Sometimes words simply cannot do a game justice. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do my best right here in this humble review, however Golf Peaks is something that must be experienced to fully appreciate what’s on offer. Yes, some may see the word golf in the title and overlook this game, but they would be worse off for it. So instead, dim the lights, turn the volume up and immerse yourself in the latest beautiful little game to land on Nintendo Switch.
Golf Peaks is a minimalistic puzzler and the debut game by the indie Polish developer, Afterburn. It’s fairly simple, but therein lies its beauty. And thankfully, you don’t need to know anything about how golf works to fully enjoy the game.
The aim is to sink your ball using your shot cards at the bottom of the screen. Each level is laid out on a grid system, and each shot carries a number which denotes how far the ball will travel. It’s up to you to play the shots in the correct order; there’s only one correct combination that will see you successfully beat the level.
You have over 100 courses to play through, with these set across nine different worlds. As you move from one to the next, the gameplay grows in complexity, becoming more challenging. You’ll encounter new terrains as well as unlocking more shots, or cards, to play in order to complete the level. You’ll also unlock three additional levels to play through after you clear each world, which are far more challenging. All that should keep you busy for a few hours, however for £4.49 that is plenty of quality game for your money.
Golf Peaks has a perfectly pitched difficulty curve that is challenging without being frustrating. As you progress you’ll need to master chip shots, as well as navigating the rough and water hazards. Each world brings with it new ideas which keeps the gameplay fresh, however at the end you’ll be left itching for more.
As you may expect, controlling the action is fairly straightforward. The left thumbstick is used to choose your shot direction, which is limited to the four main compass points. Once you’re happy with that, you can cycle through your shot cards with the bumper buttons, then press A to select your shot. To allow you to try different approaches to the more challenging levels, you can replay your last shot by hitting B, or press Y to restart the level from scratch. Of course, you can also use the touch screen to play if you want to ditch the Joy-Cons.
It’s not just the simple but satisfying gameplay which is a winner here, as the music in Golf Peaks is quite frankly, stunning. It’s relaxing, sometimes haunting, but complements the game perfectly. Graphics wise the colour popping, cel-shaded style completes the immerse experience. I can’t quite explain it, but it’s a game that feels at home on Nintendo Switch, especially if you’re tucked up in bed with your headphones in.
In fact, everything works brilliantly and the only niggle I encountered with the game was when it froze up at one point, and I had to restart the software. Thankfully it was a one-off. Otherwise, everything runs smoothly and each level flows nicely into the next at a steady, relaxed pace. This further re-enforces the overall vibe of the game; you’ll struggle to find a more calming experience on any gaming platform going.
I have to be honest, I absolutely love this little game. Golf Peaks is a real gem and an absolute bargain. It oozes charm and is an enjoyable and relaxing experience whilst it lasts. It’s simple, accessible and should be enjoyed by all. Don’t miss out on this one.
Release date: March 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: 7Levels