100FT ROBOT GOLF Review
Being of the most highly (read:only) marketed titles at IndieCade’s Sony display, there were few at the festival who didn’t know what developer No Goblin’s debut game 100FT ROBOT GOLF was. Granted, it’s not too hard to figure out what a game with such a title might entail, but 100FT ROBOT GOLF wastes no time filling you in regardless. With giant mech golfers using Earth’s cities as their alternate back nine, you can bet there’s more eagles, explosions, and EVANGELION references than you can swing a 100 ft driver at. That being said, there are plenty of aspects of this game that get stuck in the rough, and it’s up to your love for the game of kings as to whether or not this is acceptable. You might prefer something like fantasy golf, and you can get expert picks for the tour championship to get you started. Or you might prefer 100FT robots. It’s up to you!
100FT ROBOT GOLF pits up to four gigantic golfers against each other on courses built on top of cities, mountain ranges, and even the ocean floor. This game would be You’ve got a simplified set of clubs consisting of a giant driver, a giant wedge, and a giant putter to complement your giant golf ball, but each of the eleven robots has their own special abilities and piloting system to let them stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, the golf functions pretty much how you’d expect. Higher pitches sacrifice distance, sand traps put a dent in your game, and, for whatever reason, wind still affects the trajectory of your 50 ton golf ball. Just shoot straight and try to land on the fairway, in a similar way that you would if you played a simulator like this one.
POWER RANGERS: RETIREMENT FORCE wasn’t that big of a hit in the states
The one problem here is that the fairway is littered with all sorts of structures and settlements, which makes getting a clear shot a challenge. Luckily, your robots are powerful enough to knock these structures down, creating openings for you while also incidentally littering the course with rubble that will obstruct the competition. Your average hole will see an entire city leveled in the name of shaving strokes, and the mayhem only intensifies when playing for time.
You read that right. In addition to playing for the lowest score (y’know, the traditional system of play for robot golf), 100FT ROBOT GOLF can also be played as a mad dash to the green, with the first robo-golfer to make it in the cup being declared the winner. In this mode, accuracy, stroke count, and general fair play are all thrown out the window. While this race mode allows for plenty of silly fun and deliberate sabotage of opposing golfers, it stands as the strongest suit of 100FT ROBOT GOLF for no other reason than injecting speed into an otherwise sluggish sport.
For many citizens, “Fore!” was the last thing they heard
While 100FT ROBOT GOLF provides hours of shamelessly stupid fun, it also shoots its fair share of bogeys. The three-to-four hour long campaign, in an attempt to emulate a really bad anime, utilizes 2004-era Newgrounds-tier animation and intentionally amateur voiceovers. This would be funny if it were relegated to a bit, but evolves into post-ironic painfulness only a few minutes in. In addition, the humor misses the mark on a regular basis, relying mainly on parodying EVANGELION and a select few other Japanese robot shows. But even I, a weeb of a particularly heavy caliber, wasn’t laughing at the in-jokes. so it’s hard to say who exactly this script was targeting. It’s puzzling, then, that the actual match commentary, which appears both in single player and splitscreen, is exceptional. Ignoring the gimmick of the campaign and sticking squarely to the golf, the play-by-play is entertaining and actually sounds professional, even if the player begins to notice repeated lines after a few hours.
It’d be one thing if the joke narrative was the only thing that fell flat, but 100FT ROBOT GOLF doesn’t really look good, either. Yeah, the low-res robots and bright, simple color palette lend the game the anime-flavored aesthetic that it’s going for, but that says nothing for the animations. Robots, ironically enough, look choppy when swinging, and the fact that there isn’t a jump animation, but rather a static midair pose that is crudely assumed for the duration of the jump, is unbelievable. More often than not, buildings will simply be uprooted in their entirety, rather than shattered, and a lot of the particle effects in particular are wanting.
Kind of a mess
Sounds pretty damning, doesn’t it? Were it any other kind of game, 100FT ROBOT GOLF’s flaws would’ve secured it a hard pass. That being said, 100FT ROBOT GOLF has two things going for it. For one, the entire premise is a joke. It’s about robots, taller than buildings, playing novelty golf. The jarring graphics and bad writing don’t do any more to pull me out of the experience than the actual name of the game does. Even the PSVR functionality, tacked-on and unplayable as it is, exists solely for comedic effect. Though its individual parts are weak, 100FT ROBOT GOLF still manages to hold itself together as a greater entity, successfully lampooning the sports genre in ways the story could not.
Secondly, 100FT ROBOT GOLF is before all else a party game, and everything outside of its couch co-op functionality is secondary in concern. We all know that there are too few splitscreen titles these days, so the fact that 100FT ROBOT GOLF not only brings golf to the local venue, but manages to turn it into a raucous melee, is highly commendable. No one could have guessed that this game would even have a campaign mode, and its inclusion is nothing more than a (bad and barely edible) cherry on top.
100FT ROBOT GOLF is rough around the edges, but what green isn’t? What really matters is the absolute insanity that you and three of your friends can get up to with some giant robots, golf clubs, and a city to play around with them in. This isn’t a game that was meant to be played alone, so grading it on that criteria is missing the point completely. If you ever thought PACIFIC RIM could use the PGA treatment, or if you and your pals just want to despoil man’s most revered sport, then this is the title for you.
Reviewed on PS4