Golf is reduced to its rich essence here, but there’s still room for plenty of secrets.
I’m not sure you’ve played golf until you’ve played it in the moonlight. In the moonlight under the pink blossom – I think it’s blossom – with the fireflies coasting and the lanterns – I think they’re lanterns – shining from their perches. A Little Golf Journey will take you here, and early on in its campaign as well! World 2: night golfing! Blossom and fireflies! No need to worry about lost balls.
No need to worry about much of anything. A Little Golf Journey is ease itself. Across its neat, low-poly landscapes, you play a streamlined game of golf that still manages to capture the game’s precise pleasures and ASMR detailing. Move a little cursor around to direct your shot. Hold a trigger to stretch the shot further, but be aware that there will be more sway, more of a game of probabilities, to where the shot lands. Hold another trigger to steady your heart and battle the sway. Shoot! The rest is all detailing – move the camera about, reverse the camera – very useful this – so you can shoot from the perspective of where you want the ball to land. Knock the ball in the hole as economically as you can, and earn a bunch of stars for your performance.
You’ll want to look around, too. Not just because the levels are beautiful in their colourful simplicity, but because getting the ball in the hole quickly is going to mean hunting around for a path that may not immediately be apparent. Can you skip that entire corner by heading across the lake? Is it worth the risk of navigating trees, and of landing in the rough? Rough, like the bunker, removes your ability to hit out with a power shot, but maybe that’s a risk worth taking? And maybe that helpful island near the green isn’t purely ornamental.
Another reason: A Little Golf Journey is loaded with secrets. Early on I hit an invisible cube of a level – okay, nearly invisible – and it encouraged me to forget the green and instead hit a number of little targets within a certain time period. That done, I was back on the level map – I love a level map – and an entirely new path had opened up, taking me to a trick hole that was nothing like the gentle landscapes I’d been navigating before.
I love the secrets – and the one I’ve spoiled is merely touching on the depths here – and I love the stranger courses you can root out. But the true testament to A Little Golf Journey is how much I love the basic game, smartly pared back, beautifully poised. A bit of challenge – you need a certain number of stars to get past certain gates – but also a lot of shortcuts to uncover out there in the grass. A deft little wonder, best enjoyed in the moonlight.
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