Imagine being about to play the final shot of a golf tournament that will cement you as the greatest golfer of all time. However, before that shot is played you get struck down by lightning and die. That’s where Cursed to Golf pits you. Stranded in golf purgatory – the only way to ascend back to the land of the living is to play your way through 18 holes of craziness.
Developed by Chuhai Labs and published by Thunderful Games Cursed To Golf is a 2D roguelike golf adventure. It is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows.
Gameplay is where this game really shines. Its mechanics are simple to understand and operate, yet difficult to master. Players choose one of 3 clubs on hand (Driver, Iron or Wedge) each coming with its own strengths. Apply desired power and direction using a precision timing mechanic. It’s 2D platforming where the ball does the platforming.
Breaking idols found dotted around will increase your par – silver idol +2 shots, gold idol +4 shots. There’s also multiple paths to the flag so always be on the lookout for those shortcuts.
There’s a litany of obstacles to navigate with these becoming more devious and punishing as you progress. The bosses you encounter at the end of each biome will also employ their own tactics to beat you. Let’s call a spade a spade… they downright cheat. You have to be at the top of your game and make every shot count.
Mastery of ball spin along with knowing when and what Ace cards to utilise will have you blitzing through the fairways. Ace Cards allow you to change the physics, add shots to your Par or even play a mulligan for example. The Practice Shot ace card is very useful when not used as a practice shot. Think outside the box.
Beating each hole will gain you some cash which can be spent on ace cards to help give you a killer hand of powerups. These can be purchased as single cards where you know what you’re getting at a premium price or else purchased as a blind bag pack where you risk the luck of the draw.
Beating bosses also afforded you some nice gifts (that I’ll not spoil) to help with the challenge.
Graphics & Audio
The game has a vibrant pixel art style with cute designs throughout. The boss designs are the real standout here, they’re more sinister, a real contrast to the rest of the game. Some of the background art when meeting or beating bosses really look great.
The parallax backgrounds in the environments add depth to the world and animations of the characters, hazards and environments are really well crafted.
One bone that could be picked that players may find issue with is the view distance when taking shots but for me, this adds to the challenge. Careful planning of shots and routes is key.
The audio is fine but does get repetitive especially if a hole takes an extended time to complete. It doesn’t quite seem to match what’s going on in gameplay. A minor criticism when everything else is on point.
At the time of writing, I have gotten to the 3rd boss and am finding the ramp up in difficulty here a steep increase in challenge. Time to hit the driving range for some practice and planning.
There is 14 trophies available to achieve on Playstation. 2 Bronze, 11 Gold and 1 Platinum.
The legs this game will have will be totally dependent on your ability to cope with the punishing ramp-up in skill along with the roguelike elements. This game cries out for a multi-player mode.
Cursed to Golf brings a fresh spin on the Roguelike genre, which is very welcome. It’s charming, funny and mastering the levels gets very addictive. While its learning curve can be steep at times the sense of achievement when beating a boss utilising all of your skills is really rewarding. As it sinks it hooks into you be prepared to say “Just one more run”…. a lot.
I would love to see multiplayer added in the future as this game would lend itself well to couch co-op or online matches. This would be a tonne of fun.
If you want a fun and challenging game that delivers an addictive adventure then look no further than Cursed To Golf. It takes home the Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.