Even with the limited variety, Golfie still manages to tick that little rogue-lite box that urges you to try and try again. Its swing is a little short right now, but I’m excited to see it grow, and that’s par for the course when it comes to an early access game.
More Reviews of Rogue-Lite Games
Pick Up Golfie from These Stores
- Steam Store
- Humble Bundle (Affiliate Link)
- Deckbuilding and rogue-lite elements mesh well with mini golf
- Combining cards for various shots is a lot of fun
- Some nice decision making based on when to push your luck for rewards versus going for the hole
- Repetitive elements set in fast, and the variety of cards is relatively small
- A few hiccups can be frustrating, such as the shot prediction being inaccurate
- The camera can be wonky