Golf Story is a role-playing sports game. You play a down-on-his luck golfer, trying to rekindle his passion for a sport that he hasn't played for 20 years.
Pro Golfing itself feels satisfying and controls incredibly well
The golfing itself comes together in a satisfying way that feels intuitive to control, easy to grasp, and just plain great when you see your carefully set up shot hit its target. Hitting the ball uses timed button presses to control things like accuracy and swing strength, making it a minigame in and of itself. You can also set the direction, arc, and spin of the ball for total control of each shot. Once you've got everything adjusted, you take your swing, watching the ball soar into the air.
Pro Lots of variety in the side quests will provide hours of fun
Running around the overworld, you'll run into a lot of NPCs who will ask you to perform sidequests that will put your skills to the test. They might ask you to hit a ball to a certain location, bounce it off something, complete timed events, or ask you to pick up golf balls in a maze. There are so many NPCs and so much variety in the activities that you will always have a fun way to take a break from the main story. Completing these objectives awards money, experience, and special items so it's always worth checking them out, and it's a great way to build up your skill for the main story courses.
Pro Includes interesting RPG elements that add a nice layer of depth
Completing quests for NPCs awards you with the staple role-playing currencies of choice - money and experience. Money is used to buy new golf clubs which provide interesting and unique bonuses, such as being able to curve your shots better, hit a ball further, or putt with more accuracy. Experience is used to level up your character's stats such as how far you can drive the ball, purity to help correct slices, accuracy, and more. There's a lot of different stats to keep an eye on and clubs to play around with, so it adds a nice layer of depth that should keep your RPG cravings satisfied.
Pro You can golf anywhere you want in the game world and in doing so possibly even unlock secrets
While you're out and about exploring and doing quests, you are free to drop a ball and take a swing anywhere in the game world for practice or just for fun. Golfing isn't just limited to courses and quests, meaning you can set goals for yourself like trying to hit a specific tree or shooting the golf ball over the heads of NPCs. This might unlock some bonus content, as various objects in the game world reward bonuses such as money, experience, and access to secret areas if you hit them with your golf ball. Between quests and courses, just start swinging your club and you may be surprised at what you can find.
Pro The approach to RPG elements is a novel spin never seen before in a golf game
Instead of shiny gear and weapons like standard RPGs, Golf Story chooses to equip you with a wide variety of different golf clubs that provide stat bonuses or unique effects like hitting a ball further or putting better. Rather than stats such as strength, stamina, and intellect, your character has a more golf focused skillset including slices, accuracy, and distance. It's a novel approach that combines golf with beloved RPG elements in a way that's never been done before.
Pro Charming 16 bit style
The pixel art graphics look like they came straight from the SNES era, which will be a huge plus to gamers who prefer a retro style. The tilesets are colorful and varied. Sprites are detailed, and are a definite nod to the days of old school gaming as they have a slight bounce when they walk. Animations are smooth and great to view, such as how a trail of changing colors appears behind the golf ball while it's in midair.
Pro Local multiplayer mode lets you compete against a friend
The local multiplayer mode allows you to go head-to-head against a friend on 9 hole course. Before the match, you can select the golf clubs you want to use, adjust course settings such as wind speed and slope, and choose to play on any course you have unlocked. It's a great way to continue to fun with a friend after you've completed the story mode, and you can play on the same device since it's turn based.
Pro Animated NPC dialogue boxes are a great touch
To convey the mood and emotion of each NPC, an animated dialogue box will appear over their head that grows, shrinks, tilts, and moves with their speech. For example, when they're angry the text is big and bold and the box may slightly wobble from side to side. It's executed extremely well, helping to draw you into the emotions of each NPC without the need for any voice acting.
Pro Humorous writing
While the premise of the story is simple - you are a guy trying to achieve your dream of becoming a golf pro - the humor in the actual writing is very apparent and there are more than a few laugh out loud moments. First of all, every NPC has their own creative way to put you down and insult your golf games, which results in some pretty funny dialogue. Nobody thinks can you make it as a pro, and they don't hold back with the insults.
Almost everything in the game is handled with a humorous spin. Whether it's the elitist trainer who gets overly upset every time you refer to the disc in disc golfing as a "frisbee", angry geese acting as a hazard on the course, hilarious rap battles revolving around golf with such lines as "shooting star / try shooting par / the tour don't play handicaps / brah", or trying to hit a kid in the ear with your golf ball to rescue him from alligators, the writing is unique and really stands out.
Con Story is not as great in the latter half of the game
While the story starts out pretty strong, having struggles, hardships, and general drama between characters, most of the problems get solved way too early, shifting focus to winning the golfing championship. As a result, the latter half of the game lacks the driving force of proving someone wrong or overcoming a trauma, so it might not feel as interesting.
Con Disc golfing minigame can be confusing
One of the minigames requires you to golf with a disc, and due to the controls, can tend be a bit on the confusing side. The disc can controlled in the air, but it responds to controls based on the way the disc is facing. For example, if the disc is facing south, pressing left will move the disc right. All in all, it just doesn't feel good to control since you will constantly be dealing with the way the disc faces in relation to the buttons you're pressing.
Con Slopes and hills are hard to see on the golf course
The game is 2D, so sometimes things like small hills and slopes on the golf courses are hard to see. This makes it hard to predict how your shot will roll or bounce once it lands on the ground, making for some unpredictable golfing.