In yet another instance of me succumbing to peer pressure, I picked up a mini golf game during this year’s Steam summer sale despite having little interest in it. But as it turns out, Golf With Your Friends is rip roarin’ good time, and that’s not a phrase I use lightly.
It is in early access, though, and fairly light on content. So that rip roarin’ good time won’t last forever, at least not until Golf With Your Friends sees its checklist of stuff filled out a bit more, but it’s cheap (even without the summer sale discount), and the price will go up once it’s out. So grab a few friends (up to eleven), but one or two will work, and get putting.
Those who lack friends can choose to play in public matches instead, and who knows, you might make a few along the way. You can also play Golf With Your Friends solo, but there’s a reason it’s not called Golf With Yourself. Solo play is really only useful for getting some practice in so that you can better obliterate your friends. Because what may start out as a friendly bout of mini golf will likely turn into a cutthroat competition where only the strong survive.
One of the smartest moves Golf With Your Friends makes is to allow all players to golf at once. Nobody has to worry about waiting their turn, and there’s no collision, so other people’s balls don’t get in your way, and playing the game is simple, too. Aim your golf ball, set a power level, and then let her fly. With any luck, you’ll find your way somewhere near the hole after only a modest amount of strokes. Who knows, maybe you’ll make it there with just one whack.
As for whacks: you get twelve of them before you stroke out, or two minutes, whichever comes first, and don’t expect to even make it to the hole on some maps, especially on the first try. A few of them play out more like a puzzler platformer than a mini golf hole. Many require some remarkable trick shots to even come close to landing a hole in one, and I imagine on some holes it’s nearly impossible unless you strike it lucky. Once you make it into the hole, you can spectate other players until the timer runs out. Be sure to make fun of them and play head games in order keep the upper hand. Golf With Your Friends is fun, but you do want to win, don’t you?
If classic mode gets boring, then you can enable some custom options to help make Golf With Your Friends truly ridiculous. Enable ball collision and now your friends can help (and harm) each other. Turn on low gravity and knock your balls into orbit, or couple low gravity with bouncier balls for some really great shenanigans. Even consider turning on non-ball shaped balls. Now try landing a hole in one with a square shaped ball. You can even make it so that each player has a randomly shaped ball each hole. May the luckiest mini golfer win.
Of the six levels planned, three are currently playable, with a fourth (a haunted house) nearly complete. There are ideas for other themes, such as candy land and carnival levels, but developer Blacklight Interactive is open to community suggestions, and is willing to put aside their own plans if the community rallies together behind something they’d prefer. Also planned is a level editor to help make your mini golf dreams a reality. There’s plenty more on their roadmap, including more sound effects, music, critters to help the levels feel alive, and additional custom options. All of which is subject to change or get cut completely.
Much like the vast majority of early access games out there, Golf With Your Friends is still in its infancy. Even lacking content, what’s there is fun. It is a little rough around the edges, but updates frequently squash bugs, fix crashes, and tend to other niggles. Over the course of a couple hours, Golf With Your Friends went from a game barely on my radar to one I fully expect to return to regularly.