Developer: Ratalaika Games SL
Publisher: Ratalaika Games SL
Platform: PlayStation 4
Age Rating: PEGI3
Release Date: 8th September 2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
There was a point in my life I would gobble up all these small Ratalaika games; they usually have easy platinums you could complete in under an hour with very little effort whatsoever. They are of variable quality, usually very simple and mostly bought by budding trophy hunters. I do not buy them anymore but thought I would jump on this review because it included the word ‘golf’. I like golf, in video game form anyway.
So what is Golf Zero? Well, in a nutshell, it is like someone made a cheap version of Super Meat Boy and thought, “You know what? This game could do with more golf in it.” Golf Zero is a platformer where at the end of each level you have to sink a golf shot. I know? Who thinks of this stuff? It’s weird, it’s cheap, it’s so Super Meat Boy it’s unreal, but all said and done, I did not completely hate it.
Super Meat Golf
Let’s start with the Super Meat Boy comparisons; I love Super Meat Boy and this game is like it in so many ways but in none of the ways that really count. Your character moves like Meat Boy, he looks like Meat Boy and even the level layouts are Meat Boy-ish. All the wall-jumping, sliding and precision that is required is present but of a much lower quality. Some of the levels even have circular saws that look like someone cut and paste them straight from Super Meat Boy. I think at this point, the developer just thought, “Let’s go with it. We have gone so far already, let’s Meat Boy this game up!”.
The likeness to Meat Boy is overwhelming but this uncanny little title has a bit more to it than that. Each level consists of a Meat Boy-ish stage with a golf hole located somewhere towards the finish and it is usually in a difficult to reach location. You have three balls in each run at the stage and must sink one of them to emerge victorious. Not only do you need to get through the game’s sometimes frustrating obstacles but also sink a chip shot under increasing pressure.
Let’s Do The Time Warp AGAIN!
As you approach the cup, a simple button press slows time and allows you to aim a shot wherever you point your aiming line. Most holes have inclines at either side meaning your shot does not have to be pinpoint accurate and does take away most of the frustration. Each level also has a balloon that must be popped if you want to claim the elusive ‘gold’ rank on each stage. I have mixed feelings about how these two different game types fit together, it just feels weird; I like weird but this is really WEIRD.
Firstly, barring a couple of fun, well-designed levels, this game does feel like two different titles just thrown together for the fun of it. It feels like a tech demo or a test game someone has thrust together. The game has a massive lack of story, where is my drive to do this? Why am I doing this? I mean it could work if it had some weird and wacky story set-up at the start. It does not matter how wacky it would be either, anything is better than nothing. You are just thrown into the game, it’s all very abrupt.
Below Par Presentation
The presentation of Golf Zero is how you would expect if you have played one of these small Ratalaika games. It’s basic but it does its job. It’s bright, everything is clear but its very basic art style and music sticks out like a sore thumb. I would have liked a bit more done with the art direction and sound but, well, you can’t have everything you want, can you?
The game performed a bit weird at times too, sometimes, only during the slow-down phase, the game seemed to struggle and it made some golf shots difficult. This part of the game needs to be consistent and unfortunately, sometimes, it was not. Apart from that, the game ran well enough: it was smooth, loaded quickly and sometimes, just sometimes, it was even enjoyable.
Stuck In The Sandtrap
Overall my thoughts on Golf Zero are exactly as I thought they would be before I even booted it up. During my trophy addiction phase, what I refer to as the ‘Dark Times’, I played bucket loads of these games and they were mostly bad. They try to cash in on trophy hunters and have very variable quality levels.
Golf Zero is OK, it’s not too bad. The levels are short, it takes a bit of skill but I found it all to feel a bit too cheap and like two games have been sewn together. With a lack of drive or story, very little replayability and simple presentation, I find it hard to recommend to anyone other than trophy hunters. It says something about a game when you do not even have to complete it all to get that elusive platinum trophy.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Golf Zero for PS4 from the following link: PlayStation Store