Golf Club: Wasteland is a simple, pretty and for the most part a chill game... until it turns annoying
Golf Club: Wasteland is a level-based minigolf game with a pretty art style and a gorgeous lo-fi soundtrack. Earth well, Earth is ruined (figures) so the ultra-rich left it in big spaceships setting up colonies all over Mars. Now, a complete wasteland, Earth has been turned into a golf course for the ultra-rich.
You play as Charlie, an astronaut who’s returned to his once beautiful planet to play one last golf game. There are a total of 35 levels, each one is unique and located in and around Earth. Some locations that I managed to spot were Berlin, Brussels, etc., mainly due to their famous landmarks being used as backgrounds for some of the courses.
The gameplay is really simple, as the only thing you get to do is aim your swing and well, take the swing (just swing?...IDK). Story mode allows you to take as many swings as you want to complete each level, while the Challenge and later Iron Man modes, limit the number of swings for each level. The levels or courses themselves start pretty easy, but as you progress through the game, they get a tad more complicated requiring you to carefully plan each shot so the ball lands where it needs to be. I have nothing against this system per se, but the issue stands with the uneven swing power and ball physics.
They do not feel all that consistent. Very often the ball will keep rolling without stopping and it’ll fall off a ledge or something. Other times, your swing power will be too much and you will overshoot a shot when a mere moments ago, that same power got the ball exactly where you hoped it did. Another thing that bothered me was the art style. While it’s often very pretty, when it comes to gameplay it makes things hard as you don’t really know what’s part of the level and what’s part of the background. Very often you’ll take a shot only to see the ball bounce back.
All of the things I just said, made playing this game into a chore and I really considered just stopping playing altogether as I wasn’t really enjoying the inconsistency. I would have stopped if it weren’t for Radio Nostalgia from Mars. I absolutely loved listening to the mix of lo-fi and poppy music, which by the way all songs absolutely slap, and to the calm, often chilling, listener stories that expanded more the backstory of what happened on Earth, how fubar everything went, and how life on Mars really is like. It's a really good story and I can't wait for the developers to expand it even more with the upcoming "sequel" The Cub that they just recently announced.
This, in my opinion, is the main reason why you should totally play the game, forget the subpar gameplay. Just buy the game, mainly to support the indie studio, start it and just put your controller down. Radio Nostalgia will start playing and it will continue to do so uninterrupted and you can just take everything in.
If you are looking for a great mini-golf game, I’m afraid that Golf Club: Wasteland on gameplay alone won’t cut it. Having said that, Radio Nostalgia from Mars and the pretty art style more than justify you taking a swing at this game. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a promo code provided by the publisher. Golf Club: Wasteland is out now for PC, Playstation, Xbox and Switch.