Title: Cursed to Golf
Developer: Chuhai Labs
Release Date: August 18, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing
Brought to you by Chuhai Labs, Cursed to Golf sees you playing as a legendary Golfer. However, in the middle of a Golfing Tournament, lightning strikes him and turns him into a ghost as he awakens in Golf Purgatory. Here, he meets a Scotsman, who reveals a path to come back to life.
The Golfer must clear a purgatory golf tournament and beat various other cursed golfers. So he sets out to clear these eighteen courses with his special golf club or risk being cursed to reign in Golf purgatory forever.
Cursed to Golf sets you on eighteen randomly generated golf courses filled with obstacles designed to prevent you from reaching the hole of the level. Like other golf titles, players must hit the ball using two button presses, one to decide the strength and the other to determine how far the ball will go. However, that’s where the similarities end.
You’re equipped with the Golfer’s special golf club, which can be switched to one of three clubs Iron, wedge, or driver. The driver will hit your ball far while the wedge is for shorter distances. The Iron is between the two. These three clubs are helpful with getting past obstacles or for figuring out shortcuts to reach the hole, such as using the wedge to launch your ball over a pit.
You begin every level with five PAR Counts to get the ball into the hole. However, they’re idols found around the map that will increase the PAR. They’re two types of idols, gold and silver. The gold idol, upon being hit, will give you four extra PAR, while the silver idol will give you two.
During gameplay, you’ll obtain the ability to spin your ball so you can land it away from obstacles and onto a safe spot. To activate spin, you must repeatedly click when you hit your ball before pushing it in the direction you want it to go, such as left or right.
Ace cards are given to you by the Scotsman or by driving into chests throughout the Tournament. These can give you more turns or abilities to stop the ball mid-air or summon a ball that blows up TNT obstacles without wasting a turn.
However, due to poorly timed hits and obstacles, getting through each course isn’t easy, even with the ace cards. If you lose, you’re sent back to the bottom of the Tournament map and must restart the course from the beginning, losing the money you got in the process and some ace cards.
This can be pretty frustrating depending on how far you got in the Tournament, only for a setback to cause you to start from scratch. This is especially true if you lose after you accidentally hit a ball against a wall, and it bounces right back to your position.
Completing a level grants coins, which you can spend at Eterni-tee, a store owned by the Scotsman where you can buy new ace cards. You can also put on new costumes, some of which are references to other video game characters, along with card binders that you can use to store some ace cards and prevent them from being lost when you lose a level.
You can use an online scoreboard to check other scores outside the store. In addition, each stop at Eterni-tee contains a training area known as the Driving Range, where you can practice techniques for those who wish to test new abilities.
Course obstacles include hazards like sand pits that require you to use only the wedge to get out of or bushes that will cause your ball to slow down upon impact. The main purpose of these hindrances is to slow down your approach to the hole. Other obstacles that can be found are lakes and TNT, which are always placed in a way that can easily cause you to lose a turn.
On the other hand, some obstacles help you get past a level, such as fans or teleporters that can bring your ball from one part of the level to the other. Beware when using teleporters, though, as some of them can take you further away from the goal. There’s a helpful camera mode known as the birdie-eye, which allows you to see the entire level so you can plan out what you want to do and how you want to get past a certain obstacle.
Some of the courses contain curses that activate after a few turns, such as rain that will cause the course to become more slippery and for your ball to bounce further than you intended, or the game preventing you from throwing your ball in a certain direction for a limited amount turns before a new curse begins.
Cursed to Golf has unique 8-bit music that fits well with the creepy sporty atmosphere; it also fits with the intensity of some levels as you try to reach your hole. In addition, the pixel visuals provide a darkly colorful experience as you navigate the courses.
Sadly, Cursed to Golf has a multitude of glitches, and the gameloop comes off as wildly unfair. The haphazard nature of the generated courses makes small mistakes frustrating as you are sent back with little to no incentives to keep you coming back. The game comes off as a novelty that you’ll play a few times, but progress is lost so easily that your time never feels rewarded. There’s a decent level of challenge, but too much feels like it’s fighting against you on your road to revival that you can’t help but want to play something else.
Cursed to Golf has so many good ideas that never truly come together. I never really cared about the story; all I was left with was a zany roguelike golf game. Random glitches aside, I could help but feel cheated no matter how much time I invested. Still, it’s undeniably clever, and the puzzle nature of the courses have you mastering your form to get through purgatory as quickly as possible.
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