Golf games with RPG mechanics are nothing new, but golf games that feature the dungeons and boss fights of traditional RPGs isn't something you see too often. RPGolf is a game that tries to split the difference between traditional RPGs and golf games, but the result is a game that isn't particularly satisfying in either arena. Instead of feeling like a neat hybrid of two genres, RPGolf feels like two shallow games that just so happen to occasionally smash against each other.
Dungeons and Driving Ranges
RPGolf is set on an island where everyone's favorite pastime has been interrupted by a monster invasion. No one on the island plays golf anymore because of how dangerous it is, but you-playing as a lone, golf-loving hero-can change all that by playing through nine holes of golf and defeating monsters and bosses along the way.
The way this works is surprisingly very simple. You control your character using a virtual d-pad and buttons to move them across an open world that features both enemies and golf holes. When roaming freely around, RPGolf controls a lot like an old Zelda game, and when taking on a hole of golf, the controls switch to a very simplified version of Everybody's Golf.
The idea of having to dungeon-crawl and golf in a single game sounds pretty goofy and potentially awesome, but the way it is implemented in RPGolf leaves quite a bit to be desired. For the most part, the game feels like a simplified RPG that also has a golf mini-game in it rather than something that blends both types of games together.
This could have been a game where you have enemies that want to have putting matches with you or minions that steal your balls if you don't deal with them appropriately. Instead, the only way you interact with enemies is by swinging a golf club like a sword at them and you only golf to sink holes or solve extremely simple dungeon puzzles. There are some systems that try to tie these two game types together, but their ability to bridge these two genres is tenuous at best.
Up your short game
On top of feeling disconnected, the two ends of RPGolf both feel half-baked. The dungeon-crawling features very little enemy, puzzle, or boss variety, and the golfing sports some cool features for modifying your shots, but the golf physics don't demand you use any of it. You can simply waltz through the game by leveling up your strength to kill enemies with one club swing and hit the golf ball straight toward the hole to complete the game with very little challenge.
In addition to its lack of challenge RPGolf is a pretty short game. It only features nine holes of golf and a handful of dungeons, neither of which take too much time to get through. After finishing the main game, there are other challenges you can take on, but given the game's simplicity, they hardly feel like they're worth pursuing.
The bottom line
RPGolf is comprised of two mediocre sets of mechanics that feel hastily stuck together. The RPG mechanics here are dead simple and the golfing offers no challenge. If there was something here to make these two game types intersect in interesting ways, RPGolf could skate by on being a novel experience. Regrettably, this is not the case, making for a game that just feels pretty bland and disjointed.