Platform: Xbox Series X (also available on Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC – Windows, Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 20/01/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Going into RPGolf Legends, I had no idea what to expect. The mix of RPG gameplay smashed together with the least adrenaline-filled sport ever conceived was a concept that intrigued and surprised me. I expected a golf game akin to the Tiger Woods or Wii golf games with a subtle levelling system. What I got was a strange RPG game more like the top down 16-bit adventures of old, such as classic Final Fantasy or Zelda adventures revolving around a golf obsessed world.
Final Fantasy FORE
As the game begins, you are quickly introduced to the main protagonist, a young woman by the name of Aerin. She is on a mission to do some fishing, however, upon the first cast of her line, she pulls a magical golf club out of the water in the form of the 4th wall-breaking Clubby. This sentient golf club walks you through your first battle with a lowly imp and will be your companion for the rest of the journey. Imagine a silent Navi, floating ever-present above Aerin’s head.
Thankfully, there is no voice acting and all the dialogue is in text form. Otherwise, you get the sense that every time you approached a new hole, Clubby would yell out an annoying catchphrase. Instead of this, the text bubble that you are presented with gives an explanation of the hole number, distance and par, which can be helpful if you find yourself wandering around looking for the next destination. There is a map, however, this is very barebones with markers only highlighting points of interest.
The story itself begins with the explanation that all the golf holes in the world have been blocked by a nondescript magic and that’s it. Magic has starved the world from golf and it is Aerin’s mission to free the holes so the inhabitants are once more able to get their golfing fix. I genuinely chuckled at parts of the dialogue as Aerin has made it pretty clear that she only wants to play some golf and hates the fact that the fate of the world has fallen to her.
Not Everyone’s Cup of Tee
Although RPG is in the title, this is far from what you would expect from a typical Role-playing adventure. There is no levelling system and instead, you progress by purchasing new and improved clubs every couple of hours. This did disappoint me to a degree as there was no real sense of progression and if I came up against a tricky boss, I wasn’t able to grind to a more manageable level, instead waiting to come back with a new set of clubs in order to take my revenge.
This is more like a traditional Zelda game then a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest in style. The gameplay is broken down into the main quest of restoring the world’s golf courses, hole by hole in sequential order, and side quests handed out by the numerous, nameless NPCs. These side quests usually revolve around the tried and tested, go here, kill a set number of these things, repeat style missions and golfing themed activities such as using a certain colour ball or hitting a certain type of shot a number of times.
The Bread and Putter
Aside from the various quests, there is the golfing part of RPGolf Legends. This involves unlocking holes one by one using energy obtained from defeating enemies in combat, plus your performances on previous holes. Once unlocked, each hole is available to play as many times as you desire, however the actual golfing is a little on the light side. You aim your ball, you select your power and your accuracy and you give it a whack.
There is no ball spin to speak of and although there is a wind indicator, this made little difference to my ball’s trajectory with the only noticeable difference being if I ended up in a bunker. These not only slow down your ball’s movement but Aerin’s too, making it essential to avoid these. After a certain amount of holes are unlocked, there is the opportunity to compete in tournaments, as well as driving competitions and one on one challenges.
Swing for the Green
The combat in RPGolf Legends boils down to two buttons, the attack and the block. Although this is in no way a deep system, it gets the job done and most enemies can easily be dodged around before bashing them to death with your trusty golf club. You only have the two attacks, your basic club swing and a powerful spin attack, executed by holding the attack button. After a certain point, the ability to cast spells is unlocked which uses the same energy required to unlock the holes, so most of the time I avoided using these as it meant after one spell use, I then had to refill the energy bar.
The soundtrack doesn’t seem like the sort of music that sticks out, however on more than one occasion, I found myself humming the joyful tune of Mulingdale’s theme, Aerin’s hometown. As you enter new areas, the music will shift to match the environment and it never feels out of place, especially in the dark and creepy outskirts of Doku Town, which was a beautifully haunting score.
A Diamond in the Rough
RPGolf Legends takes numerous good elements and mashes them together to create a pretty fun experience. The combat and the golfing alone would not make this an extraordinary game by any means, but by combining the two, it makes a decently enjoyable game broken up nicely. There are times when the gameplay can be tedious and constantly having to murder the same enemies, just in a different colour, gets old pretty fast.
The environments and characters are beautiful to look at with a 16-bit aesthetic, complimented by a fun and catchy soundtrack. It is surprisingly packed full of things to do from fishing tournaments to crafting, however there is no real depth. This feels more of an introduction to the RPG genre for someone who has never played an RPG, as well as My First Golf game. I have mixed feelings of playing RPGolf Legends, which kept me coming back again and again but still wishing more was included.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can buy RPGolf Legends in the Microsoft store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.