Golf Zero review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Colin Lane Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes

Even if I?m not a huge fan of Golf Zero, it definitely gets points for creativity. It?s a golf game, reimagined as a twitchy platformer, with bullet-time slow-motion every time you take a shot. I like to imagine that the game came about when the developer was watching The Matrix while streaming The Masters and also concurrently playing Super Meat Boy.

True, Golf Zero is a lot less violent than at least two of those influences, but that, to me, is a perfect encapsulation of this game: Super Meat Boy + The Matrix + golf.

Does it work, though? I?m a little more on the fence on that front. It?s certainly frustrating at times. Obviously, if you?re trying to be an SMB-style platformer, a little frustration is a given, but I feel like this goes beyond what you might expect. Making just the right jump when you?re trying to dodge bullets or buzzsaws is hard enough without also adding in slow-motion shooting (driving? teeing off?), but that?s what you have to do here.

It also doesn?t help that the jumping is a little floaty, probably largely because of the bullet time jumps/shots. While precise jumping isn?t exactly necessary — the aim is to get the ball in the hole, not to speedrun through short levels — it makes it difficult to figure out exactly what angle to jump and shoot at. Along similar lines, the ball physics seem wonky, in that you can never quite tell just how strong your shots will be or how far the balls will travel. Obviously, figuring all that out is meant to be part of the charm of the game, but it does make success seem almost as much a function of luck as of skill.

Still, we?re talking about a fairly inexpensive platformer — with, again, some neat ideas. Golf Zero won?t be the best golf game or platformer you?ve ever played, but, if nothing else, it?s kind of interesting.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Golf Zero PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B-