«

»

Golf Peaks review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform:  Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: 7Levels
Developer: Afterburn
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

As someone who’s always liked the idea of golf games much more than actually playing golf games, I have to say that Golf Peaks really appeals to me. There’s no worrying about wind currents, no figuring out which clubs to use in which situations, no guessing which way the greens curve: it’s just you, the ball, the cup, and a few obstacles.

Of course, all of this points to Golf Peaks’ not-so-dirty little secret: it’s not really a golf game, but rather a puzzle game that just happens to be kind of similar to golf.

I mean, yes, the object of the game is to get the ball in the hole. And to do so, you have to figure out the right approach, which includes taking into account how hard to hit the ball, and where the sand traps and water hazards are.

But all of that is window dressing. At the beginning of each level — sorry, each “hole” — you have a set number of shots, and each of them go a specific difference. As the game progresses, you get more and more obstacles, and you have to figure out how to incorporate them into your playthrough: do you intentionally hit the ball into the sand trap in order to get a more direct line to the hole? Will hitting the ball off a bouncy spot give it the lift it needs to get over an empty space? There are all kinds of variables at play, and even if they’re occasionally borrowed from the game of golf, the way they’re utilized is pure puzzle game.

The game is also wonderfully forgiving. It makes rewinding through levels a breeze, so even when you screw up, you can go back step by step to see where you messed up.

From an aesthetic perspective, Golf Peaks is incredibly pleasing. Every level is contained on a single screen, and your available shots are all laid out at the bottom, all of which makes it wonderfully minimalist. The score continues in this vein as well, with meditative music that never intrudes too much, but makes it easy to concentrate on the task in front of you.

In that respect, I guess, Golf Peaks isn’t that far removed from actual golf, given that people always rave about how great the sport is for being calm and zen and whatnot. While I can’t speak to that, never having been anywhere more than a mini-putt place, I can confirm that Golf Peaks is just as good for getting you into a zen puzzle zone, too.

7Levels provided us with a Golf Peaks Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-