Golf Club Wasteland Review
When I think about golf and post-apocalypse, I think about The Last of Us 2. Too soon?
Then there’s Golf Club Wasteland, which presents itself first as a satire of how the ultra rich has left Earth for Mars to build Tesla City and let the rest of the population die. Now, there are charted flights returning to Earth where the elite of the elite could enjoy rounds of golf.
You embody one of these privileged few who return to Earth and use what’s remained in the planet to play some rounds of golf as a way to relax from the oppressive grind of the dystopic corporate run city where everything is fully controlled and sanctions are meted out when you fall out of line.
Funny enough, Golf Club Wasteland doesn’t let you see what life is like on Tesla City, but the Radio Nostalgia that broadcasts via your helmet as you play your game narrates the future as such. As you proceed to play your not-so-average 34 holes, you realize that you’re not alone and there is a secret spectator watching you tee off in the post apocalyptic wasteland.
Not Your Average Golf Game
Golf games have been revised for a good few years now, with the biggest headliner being Nintendo Switch’s Mario Golf followed by an indie favorite What the Golf. Similar to What the Golf, Golf Club Wasteland follows the same formula of creating a unique environment to test out your 9 iron, but this time in a desolate planet devoid of human life.
Golf Club Wasteland is easy to get into – you aim and you shoot. You can change your angle with your left stick, shoot with the shoot button, and view the course with the right stick. No need to change your golf club, adjust for wind, or consult your caddy where to go for lunch that’s not the overpriced country club burger and fries.
As environments change, it’s quite amusing at first when you visit junkyards and old office buildings where you could use your golf balls to trigger switches, hop on elevators, and even break through office windows to make it to your par.
You also don’t really need to keep score like a proper golf game, whether you got a birdie or an eagle, unless you’re playing on Challenge or Iron modes. You can play Golf Club Wasteland on Story mode for the atmosphere and to progress the story.
It’s all about the world building
One thing that I have to say is that the world building is top notch. From the different courses that map out what’s left of a post-human Earth, Golf Club Wasteland will treat you to what’s left of the planet. Most animals have mutated to an albino state and even vegetation looks like it’s something from a Weird Tales magazine. It’s pretty funny that many of the offices and junkyards still hasn’t been ravaged by the changing ecology.
The best part of Golf Club Wasteland in my opinion is listening to Radio Nostalgia, the radio show on Mars that talks about real stories sanctioned by the corporation that runs Tesla City. You’ll hear different short stories on audio by humans on Mars and what their life was like when they were still on Earth before the Great Catastrophe and they range from darkly funny to heartbreaking.
The golfer’s diary also unlocks the more you get a good score and you complete his life story when you reach a certain par. It’s pretty intriguing how the golfer’s story grows and how much you sympathize with him as you progress through the game. At first you’d think, why am I playing one of the 1% who destroyed the world and gets to get away from it all? Then you’d realize, it’s not all it’s presented to be.
Not for the precision challenged
The game can be completed in two hours and if you love your golf challenges, you can keep coming back for more. However, I’m glad the game is two hours, because any longer than that makes the game overstay its welcome because the actual golfing is completely frustrating.
Playing on an Xbox Series X, it is difficult to hit precise shots. It’s difficult to gauge your angle as the hit box for choosing your required angle and power sways too freely. The lack of precision will just ruin your game especially in the middle levels where certain areas require some really precise targeting.
Some of the areas can really get frustrating. The game itself becomes a puzzle game in a way, where you have to figure out how to get the ball to the hole in the fewest shots possible. The puzzles are really easy in some areas but others will require precise shots, which is nigh-impossible because of the broken controls.
What we liked:
What we didn’t like:
Verdict: Wait for it
Golf Club Wasteland has an excellent premise with how it combined golf with the world and overall story. However, when the novelty ended, the frustrations just kept piling on top of each other because of the inefficient and broken controls.
If you’re in it for the story, you could just wear your headphones and let Radio Nostalgia play and bask in the lore without needing to play the game at all. After all, once you complete the story, all that’s left is a broken golf game.
I would love to see more of this world explored in another genre, be it a real time strategy game or another novelty indie game that allows the player to explore this world in its entirety. While what’s seen on Earth is interesting, I’m more interested in what’s happening in Tesla City, which played largely in my imagination and was not featured at all in the game.
Just like Haven, there was another story in the game that I could’ve been experiencing, but alas, what we’re left with is the frustrating mechanic that I did not enjoy at all.
*Golf Club Wasteland has been reviewed on an Xbox Series X with a review code provided by the publishers.