Tee ‘er up!

Title: Golf With Your Friends
Platform: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Switch
Developer: Team17, Blacklight Interactive
Publisher: Team17, Blacklight Interactive
Release date: Out now
Tl;dr: Get your putt on.
Price: PS4/Xbox/Switch: £15.99/$19.99
Family Focus?: Click here for more information

It’s golf, Jim, but not as we know it…

When most people who aren’t golfers think of golf they think of slow build ups, slow coverage, slow swings, and slow going. But not so with Golf With Your Friends! Team17 and Blacklight Interactive are bringing their Steam success to PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, and as someone who hates golf in all its shapes and forms I obviously seemed like the ideal candidate to give it a whirl. Oo-er.

So first thing’s first: how the heck do I play this thing? Well, thankfully, and perhaps as you’d expect from a Team17 game, the controls are super simple, with only a few buttons ever really needing pressing throughout a whole course. Not only does this make the game really accessible but it also means that there’s very little need – if any – to practice before starting out on a course – perfect for if you’ve invited 11 friends round and not one of them knows how to play it. If there is a stickler in the group demanding to practice first (and there’s always one), a Practice Mode has kindly been included for those who’d like to get a feel for the ball before they head out on that virtual green. For the really keen, there’s also a Tutorial that’ll take you through all the basics, and during play there’s a simple Freecam Mode to use when on a hole that allows you to spot the flag then plan a successful route to it. So there’s no reason to not get that Hole In One, right?

Moving on and let’s talk courses. There are 11 available encompassing a whole host of environments and all of them felt well thought out and, more importantly, were fun to play. For each course there are 18 holes which, for the non-golf enthusiast, may get a little tiring if you’re just playing on your own but here’s the thing: the game’s literally called Golf With Your Friends, so go out and get some, drag ‘em in and show off your fine putting skills. Failing that, the game’s online mode means you’ll always have someone out there to play with you, even if HotBabe101 isn’t really who she’s pretending to be. 

The levels themselves are colourful, varied and each has its own obstacles that you’ll have to overcome if you want to secure that coveted win. For example, while Space Station had pistons smashing the ground trying to thwart you, Pirate Cove had log rams that swung in from the side and knocked your ball away. Among the others, Haunted was one of my favourites, reminding me a little of Boo’s house from Mario64, chairs flying around and trolleys spookily rolling past the holes by themselves. A special mention here should also go to the Worms course, which featured enough Worms memorabilia to make the fans really lose their sh*t, including a giant rolling Holy Hand Grenade on one of the holes, as well as a jetpack for a few of the others to help you climb to those hard to reach spots – just watch out for the falling bombs!

If after a while regular mini golfing gets a little boring there are some fantastic additional modes to help you spruce things up. Dunk Mode turns the flag into a basketball net that you’ll have to jump into if you want any chance of staying under par. Hockey Mode changes your ball into a hockey puck and the hole into a hockey goal, complete with simple yet frustratingly good goalie. Party Mode puts the focus on fun settings and Explore Mode, well, it lets you explore. On each of them you can add up to 12 players online or off, the latter allowing people to use just one controller between all 12 people if they’d like, which in my books is absolutely fantastic. Long live couch co-op/multiplayer!

If the different modes don’t get you giggling then head on over to the Game Settings, where you can create a custom one and change everything from the level of gravity affecting the ball to the bounciness of the ground (turns out it can get pretty bouncy!). For one round I turned gravity all the way down to 0.25 (it’s normally set at 1) and let me tell you, it really makes a difference – that ball went flying! For added hilarity there’s even an option to change the Ball Size and Ball Shape, with players able to select from Egg, Cube, Cylinder, Cone, Icosphere, Puck, Star, Bauble, and Acorn at Small or Large sizes, with a Random selection generator also able to be toggled off/on for both. Man, trying to hit a large cone around a putting course, I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated in all my life!

Another fun addition is the Powerups Mode, which introduces floating boxes akin to those you find in MarioKart to the courses. Emblazoned with an alluring question mark, if a player knocks their ball into one they’ll receive a powerup, which could be anything from a Honey Trap, which players can use to leave a trail of sticky honey on the course behind them and in doing so slowing any other players’ ball that may get stuck in it, to the handy Double Jump, which does exactly what it says on the tin, or the Snap Freeze, which instantly stops your ball, handy for when you’ve applied way too much power to an ‘easy’ putt, as I frequently did. There’s also a Randomizer for those playing with friends, which changes their competitors balls into different shapes. If I was to have one real complaint it would be that there were only these 4 to choose from and that I would have expected more powerup items from a studio famous for powerups.

Graphically, the game’s got a style instantly recognisable from any of the recent Worms games: bright colours and big, blocky shapes. Trees don’t exactly look photo-perfect but who cares? You can tell it’s a tree and, more importantly, it fits nicely with the fun, happy-go-lucky feel that the game’s going for and who doesn’t need a bit more happy-go-lucky fun in their lives right now? While we’re on the subject of feeling good, there’s also a Customize option that lets you play around with the colour of your ball, change its trail, choose a different ‘floatie’ for it (a rubber ring type-device for water hazards), or my personal favourite, equip your ball with a fancy hat. Let me tell you: there is nothing quite like knocking a bright pink ball dressed in a snorkel around a golf course!

Ultimately, this game is about having fun and, knowing how I feel about golf, I wasn’t sure I would. But snorkels hats off to Team17 and the gang because they really pulled it off. Not only is Golf With Your Friends a fun romp around the putting green, it’s varying modes and settings add depth to the game and really set it aside from being ‘just another mini-golf game’. The inclusion of a 12 player offline multiplayer mode that uses just 1 controller blew my mind and rekindled my hopes that The Couch Is Not Dead Yet. While friends of Worms will be happy with the various nods to the franchise, while new players will just love the game for what it is: a great golfing time. Fore!

The Good

  • Fun and crazy customizable settings
  • 12 player online/offline multiplayer!
  • Super easy to pick up and play

The Bad

  • Only 4 powerups

Family Focus

Golf With Your Friends is rated PEGI 7 and E10+ for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB. Cartoon violence.

This review is based on a retail code of the game supplied by PR for the purpose of review.