2D golf and retro golf games are often much simpler and more exacting games to play than the current iteration of golf games that require more dexterity to play. Art of Golf is a minimalistic and beautiful looking golf game which is all about getting the arc and power right across 1,500 holes. Its a game that markets itself as a relaxing game but I found it anything but relaxing and this is largely a good thing…
Every hole in Art of Golf takes place across a single screen. You’ll line up your shot and adjust your power with two arcs on screen and then tap a button to swing. You don’t need dexterity but you do need to look at the terrain and factor in the games physics. After the first few introductory holes, the course design starts to play a sadistic little game. Place the cup at the edge of a cliff? Why not. How about half way up a mountain? Check. How about next to craggy terrain that means you’ll bounce over the hole and roll off the screen. Oh yes. Art of Golf chews you up and spits you out and toys with the player. The physics are fair and usually very stable and because a golf ball will react to tiny angle differences in the terrain, this all makes sense. Its just each and every hole starts to really tease you with it.
Thankfully, you can try and push your way through without too much of a barrier to unlocking more content and this really helps calm the difficulty curve down. Journey mode just asks you to get the ball in the cup which is a nice introduction to the game and it showcases the lovely pastel graphics, light effects, water shimmer and graceful birds in the background. If the game clicks in journey mode, you’ve got absolutely tons to do outside of that mode where you’ll be held more accountable for skill and accuracy.
There are a few hundred holes dedicated to golf, broken up into themed backgrounds. You’ll be golfing across mountains, lakes, sunsets and dropping shots as you roll off the screen or get stuck in giant crevasses. In the end, I found my skill couldn’t quite handle the later areas and so I turned to Sports mode and here is where I found Art of Golf’s fun side. Altering the physics and tweaking the goal, the golf ball is swapped out for various other sport equipment. Footballs are larger but floatier. American Football asks you to score through the high gates. Hockey slides along like everything is on ice and requires you to get the puck in the low net. Then we have the glorious bowling and kubb where you’ll be knocking over pins and blocks like an Angry Birds variant. A particular stand out was the disc golf as the physics are graceful but incredibly addictive to get right. There are also some playful minigames like golfing on the moon which add to the fun.
I honestly spent more time playing all the sports and minigame variants than the standard golf mode. The variations of physics and tweaks to the objective was enough to keep me coming back for more. Online leaderboards also keep you coming back as you aim for getting as many holes in one as you can for each course. I did come across a couple of minor bugs where the game became non responsive and I’d have to quit out and start again but hopefully this will be sorted for launch.
Art of Golf sells itself as a relaxing game but actually it has a sadistic streak and that may annoy as well as make you smash restart and try again. I found largely that I wanted to meet the challenge head on and I’d rather take a trickier 2D golf game that takes time to master rather than have a game that you can play with your eyes closed. Whilst I’d wish there was a pass and play local multiplayer mode, I’d recommend this for the sports mode alone. There you’ll be less teed off if you get it wrong.
Review copy provided by developer. Art of Golf is out on Steam.
Art of Golf
Tougher than it sells itself to be and with tons of content to work through. A nifty addition to the golf club.
So many variants - with Sports mode being a particular stand out.
Physics are relatively stable so long as you pay attention to the ground!
Looks absolutely beautiful.
Lack of pass and play local multiplayer feels like an obvious miss.
Some of the courses are little too tricky too early on and when a game markets itself as relaxing, that doesn't feel quite right!
Higher Plain Games is part of the Higher Plain Network. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. There are additional perks for supporting me, such as behind-the-scenes content and downloads. You can also share the website or use the affiliate buy now links on reviews. Buying credit from CD Keys using my affiliate link means I get a couple of pence per sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. Thank you.