GAME REVIEW | "Cursed to Golf" Worthy of the Green Jacket
Picture in your mind that you’re the greatest golfer in the world. You’re on the 18th hole in the sport’s biggest tournament, with only a couple of swings away from breaking world records. But as you line up your winning swing, you’re struck by lightning! When you come to, not only do you find out that you’re dead, but you’re forced to play golf forever until you clear eighteen holes in a row to earn the right to come back to life.
Welcome to the world of Cursed to Golf, Chuhai Labs's concoction that not only reinvents the hit sport, but does so in a way that makes it one of this year’s best titles!
With the aid of a ghostly figure named The Scotsman, players are shown the ropes on how golf is played in purgatory. Levels take the form of Metroidvania layouts, filled with traps both sandy and explosive. The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole before you run out of strokes; fail, and you’ll start all the way at the beginning. Fortunately, you’ve got some special powers of your own to help tackle these tough levels.
From Mulligans and Practice Shots to Rocketballs and Scattershots, the usage of Ace Cards will aid in helping you reach your destination. Each hit can also have a bit of front/back spin added to it, which can assist enough to make-or-break a hole. However, Cursed to Golf is the kind of game where you’ll need to use these tricks at the right time. Use them up too quickly, and it’s back to Eterni-Tee for ya! (Eterni-Tee is also a place where you can buy more Ace Cards with the cash you earn, something that definitely comes in handy for tougher levels.)
On top of regular levels, the game features some tougher ones that are labeled as “Cursed”. Here, not only do you have the level itself to deal with, but troublesome penalties like “final strokes” and bouncier golf balls will make reaching the hole even trickier. You’ll even come across a boss battle here and there, as you attempt to get to the hole faster than the likes of The Scotsman or The Forgotten. All of these aspects add to the challenge of the game, which was already difficult to begin with!
This is the kind of game where you’ll be failing and starting over on many different occasions. Since Cursed to Golf has their levels auto-generated, you won’t be doing the same course routine each time. Instead, there are dozens of courses you could be swinging your way through, making it tougher to form of strategy of some kind. Even if you have Ace Cards for Mulligans or Practice Shots to test your surroundings, the simplest of screw-ups can destroy all of your progress!
However, rage-quitting is one such thing you won’t do when playing Cursed to Golf. Despite its hardcore difficulty, there’s enough charm on display that makes the whole experience enjoyable from start-to-finish. From its pixel visuals to the chiptune soundtrack, the world of Golf Purgatory is presented with loads of personality. On top of that, learning how to play this game is fairly easy.
With a driver, iron, and a wedge in your arsenal, hitting golf balls and lining the drive takes little practice. Once you get a good idea of your surroundings, taking that swing towards the green is a cinch. But do take into consideration the speed of how much velocity and how you angle your hit to be, as being off by even a single inch could either set you back or — in some cases — leave you drenched. (Thankfully, there’s no hardcore penalties when a ball goes out of bounds.)
Despite its rogue-like spirit, Cursed to Golf is fairly relaxing to play. Even if you keep going back to square one, its tone makes for the perfect game to unwind yourself to after a long hard day at work. Yes, it’ll frustrate you, but its attitude and inventive means will have you coming back for more.
- Fun take on a classic sport
- Inventive levels
- Great power-ups
- Extremely difficult
Cursed to Golf is the most fun I’ve had with a video game this year. Its inventive take on both rogue-likes and the sport Arnold Palmer made famous makes it one of the most original and challenging games of 2022. Even if you find the urge to beat up Bob Barker after losing again, Cursed to Golf will keep finding charming ways to bring you back to the tee.
Promotional consideration provided by Reanne Donkor of Plan of Attack. Reviewed on the PC via Steam.