The music and sound effects are very basic, bordering on annoying. Best played with the volume turned down, especially if you're chatting with friends.
The definition of passable. There are some nice themes and cool designs, but the everything looks a little low-budget, with visual bugs that can take away from the experience.
Good fun in small doses, especially when playing with friends. The controls are simple and easy to pick up, with courses that play with the laws of physics for some interesting game mechanics, even if some of the holes aren't particularly well designed.
Online play works well, but the included courses aren't the best, and on console there is no ability to play custom courses. Physics feel a little inconsistent at times, and overall the package lacks a little polish.
A good mix of achievements, with some that will unlock by simply playing through the game, and others that require a bit more skill.
May 24, 2020
I have to admit, I really enjoy a good round of mini-golf. Despite the annoyance of having to queue for holes if it’s busy, or the possibility of having to fish a wayward ball out of a pond with your club, it’s always a decent laugh. Crucially, it’s a game that’s at its best when played with friends or family, a final reprieve when the idea of meeting for a drink down the pub yet again seems unbearable. Unfortunately, a quick, quirky round of golf isn’t always readily available, and friends may be entire continents away. This is where Golf With Your Friends comes in, allowing people the world over to connect over the thrill of hitting a small ball into a hole, in digital form.
Golf With Your Friends features a basic control scheme that is extremely simple to pick up. Left stick controls the power, right stick the direction, with a press of RB allowing you to make small adjustments to your aim. You also have a free camera, giving you 15 seconds to have a quick zoom around the course before you take your shot, but that’s the majority of what you’ll be doing in Golf With Your Friends. You have the option to play alone, but like a real game of mini-golf, this is best played with others. Online play works well - you don’t have to wait for other players to take their shot, meaning you are free to play the hole without interruption. Once you’ve sunk the ball, you can spectate any player still remaining, with a strict time limit meaning you won’t be waiting too long to jump to the next hole.
There are a variety of themed courses to play through, with pirates, ghosts, space stations and museums just a few of the themes you’ll find in the mix - although, disappointingly, the console version doesn’t feature the roster of community-made courses that the PC game does. Regardless of which course you decide the play you’ll find each consecutive hole gets increasingly complex - the first is normally a simple shot, but by the time you get to hole eighteen, everything goes batshit. The benefit of this being a video game and not, you know, actual golf, means that the developer is also free to play with reality, leading to some interesting setups, such as miniature black holes that will draw your ball into their gravitational field, or cannons that fire the ball across the course.
Despite these additions, the courses aren’t all particularly well designed. You’ll find the classic blend of risk and reward in some of the holes, with an easy shot that will see you make the par, or a trickier shot that might even offer a hole in one. Most of the time, though, the trickier shots are either too easy, meaning everyone will take it; or too hard, punishing players that try them. In the same vein, it’s rarely obvious as to what the ‘right way’ to play is, especially on the longer holes, with the default time limit sometimes so short that I’ve had games where all eight players ran out of time. The PC release avoids this issue with the wide variety of custom maps from the community, but on console you’re stuck with the default collection - at least at the time of this review.
Golf With Your Friends employs mostly realistic physics, allowing players to calculate angles and see the ball ricochet perfectly towards the hole, rewarding you with that same sense of satisfaction as a normal round of mini-golf does. This satisfaction only lasts the first time you make that hit, though, as once you know exactly the angle and power to hit the ball with on a hole, you’ll be able to recreate it almost every time - which isn’t all that fun, especially when you end up easily beating a friend who has never played before. On top of that, the physics system often clashes with the out-of-this-world mechanics that are thrown in, resulting in a game that tries to straddle the line between realistic and fantastic, but not quite achieving either.
This doesn’t mean that Golf With Your Friends isn’t fun to play, but it lacks well-designed courses, as well as a bit of polish and nuance. The visuals aren’t much to look at, with quite basic 3D models and textures, and the soundtrack is generic across all courses, even annoying on some. Nonetheless, grab a few friends and you’ll find there is fun to be had - but you’re unlikely to find yourself sticking around for more than a few rounds.