The Golf Club (HB Studios)

The Golf Club (HB Studios)

Facebook
Like The Golf Club on Facebook

Twitter 
Follow The Golf Club on Twitter

Website
Check out the official
The Golf Club Website

Discussion
Give the developers feedback on the Steam Discussion Page

Purchase
Buy your Early Access copy on the Steam Store page 

With Electronic Arts dominating the sports genre with their licensed titles I was surprised to see The Golf Club from HB Studios entering Steam Early Access a while back. The genre could definitely use some competition, but the question was whether anything would be able to match up to the might of Electronic Arts. I only had to play a few rounds in The Golf Club to find the answer.

The Golf Club is a unique entry in the sports game category that doesn’t try to emulate the sport on a professional simulation level, but instead focuses on what makes golf so fun and relaxing. This means that instead of spectators and sponsorships you are given procedurally generated courses and a very chilled commentator. There is no in-game economy, no player progression or leveling up and nothing that has to be “unlocked” through play. While some players might consider the omission of these features a loss, it actually ensures that the focus of the game is on having fun and improving through practice, not grinding.

I’ve mentioned enough things that the game doesn’t have, so let’s look at the things that are there. Firstly, for an Early Access title it is pretty complete and apart from some optimization issues it feels like you are playing a finished title. There are zero loading times between courses which is mightily impressive and the physics feel pretty much spot-on. Instead of going the swing meter or power bar route the developers have opted for a more visceral approach using the analog sticks on a controller. Pulling back to raise the club and then flicking the analog stick forward to smack the ball feels natural and while not everyone is a fan of this type of control scheme it works well. Playing with a keyboard and mouse is also supported, of course, but using a controller just feels better.

The thing that sets The Golf Club apart from other golfing titles, apart from the heavy social focus, is the procedurally generated courses. The game features a selection of pre-designed courses, but you can generate new ones in a matter of seconds. The course editor also allows you to get your hands dirty and really customize your own courses by altering the terrain and meticulously placing all the objects if you so wish. It’s quite impressive and a user rating system allows players to assign a score to the courses they have played making it easier to find the really good stuff.

The Early Access version we played featured local multiplayer for up to four players as well as online multiplayer. When playing online you can take turns with other players or simply play simultaneously against the stored ghosts of players. With the amount of courses that are already available you can spend hours taking part in tournaments or tours without getting bored.

The Golf Club doesn’t have the same level of character customization seen in other sporting titles, but you can change the appearance of your golfer. Just don’t expect to see any branded clothing making an appearance. Overall the visuals of the game are really solid and some of the courses look downright beautiful. The audio is very mellow and low key while the commentator is quite laid back as I’ve mentioned earlier.

If you are a fan of golf and want a game that recreates the relaxed club atmosphere of the sport, then you will want to get your hands on this game. The developers have been updating the game steadily and it has just been getting better and better. There is a lot more to praise about the game, but we will save that for the full review when the game leaves Early Access. If you are eager to jump in and enjoy some great golfing action though, this Early Access version already features everything you need.

This preview is based on the Early Access Version 1.0 of the game.

Related posts

The Sandbox (Pixowl Inc.)

After already impressing players on iOS and Android, The Sandbox has made the leap to the PC and is available as an Early Access title interestingly enough. This shows that the developers are not just treating the PC version as a quick port and are willing to listen to player feedback in order to deliver a good game.

Victor Vran (Haemimont Games)

Victor Vran (Haemimont Games)

If you are looking for an action RPG that is fast, fun and doesn’t get bogged down in endless stats you will enjoy Victor Vran. It also looks like the developers are pulling out all the stops to make this a game that fans will enjoy and you can provide feedback or report bugs from within the game to help with the development. There has been some great role playing titles released for PC lately and Victor Vran is definitely shaping up to be one of them.

Wrack (Final Boss Entertainment)

Wrack is an arcade style first person shooter that provides you with plenty of guns, aliens to use them on and then lets you get on with the fun. It is also a game that doesn't believe in weapon carry limits, hiding behind cover or regenerating health. The result is a lean and mean shooter that doesn't get bogged down in scripted sequences or boring quick time events.

Press X to Not Die

Press X to Not Die

Combining quick time events with nothing more than full motion videos sound like a recipe for disaster and yet Press X Not To Die is way more fun than it has any right to be. Designed to be a throwback to the “interactive movie” titles of the early 90s, the game throws you headfirst into what seems to be a zombie apocalypse. The whole town is in chaos, people are viciously attacking each other and the only advice you got from a friend before he is murdered is to “press X not to die.”

Caromble! (Crimson Owl Studios)

Caromble! (Crimson Owl Studios)

Fancy a rather destructive take on the brick break genre? Well, Caromble from Crimson Owl Studios has got you covered. The five members that make up this talented team of Dutch indie developers have apparently been working on the game for a few years already while also juggling other jobs, so clearly they are committed to getting it right!

Vertiginous Golf (Kinelco & Lone Elk Creative)

Vertiginous Golf (Kinelco & Lone Elk Creative)

What better way to leave the drudgery of a dark, rainy, smog filled Victorian world behind, than to up stakes and live in the sunny skies above the clouds. This is exactly what the rich elite of Vertiginous Golf do. This is all thanks to the power of the Vertiginous Levitation System, which the poor workers back on the ground have to maintain. As a reward for their service, the workers are allowed to experience the wonders of the Vertiginousphere, albeit from a virtual perspective only.

Leave a comment

2 × three =