Golf Club Wasteland
Developer: Demagog Studio
Publisher: Untold Tales
Genre(s): Arcade, Sport
Platform: Xbox Series S (Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 03/09/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
A Good Walk Spoiled?
Well, here we are, my first ever Xbox review and what an uncanny game to choose to start with. Golf Club Wasteland is an arcade-style golf game much like many others but its atmosphere, sound design and bleak narrative elevate it above other games of this ilk.
This game tells the story of Charlie, a hero amongst many who dreams to return home. The Earth has been destroyed and the human race, led by Charlie, has settled on Mars in what can only be described as horrible circumstances. From Mars, if you have the status or the funds to do so, you can visit Earth to play golf amongst the ruins. I know, it’s complete madness.
The Sounds of Sadness
What really makes this game shine and often takes centre stage in front of the actual golf, is the radio station that plays over the course of the thirty-five holes you play. Radio Nostalgia, a frequency from Mars, plays over the entirety of your golfing playthrough. From the soothing sounds of the DJ to trance-based music and settlers on Mars stories, it is quite spectacular and by far the game’s greatest asset. Take that away and you have a run of the mill golf game seen on many a device before it.
As the DJ runs through the torrid status of living on Mars he plays epic, ethereal electronic music that ranks amongst my favourite soundtracks of 2021. This paired with quirky tales told by the denizens of Mars creates a harsh atmosphere that really makes you think while you are trying to nail a tricky putt down some stairs for par.
A Mirror of Modern Day Living
Everything is discussed from people’s old lives on Earth to the cramped living conditions on Mars they currently abide in. Imagine a notice about 27-second showers on Mars being cut further by the powers that be due to the lack of rain, it’s all horridly depressing. The narration and everything on this amazing radio stream paints a nasty, horrid picture of life on Mars and let’s be honest, something that could be in our distant future.
The way Golf Club Wasteland mimics what is happening in our world is startling, social distancing, pollution and the collapse of humanity is all very fitting. For such a simple arcade game, the sound design really hammers home what is happening in our world and what we should be thinking about and how we should, sooner rather than later, change our ways.
Par for the Course
Right, now all that juicy, horrid stuff is out of the way, let’s discuss the golf. Each hole, which has a number of shots for par, is designed very well. There are switches, escalators, doors and pipes to navigate. You use your left analog stick to aim, set power and the ‘A’ button to hit your ball. That is about it really. I hit a hole in one and I also did holes in far too many shots for me to admit in this review. It does not really matter though. There is no detriment to taking ages and I will be honest, a few holes were tough anyway!
Golf Club Wasteland looks lovely. It’s bright, bold and Charlie is animated excellently. He does not say a lot but the way he jetpacks between shots and slams his head into his hand when you miss a very short putt speaks louder than words. As I stated earlier, the sound-work is also phenomenal. The combination of the sound design and the graphics really add to what would otherwise be a very generic, tawdry game. Performance-wise, everything ran perfectly. I had no issues to speak of and was left to enjoy my golf and radio station in peace.
An Indie Like No Other
To wrap up then, Golf Club Wasteland is something everyone should try. Its gameplay may be run of the mill, even to me, someone who loves golf games but that radio station and the narration is enough to elevate it to the next level. The stories are bleak, the music is fantastic and you will think a lot about the state of our world. What we are doing to it and maybe, one of our possible futures living on Mars. The game is short but it never out-stays its welcome. I enjoyed it from start to finish, maybe you will too.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
If you want to purchase Golf Club Wasteland from the Microsoft store, you can here.
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