Cursed to Golf Review – Slay the Putter

Cursed to Golf Review – Slay the Putter
3.5

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, , Sony PS4, Sony PS5, Microsoft Xbox Series, Microsoft Xbox One, Windows PC, Steam

Game Name: Cursed to Golf

Publisher: Thunderful Publishing

Developer: Chuhai Labs

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sports

Release Date: August 18th, 2022

ESRB Rating: E For Everyone

Cursed to Golf by Chuhai Labs

Golf games have a storied history in video games. Whether it’s million-dollar sports franchises marketing themselves on the real pro tour golf experience or silly variations like Kirby’s Dream Course, electronic rounds of 18-holes seem to captivate audiences consistently.

So it seems only natural that someone would try to combine this industry classic with the currently booming Rogue-like genre. Cursed to Golf does just that, combining arcade-y golf action with the structure of games like Slay the Spire and Monster Train. The question is, does it live up to this pedigree?

reverse the Curse

As a nameless pro golfer struck by lightning and sent tumbling down to Golf Purgatory, you have but one simple goal: golf your way back out of the underworld. Of course, things in the underworld work a bit differently. These 2D courses are massive and sprawling, laden with more obstacles than your standard sand bunkers, and will send you careening back to the bottom of Purgatory if you go over par. Thankfully, there are items like par-increasing trophies and magical cards that can help you improve your chances.

One of Cursed to Golf’s biggest strengths is its simplicity. Hitting your ball is as simple as choosing between one of three putters, then deciding on shot power and angle. Similarly, despite being labyrinths of turf, the features of each course (traps, items, interactive objects, etc.) are easy to understand, meaning you’re rarely caught off guard by anything you have to deal with.

The game also provides some extra strategy via its card system. You earn cards as you play (or buy them from stores on the overworld map), and they give you helpful powers like stopping your ball mid-air, or destroying nearby obstacles. Again, simple, but helpful in planning your way through a course.

Curses and Epitaphs

While Cursed to Golf initially seems like a hole-in-one, it unfortunately has a few glaring flaws that drag it down. For starters, the courses quickly begin to become huge and time-consuming, making failing a run draining as opposed to motivating you to do better next time. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if there were permanent unlocks or other rewards for advancement, but there’s nothing. For such a whimsical and accessible game, defeat feels ruinous.

It also truly does not help that aspects of the game are fiddly. The game only allows you to pan your camera so far while aiming a swing, meaning you outright can’t see where your shot will land when doing long shots with a driver. The fact that you can’t verify the quality of one of the three types of shot you can make feels like a baffling design oversight.

To cap it off, Cursed to Golf unfortunately feels like it plays its hand too early. After a few rounds, you’ve seen all the traps and weirdness it has to offer. Worse still, despite insisting that you can choose multiple paths through a course, the riskier paths almost never have a big enough reward to justify not playing it safe.

Cursed to Golf is ultimately still a solid game, with intuitive mechanics and a gorgeous 16-bit presentation that lends it endless charm. It’s just unfortunate that its simplicity serves to make its shortcomings all the more obvious.

Cursed to Golf is available via the Nintendo Store, Sony PlayStation Store, Microsoft Xbox Store, and Steam.

Watch the trailer for Cursed to Golf below:

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