Review

Golf Club Wasteland Review – Interesting premise marred by frustrating controls

Not your average Golf game.
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Golf Club Wasteland Review

Speed Run
Speed run is our review format to take a look at smaller and shorter games out there that may deserve your time and money.

Again, we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that the game probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point, we suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future, unless you want to intentionally hurt yourself. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: September 3, 2021
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Genre: Sports Puzzler
  • Similar Games: Golf Story, What the Golf
  • Price: $9.99 or around PHP500

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 club wasteland review screenshot 1
Some existential sadboi things going on here…

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

golf club wasteland review screenshot 2
No, this game doesn’t have microtransactions…

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

golf club wasteland review screenshot 3
If the giraffe kicks it in, does that make it a bogey?

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:

  • The world building is creative and found a way to link golf with the overall story.
  • Radio Nostalgia is a certain piece of media from this game that can stand on its own and you don’t need the main gameplay to actually enjoy.
  • Skip function is convenient when you don’t feel like continuing a level.

What we didn’t like:

  • Controls are terribly calibrated, preventing precise shots.
  • Some levels require ultra precise shots to actually achieve a decent score.
  • Entire golfing experience could’ve been fun, but in the long run is frustrating.

Verdict: Wait for it

One-More-Game-Wait

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.

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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