I am very much a smorgasbord-type gamer, I can find something to play in every genre out there. There are a few genres that I prefer playing, and one of those are golf games, I absolutely LOVE golf games. I can get tonnes of enjoyment out of at least 90% of the golf games out there, from the serious sims like the long-running PGA Tour franchise to the goofier novelty entries like Ninja Golf on the Atari 7800 and everything in between. So when I heard about a golf game featuring 20-story-tall robots playing the world’s biggest golf tournament, I jumped at the chance to try it out. While not the eagle I wished it could have been, 100ft Robot Golf at least parred the hole.
100ft Robot Golf: Playstation 4 [Reviewed], PlayStation VR
Developer: No Goblin
Publisher: No Goblin
Release Date: 10 October 2016
Price: $19.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
When I first started up the Campaign mode where the lion’s share of the game’s content is, I was impressed with the set-up. Instead of just a game-to-game career mode like most sports games, this one plays out like a serialised anime. With the art style and focus on the behind-the-scenes antics with the league, I was reminded of the many sports-based animes like Ookiku Furikabutt. The voice-work during the cutscenes range from passable to outright bad for the various characters, however, the worst part of the audio belongs to the announcers. While their voices are serviceable, the writing is poor and the vast majority of their play-by-play commentary consists of terribly lame jokes that are repeated constantly. I ended up having to mute the voices after only a couple of rounds.
The game takes the concept of giant robots playing golf and gloriously runs with it. None of the individual courses reach the full 18 holes, but each of the holes offered with 100ft Robot Golf is completely unique. Some of the holes are about the length of a standard Par-5 (about 500 yards), and some are about three miles long. There are also holes in the ocean and on the moon complete with weakened gravity; two-mile-long drives off the tee are almost unavoidable. There is even plenty of destructibility across the courses. Is a skyscraper blocking your shot? Swing your club and knock it down! While I do wish more holes were in the game, the ones here are a blast to play.
Experimenting with the eleven mechs available is a real joy. While all of the mechs have the same clubs (the driver, one wedge, and a putter) and are equal in terms of ability (no one mech can out-drive any other), they have differences beyond their looks. Each mech has its own unique shot mechanics. For example, one mech goes by standard power and accuracy meters familiar to anyone who plays Hot Shots Golf, one mech uses precise pressure on the left and right triggers to get straight shots, and one uses three accuracy spinners like a slot machine. It was a lot of fun to experiment with each mech’s set-up. They can also be customised with numerous colour schemes and special golf balls, more of which can be obtained during the career mode by cashing in medals earned for good play. Unfortunately, a couple of the mechs are so large that they can block your view when attempting to putt; there needed to be an ability to make them transparent for moments like those.
Being a long-time fan of golf games, I can be a harsh judge of gameplay mechanics. The physics are my biggest sticking point when I rate golf games, to me, they either have to be true-to-life or enjoyably exaggerated. For the most part, the physics in this one are okay and realistic physics can’t be expected when the average driver can reach two miles. That said, there were points that drove me crazy even with the fantasy factored in. The reduced gravity environments make controlling the roll almost impossible; I saw several shots roll out-of-bounds after hitting the fairway on one of the underwater holes. Hitting one of the mountains on the Asian holes the wrong way could see your ball bounce a thousand yards in the wrong direction or roll back to lies that are frustratingly difficult to escape. While there are no lies that are not salvageable, there are moments that can frustrate to the point of throwing your controller as if it were a 9-iron.
Multiplayer is available here like any golf game worth its salt. Up to four players can play local or online, and I didn’t experience any performance issues with the split-screen play. [Disclosure: I was unable to test the online play as there were no online matches available anytime I tried to start one.] however, the multiplayer had major misses that would infuriate any golf purist. While there are plenty of modes involving racing to be the first to sink a putt, there were no options to play based on the number of strokes. I even tried to start turn-based stroke play, and the match still ended with the first putt sunk, giving an arbitrary five-over-par to the remaining player. The lack of a “purist” option turned me away from the multiplayer immediately, killing its longevity once the Campaign mode is finished.
100ft Robot Golf is one of the goofier takes on golf that I had played, even compared to Ninja Golf and CyberTiger which I reviewed for the Defunct Games Golf Club this year, and it’ll probably be goofier than the golf games I’ll review for Season 2. However, it had a great premise and some great gameplay taking advantage of that premise. It won’t replace The Golf Club or Rory McIlroy PGA Tour on my playlist, and I know die-hard golf purists will absolutely hate it. However, it is worth loading up when you’re in the mood for something far less serious. No Goblin scored an even par here.