Platform: PS4 (tested), Xbox One, PC and mobile
Released: August 2018
Golf games usually fall into two categories. The ones that go for simulation and use an analogue stick to track movement and the arcade ones that use a bar and either button presses or gauges to play golf. Dog Gone Golfing does the later and is on the surface at least one of the most simple to get into golf games around.
Your doggo of choice will have some stats about their power and luck and instead of a gold ball you have an ice puck to whack across the screen. You can let loose over a single player campaign of 20 tournaments with 8 courses and 18 holes in each. Each hole is a single screen long and very simple looking in its retro graphics, reminding me of a master system and commodore love child. Controls are simple too. You use the d-pad to press left or right to adjust your power between a value of 0 and 100 and then you have a choice of two shots each having a slightly different trajectory and bounce.
The fact you are whacking an ice puck is a big change because you don’t hit it into the air – it slides. The terrain around you is what flicks the puck into the air and much of your early gameplay will be working out how each type of incline or decline affects your puck. There’s maths to it but there’s still an element of luck involved, particularly when your on an edge as to whether you’ll slide off the cliff or not. Soon though, courses have ponds, holes, meteors, animals, lava and wind – all of which will cause you trouble. Get it right and you’ll get a little dance and a dog pun, get it wrong and you’ll be furious with yourself.
In terms of gameplay, Dog Gone Golfing is a blast but there’s a few weird quirks that mar the overall experience. Once you’ve completed a hole in single player, you can’t play it again which currently means you can only play the single player experience once. You can’t replay the level to better your score which seems bizarre. You’ll be left with the random hole practice mode and the 2 player only skins mode. There’s also a mode where you can play levels back to back to see how many you can get par (or paw) in a row. It feels like it’s missing so many tricks with this limited delivery for things that should be there as standard. Why only two players? It’s a simple pass and play mechanic and there’s 6 dogs to choose from – it doesn’t make sense.
- Easy to pick up and difficult to master
- Physics feel sturdy and trustworthy
- DOG PUNS!
- Perfect for short bursts of gaming
- Single player crammed with content but you can’t replay it
- Limited multiplayer options despite its appeal
Dog Gone Golfing is a great game that has some really weird design choices that make it less of a game to immediately recommend. It’s simple and fun to play and there’s plenty to enjoy though if you can look passed those choices though.