While I do love to talk about games in depth, I tend to choose a couple of titles to not review and simply just play for fun. This is not to say I will never write about them later on, but it is nice to have something to wind down with and not commit to note down every single detail needed for creating a solid article. Golf Peaks was originally one such title for me, as the golf genre is a guilty pleasure of mine and one I easily find myself relaxed to. However, after finishing this game, I figured that I wanted to talk about it right away. This is mainly due to that this is not really a golf game in a traditional sense. Instead, Golf Peaks is a puzzle game with golf rules.
A puzzling golf game
In all of the 108 courses, your goal is to get the ball into the hole within the limited amount of shots you are presented with. These shots come in the form of cards on the bottom screen, each representing how many tiles the ball will move over and whether it will travel up in the air or not. You can shoot the ball with these cards in four directions, and this about covers the basics. It is a simple premise, but Golf Peaks makes good use of this setup, as well as the concept of golf being implemented. For example, you can ricochet the ball off walls, use harder shots to get over ramps, and so on. This is a nice way of utilising golf to create intriguing puzzles and force the player to plan ahead.
Although, should one move be slightly wrong, it is easy to undo them with the click of a button and each course is short, making restarting any of them never a chore. This also compliments the mobile platform this title was originally made for, by being easy to pick up and play. There is no shortage of variety either, as each world brings along one main concept you will have to take into consideration. It can be tiles that bounce the ball, icy tiles that will slide the ball until it hits something, or bunkers that you need to shoot the ball out off.
The problem, however, is that the challenge does not evolve well. The game becomes quickly more about understanding the new concepts you are presented with, as you will not have combined gimmicks within one stage more than a couple of times to truly make for a good difficulty curve. In fact, I only remember the last few stages combining icy tiles with the bouncy ones. Because of this, it makes some levels forgettable, and only a couple became strong brainteasers.
Despite this, the game is still addictive due to its creativity. After the sixth world, I also did find Golf Peaks to be challenging more often than not, even if the difficulty was never above medium. I just wish the developers combined the use of the unique tiles on a regular basis in order to make the game more challenging and creative, since trading off one clever concept for another one just forces you to learn a new idea. You can easily beat this game in a short afternoon, and while it will definitely entertain you, it is hard to not say that I wished for just a bit more.
Gameplay Score: 7/10
Miniature golf courses are more creative than this
The visuals are easy on the eyes with simple colours to distinguish one course from another and each have a clear theming to them, such as sandy hills with orange tiles, and icy stages being filled with soft blue colours and white snow. Sadly, while it is all soothing, there is little added to make the courses memorable outside of the added textures. No windmills, animatronic creatures or unique objects, makes it all feel lacking. This holds especially true, when the courses are out in the middle of nowhere. It is all clean and nice, but unimaginative.
The music is lovely though, as you are treated to calm tracks of piano, soothing drums, and electronic that almost represents the wind blowing. For a game demanding a calm brain for both golfing and puzzle solving, it does truly make the player relaxed, even if the game does not require the accuracy of a traditional game of golf. It might be more atmospheric rather than memorable, but the soundtrack is easy to listen to and makes everything become peaceful and calm. This is further enhanced by the sound effects of your ball being shot around, as they are all hypnotic and diverse.
Presentation Score: 6/10
You definitely do not have to be a fan of golf to enjoy this title, as Golf Peaks feels like a good beginner’s puzzle game that can also satisfy those familiar with the genre. It definitely could be more creative in its visuals and I would have loved it if the game went further with its concept and combined gimmicks in its level design for creating more challenging courses. However, as a game meant for on the go, it is enjoyable and nice to take a break with. Maybe it is not a hole-in-one, but it is definitely a par.