Cursed to Golf (Xbox One) Review with stream
Only three clubs doesn’t complicate gameplay any more than needed
Pixel art and soundtrack are highly enjoyable
Creative way to experience a relatively boring sport
Easy to rage quit when you die on hole 16 because the ball got stuck on the wall
Out of the dozen rogue games that were released this week, this one is golf-based
Tutorial takes forever and forces the player to complete it twice
A creative spin on classic golf rules and gameplay, Cursed to Golf places emphasis on story and precision gameplay. It is sort of trying to be mini golf with all the special abilities and trap-filled holes but demands the expertise of a skilled professional to reach the end.
Playing as a golfer about to hit a tournament winning shot, you suddenly get struck by lightning, killed, and sent to golf purgatory where a Scottish golfing ghost provides instruction on how to return to the land of the living. By clearing 18 consecutive holes, you will be resurrected into your earthly body where you can finish the tournament you so desperately want to win. The narrative is creative and provides a worthwhile excuse that directly bleeds into the die-and-repeat gameplay.
Instead of increasing your score with each shot like in real golf, Cursed to Golf limits the player with a set number of strokes for each hole. Finish the hole before this stroke limit and move onto the next. Use all your strokes before sinking your ball in the hole and be punished by having to restart at hole 1. For the most part, each hole requires near perfection to clear. Sometimes losing isn’t fully the players fault which is why this 2D side-scrolling golf game can be so heartbreaking. For example, if the ball rolls against a wall, you’ll need to burn a stroke by hitting the ball backwards so it can clear the ledge or don’t be surprised if you land in the distance-limiting bunker because the weighted ball physics took an awkward bounce. Sure, there are statues that can add strokes to your queue when smashed but sometimes it just isn’t enough.
Your typical traps are here, like the water hazards and bunkers, but there are also TNT boxes that explode, branching paths, steep drops, and even boss battles in which opponents can stun or impede your progress. The side-scrolling perspective is unique for a golfing experience but sometimes the camera doesn’t work with the player. Using the driver, for example, allows the player to hit further into the distance but the camera’s viewpoint can only go so far when determining the angle and power gauge. Since you cannot always see where the line ends, shooting blind in a game that demands perfection is unfortunate. The special ability cards, like hitting a mulligan, dropping the ball straight down like a stone, or flipping a U-turn, are cool and give the game a Mario Golf vibe but isn’t enough to carry the demanding experience. If the player was rewarded with more permanent upgrades upon each failure, then that starting over from scratch gut shot wouldn’t be as soul crushing.
Cursed to Golf has its heart in the right place, is a creative game, and I am sure some players will enjoy this repeating type of experience. However, I am personally exhausted of the overused rogue elements placed in most games released these days – this one just so happens to be based around golf and demands hours of unrewarded practice to be released from golfing hell.
Play It Instead: the free Super Stickman Golf games on your mobile device
Not As Good As: the story mode in Mario Golf on GBA
Wait For It: your Top Golf birthday month coupon for like two bucks off a $45/hr bay
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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