This Summer has been known as the season for second chances. Games launching in a bad state, then getting a resurgence thanks to a patch. Dangerous Golf originally released in a truly bad state, highlighted by frame rate issues, lack of explanation on its mechanics, and so much more. Now, several weeks down the line, the developers have spent the time to fix a lot of these issues, and thus giving us access to review the game. I am not a fan of this process – for a game that has been on digital shelves with a price tag for weeks, it feels shady in the worst ways. Still, I plunged into this review with an open mind, hoping the game would not crash and burn.
A little background here, Dangerous Golf is essentially Crash Mode from the Burnout series, which makes sense considering the developers are spun off of the original team that worked on that title. Players are presented with a room full of breakable objects with one goal; smash them all to itty bits. Sounds awesome right? How can this formula not work?
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
With the new patch the game starts off with a lengthy tutorial from a DJ, which bears a striking familiarity with the DJ in Burnout Paradise. He explains the ins and outs of the game…which is surprisingly lengthy. There is a lot going on here, and while the simple premise of smash and destroy sounds quaint, there are a lot of mechanics going on behind the scenes. This should have probably been spread out to respect the player’s intelligence. Give us the gist, then elaborate as the game progresses. Cramming all that knowledge in upfront guarantees we won’t retain most of it, especially given how long this unskippable tutorial is.
The career mode is pretty standard stuff. Pick an area and then a course. Do the fly-through of the level, and attempt to figure out what will cause the most damage monetarily. Items are highlighted to showcase noteworthy objects. Destroy enough and it activates a Smashbreaker, which then allows players to slowly guide the ball around the area, nail specific objects, and even unlock secret areas. Once done I had to sink my putt, which is about as much fun as it sounds. Also if I somehow missed this, my score was cut in half; talk about busting balls.
Watching things smash is satisfying. Glass shatters, vases tumble, and the destruction is what I wanted it to be. That’s it though, once I hammered through a few levels the tedium started setting in. Chasing scores is fun for a while, but once I learned the ins and outs of the system, it just couldn’t keep me going. I felt like something was missing. I loved Crash Mode in Burnout, I got excited when it was an event within the game, but perhaps basing an entire experience around it is not the most ideal way to craft a game.
While the game looks fine, the frame rate still suffers from time to time. Even with the latest patch, which makes me scared to see it before the changes were made. The environments are what I expected, and the physics are wonky at times. Banking a shot off a wall or a gong doesn’t always go as planned.
Dangerous Golf is a weird game. On paper it sounds perfect, exactly what I would want from the guys that made t-boning cars so much fun. However, in practice it feels empty. Nothing about it screams “one more hole.” Even with the changes they have made this is an empty game that lacks anything to keep me coming back for more.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.