I would never say that I am a huge golf game fan when it comes to video games. I think I have only owned two golf games in my entire life, and those were Mario Golf 64 and Outlaw Golf for the original Xbox. Well, now I own a third golf game, and that is Golf Club: Wasteland by Demagog Studio. This one really intrigued me when I heard about it but wasn’t sure if it would be the game for me. The other golf games that I’ve owned were mostly played in a group party setting, but this one was going to be played solo. Let’s take a deeper look at Golf Club: Wasteland and see if it held my attention.
Golf Club: Wasteland is set in the future, where the Earth has become an inhabitable husk of what it once was, and humans have fled to Mars, completely giving up on saving the Earth. The Earth is not without use in this future, as it has become a golf course for the ultra-rich who can afford the trip from Mars to play a round of golf. You play one of these ultra-rich, a man named Charlie. Charlie lands on the planet, in the fictional town of Alphaville, wearing his self-contained space suit. This spacesuit is meant to protect Charlie from Earth’s now poisonous atmosphere as he plays his round of golf.
The story for Gold Club: Wasteland plays out in a very interesting way. There are small hints and Easter eggs that can be found in the levels you play, that will give you small tidbits of story or make a reference to other popular forms of art and movie. For instance, there are references to Jean-Luc Godard’s classic film Alphaville and to Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. However, most of the actual narrative will come from Charlie’s recollections or the chatter that comes over Radio Nostalgia, a radio station that will play music and conversations that help develop the world around you.
Golf Club: Wasteland is a unique experience, where simple game play interacts with ambient story telling to make an intriguing and compelling game. This is a vastly different type of golfing game experience that I am used to, and to be completely honest, I loved every moment of it.
Golf Club: Wasteland is golfing simplicity at its best. But that does not mean that Golf Club: Wasteland is an easy game, oh no. It is easy to understand and play, but it can be very, very hard to master.
You are first offered two choices of game types: Story Mode and Challenge Mode. Story Mode means you can play through the holes that the game offers without a stroke limit. Need to take 15 tries to get the ball over the crane and into the hole? Go for it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an incentive for hitting par in Story Mode. The lower number of shots that you use on a particular hole will unlock different diary entries for our boy, Charlie. You can find out more about his back story and the final days of Earth if you can sink the ball in par or less.
Challenge Mode is the harder of the two options. In Challenge Mode, each hole has a par score that you must meet, or your ball will self-destruct and send you back to the tee to try again. This mode is for those of you that are looking for more of a challenge, hence the name, while Story Mode are for those of you that want to experience the game without stressing over things like strokes or par. The coolest thing is that you can switch at any time between the two modes while you are progressing through the game’s 35 different holes. A third option, Iron Mode, is only unlocked after beating Challenge Mode.
The challenge to Golf Club: Wasteland comes from the level design, which is more mini-golf then traditional golf. Gone are the lush, green fairways that once was found on Earth, now you are driving through urban wastelands, shopping centers, and highways. You control the angle of your shot by using either your mouse or left analog stick, then selecting your desired power to hit the ball. You can also zoom in and out to see more of the entire stage, to get a better sense of where you need to line up your shot. There are no clubs in this game, so you just set the angle and the power and give the ball a whack.
Golf Club: Wasteland has some of the best aesthetics in a game that I have played this year. From the visuals, to the sound design, and the soundtrack, it all works so well to create a pleasing and relaxing atmosphere. No, you will not get realistic graphics in this game, but what you will get is a design choice that puts you at ease and fits with the style of the game. This is, by definition, the best “chill” game I think I have every played.
The visuals are awash with various shades of blue and green, while details of shocking pink will highlight the remnants of human culture. The visuals are just designed to be relaxing, with the details in the foreground being easier to see, while the background is mostly hidden in the miasma that has settled on Earth.
The soundtrack is incredible. It is, from what I can tell, all original music and programming created just for Golf Club: Wasteland. It’s all very chill music, that fits the entire feeling of the game perfectly. There is about 2 hours’ worth of programming for Golf Club: Wasteland, so repetition isn’t something that I would worry about, and I didn’t tire of any of the songs that I heard.
Golf Club: Wasteland is going to be one of those games that you either get or you don’t. It is made to be a very chill experience that can be played at any skill level you would like. Playing just for the story and the scenery? No worries, Story Mode has you covered. Want to test your skills on a post-apocalyptic Earth? Then give Challenge Mode a try. Challenge mode to easy? Iron Mode it is! Golf Club: Wasteland is a gorgeous experience that I truly found enjoyable from second one of installation. Easily, this is going to be my top chill game of the year, this year. Golf Club: Wasteland is available now on Steam.