Golf is boring. It’s the kind of sport you put on your television if you want to take a nap. Between the hushed announcers, soft clapping from the crowd, and overall lack of excitement that it generates, golf is pretty hopeless when it comes to being fun. So you would think that the best way to overcome the dullness of golf would be to add giant mechs, right? Regrettably, not even 100 foot robots can save golf from being what it always has been: boring.
I credit the fine folks at No Goblin for their idea of 100ft Robot Golf. On paper, this game should be fantastic. The initial trailers I watched had me incredibly excited to play the finished product. Sadly, the game itself just isn’t fun. The gameplay is a drag and the actual moment to moment mechanics of golfing aren’t enjoyable whatsoever.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, this guy sounds like he just hates golf so much that there’s no way he could enjoy a golfing video game!” This however isn’t true. I’ve played many golf games in the past and I typically think they are some of the best sports games if done correctly. In fact, I think I dislike 100ft Robot Golf even more because I know how a great golfing video game should work. I know that No Goblin was going for a more arcadey style golf experience but nonetheless, it still just doesn’t work.
Each character in the game has a different robot that they embody. Each robot has different abilities and swing styles to differentiate them from another so it’s nice to mix and match to find which character you like the most. Sadly, none of these characters can save the game from its awful golf mechanics. I never, at any point, felt like I had control over where I wanted to place my ball. Hitting the ball is imprecise and sloppy and I could rarely hit my ball exactly where I wanted it on the fairway even when I hit a near perfect shot. I was by no means expecting the precision of a Tiger Woods PGA Tour game, but I expected the mechanics to be at least somewhat sound.
One of my biggest issues with the golfing in 100ft Robot Golf is that you don’t necessarily need to put your ball in the hole in the fewest strokes, but you instead just need to get it in the hole before your opponent. In the game’s campaign, each level has you facing off against an AI adversary where it’s simply a race to the hole. I could hit the ball 50+ times and my opponent could hit the ball maybe 5-6 times but as long as I sink my final putt before them, I win the hole. This method just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and completely goes against the way golf is meant to be played. You can receive point bonuses for putting your ball in the hole in fewer strokes, but it still has no effect on the overall outcome of who wins the hole. There are separate game modes where you can focus on stroke play rather than this race to the hole method of play, but it’s still odd to me that this is the default game mode.
The game’s campaign is pretty boring and tries much too hard to be funny. Its story is nonsensical, which is fine, but I don’t even know how I would explain the plot to you — so I won’t. Cutscenes are meant to look similar to Japanese anime and the voice acting is purposefully bad. Overall, I just felt like it was trying too hard. The concept of giant robots playing golf is funny in its own right, but No Goblin really tries to amp up the laughs with its quirky story and unsavory characters. I went into the campaign ready to laugh and enjoy myself but I instead became irritated by the game’s obnoxiousness near the third or fourth level.
Luckily, the McElroy brothers are 100ft Robot Golf’s saving grace when it comes to comedy. Justin, Griffin and Travis McElroy serve as the game’s three commentators and their banter is hilarious. You can tell that most of their commentary is impromptu which makes it that much more funny. These three really save the game in a lot of ways and make the golfing that much more tolerable.
While we are being positive, I’d have to say that I do love the game’s soundtrack. It has some fantastic jazz inspired music that really is a joy to listen to. I’d even go as far to say that leaving the game open on its title screen and listening to the theme music was one of my favorite parts of my time with 100ft Robot Golf.
You can play 100ft Robot Golf using PSVR but I didn’t enjoy my time doing so. Using PSVR helps give the robots a nice sense of scale but other than that, I thought it was a pretty useless addition that didn’t improve or lessen the gameplay experience for me. I do, however, commend No Goblin for including PSVR functionality and I would love to see more developers do this in the future. Even if you end up not enjoying a certain game in VR, it’s nice to have the functionality available.
100ft Robot Golf is a great example of why quality gameplay needs to always come first. You can have a great idea for a game, back it up with solid writing and fantastic music, but if in the end it just isn’t fun to play, then it will always turn out poorly. Beating up other giant robots while playing golf should be a lot more fun than it is. As it stands, I’d rather watch the PGA Tour on my TV than play 100ft Robot Golf — and that says all you need to know about it.