I actually have a bit of a double review here. While the main part of this review will be me looking at RPGolf Legends, I’m going to be taking a quick look at the first game too. Yup, RPGolf Legends is actually a sequel. The first game, RPGolf, came out in 2018. developed by ArticNet and published by Chorus Worldwide. Despite being released four years ago, I have only very recently played the game… like a few hours before starting on the sequel. So I thought I would offer my views on RPGolf before moving on to the new title.
Once upon a time, the kingdom was a land of peace, harmony, and an all-consuming passion for the greatest sport – GOLF. Everyone in the land played day and night, and soon the kingdom itself was turned into the most beautiful course the world had ever seen. The land was happy. The land was good.
Until the monsters came…
In its obsession with golf, the people had become complacent, leaving the kingdom open to attack. Hole by hole, dungeon by dungeon, the monsters emerged and drove the people off the course. And a great sadness fell across the world.
Then one day, a brave girl appeared, determined to play the finest course in the world. Armed only with her golf club, she would set forth to play the nine legendary holes. But first, she would need to rid the land of the monsters…
RPGolf is a game whose title pretty much tells you exactly what you are getting. It’s an RPG blended with a golf game, that simple. Using a very SNES looking JRPG art style mixed with the idea of putting a small ball into a slightly larger hole. RPGolf is a simple and basic little game, I don’t mean that in a snobbish, dismissive way at all. The simplicity and basicness quality of the game is what makes it so appealing. This is a very easy game to pick up and get into.#
Simple controls with a basic premise. You run around, what is essentially, a golf course. That golf course has become overrun with monsters and you have to smack those monsters in the face with your golf club while also playing a round of golf. What you get with RPGolf is a nine-hole golf course. Getting around those nine holes took me under two hours and then the credits rolled. This (at first) seems like quite a short game, but it’s not.
See, there is a lot more to ‘finishing’ RPGolf than just getting around the nine holes. Even after the credits roll, the game opens up in a way that I’m not going to spoil here. Aside from playing golf, you have to explore dungeons, discover villages, solve puzzles, talk to NPCs, fight bosses. Your basic RPG gameplay is here, kill monsters, earn EXP, level up, buy equipment and items and more. See, I may have got to the credits in less than two hours, but there was still so much more of the game to discover. According to my Steam profile, I have racked up just shy of six hours playing RPGolf and there are still a few more things I need to mop up before it is finished 100%. So don’t let that small sounding nine-hole course put you off as RPGolf is bigger than it first seems.
This really was meant to be just a quick look at the game before I get stuck into the sequel and in that regard, RPGolf is a great little title. An interesting mix of a 16-bit JRPG and a basic but fun golf game. There’s a lot more going on here than you first realise too. Only available on Steam, it’s also incredibly cheap at under £3. RPGolf is most definitely a recommendation from me. Buy it now and play it before the sequel. Speaking of which…
An evil force has sealed all the golf holes in the world! Join forces with the spirit of a golf club and embark on a fantastic action-golfing adventure to save golf in the world!
Travel around in a unique open-world where monsters and golf coexist, get your best scores in 6 unique environments and beat monsters! When you are resting, do not forget to help people with their quests… every encounter counts!
Once more developed by ArticNet, this time published by KEMCO. RPGolf Legends will be released on Xbox, Steam, Switch, PS4 and PS5 on the 20th of January, with pre-orders already open. Before I do get into this review, my advice… just pre-order now and play the first game while you wait. The short version of this review is that RPGolf Legends is more of the same, which is a good thing because the first game was great. Only this sequel feels like Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap has plugged his amplifiers into it and turned them up to eleven.
Comparatively speaking, this sequel is gargantuan when put up against the first game. The basics of you having to battle monsters… while playing golf is still here, yet there are so many additions and refinements that make this feel like several massive leaps forward. The nine holes of the first game are replaced with fifty-four here. Those holes are played over six uniquely different areas too. Classic lush greens and arid desert, dim swampland, freezing tundra and more. Each of these areas brings new and interesting challenges to not just your RPG adventure but also the golfing itself. Environments are not just there to look nice, they affect the game in multiple ways. Have you ever tried playing golf on ice? Even the weather has an effect. Of course, you have to contend with the wind as standard but rain can and will change how the ball acts on the golf courses.
You want a break from all the golf? Well, you can take part in a bit of fishing and even enter fishing contests. A crafting system has been added, so you can make much-needed items for your adventure. There are different golf ball types that have different effects. A multitude of items that you can equip to help with both your monster-slaying and golfing. The dungeon and puzzle elements of the first game have been vastly improved too. There are a ton more NPCs to talk to and get side-quests from. The map is huge (you need a boat to get around) and is just begging to be explored as there is plenty to see and do outside of the main story. Speaking of the story, there is a lot more going on than just having to clean up monsters from a golf course. However, I’m not about to start handing out spoilers here. I will say there is a real JRPG-like plot going on.
The golf mechanics from the first game have been tweaked, while still remaining simple. Line up your shot, pick a club (though it is auto-selected for best results, you can change it), press a button to start your swing meter and press it again to stop at the required power. This is the thing I love about both the first game and RPGolf Legends, the simplicity of it all. It’s very ‘pick up and play’ and very easy to get into. The RPG side of things is also easy to follow and feels very SNES era/retro. The fights with enemies really does just boil down to smacking them around the face with your golf club. However, different enemies have different attacks, some are best to just move and avoid, others will require deft use of the block button. Even so, you’ll still need your wits about you as you need to pick just the right time to attack.
The EXP and levelling of the first game is gone but it has been replaced with a class system. As you continue in your adventure, you’ll cross paths with special NPCs that will give you new outfits. Those outfits will give you a new skill specific to each costume. I’m not going into detail, as to avoid spoilers but those costumes can have a big effect on not only how you battle enemies but also your golf game too. There is so much packed into RPGolf Legends that there’s even a retro/arcade-style golf game within this golf game. That’s some golf-ception.
RPGolf Legends is such a huge game loaded with content that it is pretty easy to forget that you are playing an indie title from a small team. RPGolf was a precursor, a blueprint for what ArticNet really wanted to do. If the first game was a short test flight of Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, then this sequel is a five-star, first-class, transatlantic Concorde flight. RPGolf Legends is everything I adore about the indie gaming scene. It is passion, dedication, hard work and talent captured in a game and best of all, it is bloody good fun.
RPGolf Legends is going to set you back quite a bit more than the first title. For a damn good reason though as you are getting so much more game for your money. Priced at around £27 ($29.99/€29.99) over all formats and trust me, it is worth every single penny. If you were to push me to find an issue well… I personally felt that the screen was a little too zoomed in. It’s pretty tricky to see what is just a few inches in front of you and it can be easy to get lost on the map because the camera is too close to the action. Let me do a quick comparison.
See, the top image there is from the first game of me just walking around the map. The bottom image is from RPGolf Legends, also just walking around the map. You can see just how much closer the camera is (or how much bigger the graphics are) in the sequel. The view is fine when you are taking your shot in golf or during a cutscene as the camera zooms out and you can see more of what is going on. But when you are running around the map and exploring or in a battle, it’s just too close. I lost count of the number of times I ran into an off-screen enemy because I just could not see more than a couple of inches in front of my character. Just another screen to better explain my point.
This is a screengrab of playing golf in RPGolf Legends. See how the view is further out? That right there is (in my opinion) how should be all through the game. It is the perfect balance between seeing the lovely graphics and still being able to see what is going on. If the devs could put in an option to adjust the camera to your preference, or even have the option to zoom in and out at the touch of a button, it really would improve this game a huge amount. But other than that, I had no issues with RPGolf Legends.
This really is a fantastic title, one that is high up on my recommendation list and could even be a strong contender for my game of the year. Get it pre-ordered ready for release on the 20th of January for your platform of choice. It is being released on everything, so there is no excuse. In the meantime, buy the first game on Steam. It’s cheap as chips and well worth playing at that price.