Any regular readers of Geeky Hobbies will know that I am a big fan of games with unique premises. It is hard to beat a game that does something truly unique. I have played a lot of different indie video games, and I can confidently say I have never played one like Golfie before. How did the creators even come up with the idea of combining a golf game with a roguelike deckbuilder? Golfie’s combination of mini golf with a roguelike deckbuilder is not something I ever expected to see, but it works a lot better than I ever expected.
At its most basic level, Golfie is your basic golf/mini golf game. In each game you will be playing a different randomly generated 18 hole course. You need to get your golf ball into the hole within a designated number of shots. The shooting mechanic is similar to most golf games. You pull back on the ball to aim your shot and to apply power. When you are ready to shoot, you just let go and the ball is shot.
Golfie is not your typical golf game though due to a couple of factors. First the game is a roguelike. You will begin each run with an amount of energy. This energy is basically your health points. If you hit the ball out of bounds or into a water trap, you lose an energy point. You will also lose one energy for each stroke over par that you go on a hole. Should you run out of energy, your run ends immediately. Your score for the run is then tallied based on how many holes your were able to complete, how many coins you collected, and a number of other factors. The game keeps a global leaderboard for scores which you can compare your score against.
On top of this Golfie features a deckbuilding mechanic. For each shot you will begin with a basic shot. This shot doesn’t have a lot of power behind it, and there are no other benefits. To supplement this you will get to play a number of cards to add to your shot. Some cards give you more power, allow you to shoot the ball higher into the air, make your shot curve more, and a bunch of other twists to how the ball ultimately moves. At the beginning of each turn you will receive a number of cards. You can play as many of these cards as you want to further alter your shot. Each card has a cost though, which will limit how many cards that you can play.
You will acquire new abilities and cards throughout each game. Hitting certain objects in the environment will either give you a new card or ability. You can also collect coins laying around each hole. These coins can be used in vending machines to purchase new abilities or cards.
When I first saw Golfie, I was immediately intrigued. As a fan of games that try something new, how could I not be interested in checking out a game that combined golf, deckbuilding, and roguelike mechanics? I was curious how the game would end up playing though. The three main mechanics don’t share a whole lot in common after all. Because of this I was honestly a little skeptical about how Golfie would play. Despite the combination being unorthodox, it works a lot better than I was expecting.
I am not sure why, but the three main mechanics actually work surprisingly well together. The core of the game is very similar to your typical golf/mini golf game. There is a lot more to Golfie than just a normal golf game though. Your normal shot is pretty weak where you can’t rely on it very often. A number of obstacles will likely get in your way as well. Therefore you need to figure out how to use the cards to your advantage. At first these powers are pretty straightforward as they mostly just add speed to your shot, give you some lift, or give a bigger curve to your shot. As you advance in the game though, you get considerably more powerful cards. For example you can use a parachute on your ball when it is over the hole to make it slowly drop to the ground and hopefully directly into the hole.
Golfie is not your typical golf game. You still need to aim well and apply the right amount of power to make your shots. To do your best at each hole though, you need to figure out how to best use these other abilities. It takes some time to adjust to the gameplay of Golfie. The time is worth it though when you make a truly impressive shot utilizing multiple different cards at the same time. There is some luck to the game, as the cards you are dealt for each shot can make a difference. Much of your success will come from how you choose to utilize those cards though. It might be kind of silly/wacky, but it works a lot better than I ever expected.
Like a lot of roguelike games, Golfie relies a lot of risk versus reward. You ultimately want to avoid shooting the ball into water hazards and off the course as you don’t want to lose energy. At the same time you need to move towards the hole quick enough that you don’t go over par. If you just focus on getting the ball into the hole in time, you should be able to finish a lot of the holes without a ton of trouble as you are usually given enough strokes where you don’t have to take really risky shots.
This is not necessarily the best option though. You need to take risks at times. Your score will suffer if you only focus on finishing each hole while ignoring everything else. You need to take risks occasionally in order to acquire better cards and abilities. Without these you will have a much harder time with the more difficult levels. To do well in the game you really need to balance between taking thing slowly/carefully, and taking smart risks to help you in the future.
I ultimately really enjoyed Golfie. I wouldn’t say that I am the biggest fan of golf video games, but I do occasionally enjoy playing them. On the surface most golf games don’t really differ all that much. Things are quite a bit different when it comes to Golfie. The game feels a lot like a normal golf game, but there is also more to the game. It is quite satisfying when you can make a difficult shot utilizing the various abilities that you have available to you.
As for the game’s difficulty I would say that it is kind of mixed. The game itself is pretty straightforward. You just drag and drop the cards that you want to play, and then pull back on the ball to aim and shoot it. If you have ever played a mini golf video game before, much of the game will feel second nature.
Utilizing the cards well does require some skill though. There is a learning curve to becoming good at the game. As you get better at utilizing the different abilities, you will get better at the game. I have played a number of rounds and have yet to complete all eighteen holes. I think the furthest I have gotten is hole eleven or twelve. Eventually I will be able to complete all eighteen holes. Then the challenge will become trying to improve my score. Golfie provides enough challenge to keep people interested, while still being easy to play. Don’t expect to be great at the game right away though.
Having just entered Early Access today, Golfie is already a pretty enjoyable game. If the premise intrigues you at all, I think you will really enjoy the game. There are a couple areas where the game could be improved though.
First it can be a little hard at times to tell how a ball will move after you shoot it. The game does give you a general idea of where the ball will move and how much power you are applying to it when you are preparing to shoot. This is generally pretty accurate and makes it pretty easy to aim your shots. The problem is that sometimes the ball doesn’t seem to completely follow the estimated path that the game gives you. This can sometimes lead to missed shots where you end up shooting the ball out of bounds. As you are preparing your shot, I wish the game would allow you to add and remove cards at will so you can see how they would impact your shot.
The other issue with the game is just that I wish there was a little more variety. For a game that just entered Early Access it is pretty impressive how much there is already in the game. The whole game is completely playable at this time. The level creator seems a little limited though. A lot of this seems to be due to the number of pieces available for the automatic generator to utilize. Each run will give you completely different holes to play. Most of the levels that are created work quite well where they feel like real holes.
After playing a few rounds though, I started to see elements being used quite often. This kind of feels like you are playing recycled holes instead of new ones. They are still fun, but a little more variety in the pieces used to create the levels would be appreciated. The good news is that this seems like one of the big emphases of Early Access. I am interested to see how much variety the developers add to the course creation element of the game. With enough new elements, eventually you could have a basically endless number of different levels.
The holes can feel a little same-y at times, but I was otherwise pretty impressed by the replay value of the game. Golfie doesn’t really have a story/campaign mode. In each round of golf you are just trying to beat your previous high score. Outside of the main mode, there is also a daily challenge which allows you to compete against other players. In the future the game is expected to add a multiplayer mode along with a number of other modes. At this time you will get most of your replay value out of just trying to beat your previous high score. With some more modes and options for the levels, I think Golfie could have quite a bit of replay value.
When I first heard about Golfie it immediately caught my attention. How could I not pay attention to a game that combined golfing mechanics with a roguelike deckbuilder? The concept is such a unique idea unlike anything that I had ever played before. Despite it being an odd combination of mechanics, it actually works a lot better than I expected. The game can be kind of silly, but it works. There is a learning curve, but it is really satisfying when you utilize your cards to make a really difficult shot. There is genuine skill to the game as you try to complete a hole in less shots while also picking up more coins, cards, and abilities. I had a lot of fun playing Golfie. At times it is a little hard to tell how the ball is going to move once you release your shot, but in time you adjust to it. While the levels are randomly generated, they do get a little repetitive after a while though. I am guessing this will improve with further updates.
If you don’t really care for golf games or the premise of adding in a roguelike deckbuilder, I don’t know if Golfie will be the game for you. If Golfie’s premise intrigues you though, I think you should seriously consider picking it up as you will likely really enjoy the game.
Release Date: Early Access – May 26th, 2022 | Systems: PC
Developer: Triheart Studio | Publisher: Yogscast Games | ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Genres: Deckbuilder, Indie, Roguelike, Sports
Official Website: https://www.triheart.dk/
- A truly original idea of combining mini golf, deckbuilding, and roguelike mechanics.
- Works surprisingly well leading to a fun game that requires quite a bit of skill.
- Sometimes it is hard to tell where a ball will ultimately land when you release your shot.
- The randomly generated levels can feel a little same-y at times.
Recommendation: For those who think the idea of a mini golf game being combined with a roguelike deckbuilder sounds interesting.
Where to Purchase: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Triheart Studio and Yogscast Games for the review copy of Golfie used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.