by Howie Howard
reviewed on PC
Hitting the links
Cursed to Golf is a 2-D platform action game with roguelike card play features. It iss billed as being a golf game but that in reality doesn't fully describe this title at all. Cursed to Golf is more of a game that uses golf features or elements in order to tell the story. The story here centres on a champion golfer who is playing their last shot on the 18th hole in the biggest golf championship of all time. The weather suddenly turns bad and a lightning strike sends the champ down to play a very weird brand of golf in purgatory. The goal is to make your way through 18 holes of golf in order to return to a normal golf playing existence and life.
Cursed to Golf, developed by Indie game house Chuhai Labs is rather simplistic in nature with it's keyboard and mouse control, but it definitely is not simple to play. It has simple pixelated graphics to go along with a nice snappy song playing in the background, that can be turned off if wanted. There are 18 challenging levels of gameplay for the golfers to test their golfing skills. If a golfer fails on any hole then he will be sent back to start the hole over again until it is completed successfully before moving on to the next. Make it through all 18 holes and the golfer is allowed to regain life and return to a more normal manner of golf play in the real world.
It's All About Mastering The Tools Of Golf While In Purgatory
There are elements to Cursed to Golf that need to be learned and mastered. The first is the tools of the golfers trade. The entirety of the golf players bag consist of a driver, an iron and a wedge. There is no putter and there's no need for any other golf clubs. The driver is used to hit the ball long distance, the iron is for medium and the wedge obviously takes care of short distances. Distance for each of the three clubs can further be determined by adjusting the power and elevation. After that, where the ball lands is pretty much determined by luck.
To better deal with the luck factor of where the shot will land, is the card deck. Just like in other roguelike card deck games, cards are picked up along the way by purchasing and by trading cards in your deck for better cards. Trading and purchase of cards can happen when a store is unlocked. Even with the ability to trade cards you need to be certain that you will never need a card again because once it has been traded it cannot be recovered. I found out that keeping even the basic cards can avoid some tense moments later on.
An Ace In The Hole
The cards are called Ace cards and they provide for a varied enhancement to a golf shot. The beginner cards can supply you with a do-over or a practice shot. Other card benefits can be an immediate par increase which in effect increases the number of shots allowed to finish any given hole. Note, par for every hole in purgatory is set at five shots so keeping the par increasing card(s) is imperative because most will take more than five shots. There are advanced cards and some of them can do amazing things with a purgatory golf ball. Some of the best effects change the action of a shot. The best ones are, changing the ball's direction mid-air or transforming it into a steerable rocket. There are cards that will turn a ball in to ice and that in turn freezes water hazards making the water function like normal terrain. So as you can see, things in purgatory aren't normal, but when used correctly cards can save your game, or give you your life back eventually.
The course consists of multi-layers and there are the standard sand and water trap hazards. These golf hazards act as barriers if the golfer has poor shot selection or fails in using the ball spin option. Fall into the sand, and only the wedge can get you out. Fall in to a water trap, and you lose a shot as well as being relegated back to where the shot originated. There are other unnatural barriers like TNT that just so happens to be blocking a short cut. Have the correct card in the deck and the TNT can be exploded thus allowing access to the short cut. Since each hole is multi-level in nature there are walls that the ball can bounce off of along with small intermediate spots that the golfer needs to drive the ball on to. Once the ball lands on the end spot that contains the hole with its flag then that level or hole is completed. It's that simple, well, not really, but it is challenging.
Purgatory Is Par For This Course...
Since each different hole can fill more than your screen can show at any one time, the WASD keys are used to scroll the screen so you can see what lies ahead. Even with that, sometimes a shot is nothing more than just a shot in the dark. It sometimes feels like luck is involved more than golf skills. Completing a hole relies on smart game play, how the card deck is utilized and what par is for the hole. I previously mentioned that the card that adds to the par, but have not mentioned a small statue that is present in a random spot on each hole. Hitting the statue with a shot will add a random number of additional shots to the par. However, the statue is sometimes located in such a spot that more shots could be used trying to smash it than would normally be used up by passing it by.
The game uses the golf word par to give a number of how many shots a hole has to be completed in. In reality using the word par in place of number of shots allowed is a misnomer because completing a hole under par carries no benefit. That might just be the developers way of making the game be more golf like. However, even though Cursed to Golf really isn't a sports game or a game of real golf, it does hold a whole lot of value when it comes to fun. The graphics aren't the latest and greatest but the feeling of accomplishment of actually negotiating your way past each level is worth the price of admission. It's also worth a bunch of satisfaction knowing that you indeed did escape purgatory, finally!
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A very well developed golf in name only game that is a barrel of fun to play. Comprehensive tutorial.
Replayability may be an issue after you make your way out of purgatory, however the course layout does randomly change