Cursed to Golf throws you right into the golf action as soon as you begin the game. You are playing in the biggest golf tournament of your career, and on the final hole. Victory is within your grasp, and this is where you begin playing. Cursed to Golf teaches you how to select the amount of power you want with your swing and how to select which angle you want to hit the ball at. Then, perhaps the greatest lesson of all; it teaches you not to be outside holding a golf club when there is a big storm, or you, like our poor protagonist, might become a lightning rod. After a bolt of lightning strikes them, they fall to the ground and sit up, but instead of their lovely, healthy complexion, we see them the colour of a white bed sheet. The ground opens up and swallows our poor golfer, plunging them into the depths of the Earth.
Once the golfer lands with a thud, we meet The Scotsman. Wearing his bright green golf outfit, this Scottish golfer ghost informs you that you have died and are now in Golf Purgatory. But the good news is that if you are as good of a golfer as you say you are, there is a chance to ascend and return to your regular life. You are now known as The Cursed Golfer, and you must get through 18 holes on this course to get out of here.
Now, the rules of golf are different here in purgatory. Instead of counting the shots required to get your ball into each cup, the game counts down from five; when you run out of strokes, you are done and will have to start from the very beginning again. Luckily for the players, there are ways to increase the number of strokes that you have to use. Each of the course holes has little statues called "Shot Idols." By hitting these idols, you will add extra strokes to your overall total, depending on their colour: silver will give you two strokes and gold will add four. Sometimes these are tricky to hit, but it will be worth taking the extra stroke to break them.
You only have three golf clubs that you can use: a driver, an iron, and a wedge. Before you hit your ball, you can switch to any of the three unless you are in a sandpit (bunker); here, you must use the wedge to get out. You have a bird's eye camera that you can use to look around each hole and figure out where the flag is and what the fastest route is to get there. If areas look like TNT is blocking them, don't worry; you can explode these by hitting one with your golf ball. The explosion may throw the ball in a different direction than you expect, so be aware of that. If you run out of strokes, you will be sent to the very beginning to rechallenge the course. The Scotsman will show up to teach you a unique ability that will put a spin on your ball to make it go forwards or backwards when it hits the ground; this will make things easier!
There are multiple hazards that get in your way in Cursed to Golf. Some are the types you would regularly see on a course — like sand, tall grass in the rough, and water — but many others make this course unique from any you have seen before. Some of the hazards include graves with hands that come through the dirt to steal your ball, fans that blow your ball around, TNT, and platforms to get in the way of your shot. These hazards sound unfair, but you do have a way to fight back: Ace Cards.
These cards give you special abilities that you can use anytime you want, like:
- Mulligan Cards — let you redo your last shot.
- Lead Weight Card — drops your ball and prevents it from rolling.
- Extra Stroke Cards — add strokes to your total Stroke Count.
If you are running low on cards, be sure to head to The Scotsman's golf shop, Eterni-Tee, as he will have a selection of cards to purchase. While you are there, check out all his golf outfits in stock. They are super colourful, look fantastic, and the best part is that they are free! So you have no reason not to pick your favourite; there are even outfits based on Mario and Luigi's colours.
While on your journey to challenge all 18 holes of this evil golf course, you can select which route you would like to take. Some of the stops on the map will get you money or Ace Cards, but they usually have a more challenging curse level to complete right after. Some routes include stops at the Eterni-Tee shop or booths with an attendant asking you what path you would like to take. As you complete these different stops on the map, you are shown a screen that shows how long it took you to complete, how many strokes you used, how many cards were played, and how much money you made. Each attempt you have played is shown on the bulletin board outside The Scotsman's store, so you can look back and see how bad some of your runs were. You would think it would get repetitive, constantly starting back at the beginning, but the holes that appear are always different. This is because of the Greenskeeper; a devil that can bend Golf Purgatory whenever he wants. Every attempt will be unique, with at least a hundred holes available.
Cursed to Golf is one of the first golf games I have been excited to play since Mario Golf on the N64; this looks like a platforming golf game! The beautiful visuals are full of variety with all the different areas you challenge, platforms to traverse, vibrant colours, and an adorable lead character. The game has super-catchy music that is unique for every new hole you play on. The song that plays when you first get the tour of the level and the position of the flag reminds me of the track preview before you race in a Mario Kart game. The game is full of charm, and even though it looks super cutesy, it will challenge you — or just outright kick your butt! There is a lot of thinking and strategy required here. Completing 18 holes without running out of strokes is much harder than you would expect!
Cursed to Golf is definitely one of the best golf games I have played in a long time. It captures the feel of classic 2D golf games of the NES and SNES eras, with a fun story and unique gameplay. Thanks to the huge variety of stages; every round feels new and fresh; they were never the same twice. Using all the Ace Cards you acquire to help you out was a lot of fun, letting you figure out different strategies for all the hazards you come across during your runs. If you get frustrated easily, I will warn you this will not be a game you can beat in one sitting — unless you are amazing, and if so, good job! There is tons of replayability here, and I look forward to trying out everything this title offers. After hours of playing, I have learned to double-check my shots' angles before hitting the button. I've wasted so many strokes on shots that I didn't plan out properly!
Cursed to Golf (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Cursed to Golf is a unique game that combines a platformer with golfing. With vibrant, retro-inspired visuals and a fun story, this game offers tons of replayability and challenge!