What The Golf‘s hook is simple: golf for people who don’t like golf. But the game’s actually hiding an even bigger secret: dad jokes.
What The Golf caught people’s attention when the first reveal dropped because it does something all great games do: they take an idea, or mechanic, that people know well, and turn it on its head.
Rather than being a game about golf, What The Golf is a physics game using the principle of golf as a mechanic. It’s also quickly apparent that the whole idea of the game is to have a laugh, by playing a whole range of mini-levels that have bugger all relation to golf.
Each level takes less than a minute to complete – sometimes only a few seconds, particularly early on – and at the end of each level, you’re given a short one or two word message that riffs on what you just finished.
After becoming accustomed to the physics of the golf ball, for instance, you’re introduced to a soccer ball. Shooting the ball into a goal gets you a message that says “GOAL”.
Then you get a set of goal posts – which you have to fire off in the direction of another set of goal posts.
The reward for winning: GOAL GOAL.
Sometimes the gags are visual. You’ll go from a 3D perspective to a 2D level. One level had me trying to navigate the mechanics of latching onto objects (instead of just launching a golf ball forward), and then another gave me an athlete hurdling their way to the finish line. Which was also a flag.
I’m ruining the punch lines here, and the lack of difficulty in the levels might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But What The Golf is meant to be a simple, light-hearted experience. The puns at the end of each level are prime Dad joke material.
Obviously, that’s not for everyone. But it’s well suited for phones, and most people should be able to have some good laughs with What The Golf when it launches early next year*. For more info, head to the game’s Steam page.
Update: Just got a note that What the Golf will launch early next year. I’ve updated the article.
The author travelled to Gamescom as a guest of Nvidia.