For the longest time, video games were seen as an alternative to sports. Many still view them that way. That’s why we’ve seen developers create multiple series of sports games across all platforms. Most range from professional to street sports, but others have taken it upon themselves to make up sports or put a spin on an existing one. The latter route was taken by the minds at Triheart Studios with their work-in-progress sports game Golfie. While mini-golf is not the most serious sport, it’s still fun and challenging in its own way. Now that rogue-lite elements have been introduced, however, it’s possible to take the sport in a few interesting directions.
A Different Golf Club
What all sports games seem to share is that there’s no real story behind them. You control players or a team, customize them as you want, and then try to win as many games as possible. Whether you’re playing against the computer or other players, you’re striving to win. In Golfie, you’re playing against the game, and the idea is to get the ball in the hole in as few hits as possible. Your job is to use powers and strategy to beat each course and try to become a mini-golf master.
On The Ball
Both in sports and in life in general, you wanna be on the ball. Golfie is just that, mainly due to the overall feel of it. Being based around mini-golf, it makes use of a lot of rounded shapes and vibrant colors. The courses are located in a variety of places from floating islands in the sky to tunnels in the earth. It creates its own mini-golf atmosphere which is both simple and wacky. The collectibles are also a nice little sprinkling on this enjoyable activity.
Then there’s how the rogue-lite elements come into play. Golfie combines two established aspects of the genre: random number generation (RNG) and cards. You start off each course with a hand of several cards which you can activate in between hits. Cards have varying effects from how hard you can hit the ball to how small you can make it. If you get duplicates or cards you’re not interested in, just discard and draw anew. You can also stack card effects to hit the ball as wildly and majestically as possible. Even if it doesn’t go towards the hole, it can still make quite the spectacle.
It’s important to note that this is a pleasant and low-maintenance game. Yes, it is a sports game where you’re trying to get the best score, but there’s nothing pressuring you to do it. You’re able to play as you want and spend time experimenting with cards and just taking in the view. It’s a relaxing way to unwind after a long day of work or saving the world from grotesque alien invaders from another dimension.
Taking Strokes Off
Since Golfie is still in the midst of development, there’s still room for improvement. While the graphics are nice for the time being, they definitely need some more refinement. Overall, it could stand to look a bit sharper and more solid with a greater range of colors, especially with the card effects.
With the cards, there’s always room for more variety. The current decks have a decent amount of variety with the expected power-ups that feel good to use, but there could be more. Mini-golf already carries the context of wacky fun, so this is an opportunity to take advantage of that. The power-ups could be made in such a way that courses could be designed to be all over the place. Since you’re expected to use the cards to get past even the smallest of obstacles, they should be the star of the sport.
Finally, there’s room to put in some challenges. The relaxed nature of the game is good, but it’s also good to have something to shoot for a sense of accomplishment. While the main goal will always be trying to get the ball in the hole way under par, the presence of rogue-lite elements can add a whole list of stars to aim for.
Expect the mini-golf rogue-lite Golfie to come to your screen at some point in the future. It’s definitely a fun game so far, offering a wild twist on an already entertaining sport. There’s still room for improvement, of course, but since there’s no release date just yet, the team at Triheart still have time to refine the experience. And once you start playing, you may be tempted to hear the hole story.
This preview is based on the current Golfie early playtest. To request access to the playtest, check out the Golfie page on Steam.