There is the kind of drama that has distressing plot reveals and twists. Then there's Golf Story's brand of raw drama — delivered through hysterical dialogue, rap battles, and geese.
In 2017, who knew an indie title about an underdog's rise in a pro golf circuit could be so compelling? Golf Story, the Nintendo eShop sports game with RPG elements, is full of heart. It isn't simply a sports story, however. Among other things, it also manages to pack in an occult subplot, disc-throwing jerks, sausage rolls, and a series of funny and dramatic events. The odd combination to all its parts makes Golf Story a game that's charming and extraordinarily unique.
It's also a game that hasn't made me feel this sorry for a protagonist in a really long time.
Golf Story succeeds as an in-depth golf game. It is serious about the sport as seen through the golfing terms and moves crammed into its lexicon and gameplay. Slopes, wind speeds, golf club types, deep rough — the list goes on. As a non-golfing aficionado, the game can make your head spin. Thankfully, it's also accessible and fun, even if challenging in parts.
Where Golf Story truly shines for me, however, is in its very witty writing. This game really sells just how down-and-out your character is.
Take a look at the bullying he endures:
It's not enough to fail at disc-throwing. Judgment comes swift and harsh.
Not too bad, right? Well, it is actually. These disc-throwing characters are incredibly rude, all the time.
Then there's the rap battle your guy gets dragged into, which was way too fierce:
Behold at all that golfing knowledge the youngin's dropped on the elderly folk.
Oh snap! Looks like the old people can handle themselves. Respect.
No one deserves to be embroiled in a fight of such magnitude.
The touching beginning to the game makes the harsh comedic tongue-lashings and treatment of the protagonist all the more painful. In its first moments, which also acts as the game's tutorial, Golf Story shows a past memory of our young character learning and enjoying golf with his dad. As with almost every other moment in this golf game, humour interrupts the quiet scene when angry geese flock to the golf course in a sausage roll debacle. They act as obstacles which gives Golf Story a clever, comical way to teach the game's mechanics.
The story of the boy and his father playing golf together is the driving force behind our protagonist's every action. It's a simple set up to be sure, but one that allows players to root for him, especially as so many NPCs rag on his skills as the game progresses.
But if you're unconvinced that our golfing hero does not deserve your sympathy, check out the drama which unfolds involving his estranged wife:
Oh. Oh no.
Tobias is her boyfriend and definitely not your character. Damn.
Golf Story is extremely ridiculous. It's also incredibly dramatic, even if overly so. Although delivered with comedy and played for laughs, the drama is real.
Alright, not really. Not all the time. But it's a surprising indie game that did wonders to blend its bizarre and amusing moments with some real heartfelt ones that made its protagonist so relatable and pathetic.
OK...he's not always a saint but hey, let he who is,
cast slice the first fiery golf ball.