For 20 years, Everybody’s Golf has been trying to make Golf interesting to the masses on PlayStation consoles, and it has been doing a surprisingly good job. In 2017 with their latest release, first time for the PS4, Everybody’s Golf is having a crack at doing the same, and it continues its pattern of being accessible, yet frustratingly hard.
What makes Everybody’s Golf unique is its Japanese aesthetics, with super cute character designs with colourful, happy surroundings and an air of you are there to have fun, not to take yourself too seriously. If you don’t feel as if you have enough options for clothing, then don’t worry, you will unlock a lot of clothing throughout the game as well, from a random find in the world to when you win a tournament. The game rewards you with new items, regularly.
This is where Everybody’s Golf does succeed. By not taking itself seriously the game becomes immediately accessible, mixing simple fundamental mechanics with a fun style, it makes a serious golf game fun for the masses who may find real world golf dull. For example, when you time your shots perfectly you get a colourful musical note in a bubble if it’s a touch low a turtle appears, and if you hit too soon a bunny will appear.
This surrounds Everybody’s Golf’s most important mechanic, the golf swing, which it continues to do with the simple process of using a bar that you press X to start, when the bar fills up press X again for the power of the shot, and you press x again at a line for a successful strike. This simple mechanic makes the game super easy to pick up, but that timing becomes paramount quickly, as the last time you press X will be the difference between hitting the ball where you aimed for, and hitting it forward a little. There is very little wriggle room for stuffing up the shot, so while you are learning, your shots will vary from perfect to terrible.
Fortunately, with loading screens, accompanying its tips, you can also use a practise gauge to work on your timing, so the game does what it can to try to make you better as its core mechanic, meaning when I did terribly online, it was my fault and not the games. On top of this is an interesting mechanic where you level up each club the more you use it, which sounds strange but it does reward players who stick with the game as you get better with each one in the same way as someone playing in real life.
What’s slightly less real life is the character creation mechanic, which allows for a surprisingly wide selection of characteristics to make for some truly unique characters. Height, weight, and head size are the difference between a serious looking character vs your twisted minds creations, as well as a wider than expected selection of features, from hair to facial markings. It’s a mechanic that isn’t required for the game to be fun but does invest you in your character more.
Offline there is local multiplayer, which is a plus any game deserves credit for these days, and offline single player. This has you exploring the small world, playing golf courses, levelling up and playing against bosses. This is enough to make the game worthwhile on its own, but then there is multiplayer which the game has made serious attempts at expanding in.
Online multiplayer is cleverly designed. It drops you into a lobby which is a small golf club world and in this area, you can run around, explore, find items, go fishing, drive a golf cart, or join matches. This gives an MMO element to the game that is a nice change even if it is a touch pointless at times. The real winner in online is turf war where teams compete to basically complete all the holes on a course the fastest, in any order, they see fit. Running over to hole six may make more sense than hole two, and watching a group of people zero in on a course to tee off is chaotic and funny. Unfortunately I regularly had an issue getting into a game of Turf War, so hopefully, that will fix with more players, but online courses worked a treat.
Disappointingly there is already DLC available for the game, which at launch is always something to be cynical of, but more so the special tickets available. The additional courses are neither here nor there as the game has a lot of courses, but the special tickets can be used to buy warp tokens, which is very useful in turf war mode to jump to a course instead of having to run. There is also an issue where your club levels move to online, so someone who has played for longer and levelled up their club skills will have an edge as they can hit the ball further. It’s not too significant but if you are taking it seriously seeing someone hit it further swing by swing is a little frustrating.
8.1/10 – Despite its flaws Everybody’s Golf is a complex game with a simple face, making it super easy to pick up and have fun with, with enough depth to enjoy if you want to get better. The foray into online instances has been cleverly implemented and is a lot of fun, as well as offline being a blast for the antisocial gamers out there. Its aesthetic and cheery nature stops it from ever taking itself too seriously.