Did you ever expect a golf game would ever make you feel something other than… bored? I’ve got no love for the sport, aside from the mini and crazy varieties. Golf Club Wasteland is a mix of the latter, but all told, it doesn’t really matter. I didn’t stick around for the golf.
Golf Club Wasteland doesn’t just give you 30+ challenging stages where you need to get a ball from one end of the stage to the hole in another location. It tells a story. The story of how humans fucked up the earth thanks to the super-rich 1% and their arrogance. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Release Date: September 3rd, 2021
Developer: Demagog Studio
Publisher: Untold Tales
Availability: PSN (Digital)
After ruining the good thing they had going for them on Earth, those who could afford it, left the planet for a fresh start on Mars – a planet where humans can’t even breathe. That’s how you know you’ve fucked up – you run away to a planet where you die outdoors. Wonderful.
The super-rich pricks now treat Earth as their golf club, a place to play a few holes and not learn a single lesson.
The game is broken up into 35 levels and you can either play it on challenge mode or story mode. If you want a challenge, you’ll have to get the ball in the hole in a set amount of attempts. If you want the story, you can smack that ball around all day long and suffer no punishment.
I played on the story mode because life is challenging enough, thank you very much. And I’m glad I did. Without the pressure of making the shots count, I could listen to the in-game radio that transmits from Mars. This is how you get your story.
The golf side of the game is perfectly fine. You knock the ball around and try to get to the hole. Standard stuff and it’s not doing anything we haven’t seen before in a golf puzzle game, at least not in terms of its gameplay. I liked looking out for the secrets in each level; the tubes and pathways that would deliver the ball to the hole, provided I could make the tricky shot in the first place.
The levels were also worth exploring. Yes, it’s a 2D game and you can only move the camera around a 2D plane, but there’s still a lot to see and the developers crammed in plenty of not-so-subtle pokes at our world.
For me, once I started to really pay attention to the stories being told over the Radio Nostalgia from Mars channel, the golfing became secondary as I pushed through the chapters to get the next instalment from the radio.
There was a particularly moving scene that I did not see coming. The character you’re golfing as is not one of the 1% pricks. He’s a pilot who shipped people from Earth to Mars, and he has come back to Earth to play a bit of golf and be on the planet he sorely misses.
At one point, the RNFM DJ addresses the pilot directly. There’s no reply from the pilot. Instead, he takes off his helmet and curls up into a ball against the backdrop of a world he longs to live in. This scene caught me completely off guard and I still don’t know how to put it into words, but it moved me and in that moment, it made me consider what the fuck are we doing with this planet we call home.
If the mini-golf gameplay doesn’t speak to you, the story surely will get you thinking. There’s only one Earth and we’re all fucking it up. If you want to play your golf on expansive green fairways and not on the ruins of our planet, don’t act like a Bezos bellend or a Musk muppet. As one city poet said: “it’s not Earth that’s in trouble, it’s the people that live on it.”
Golf Club Wasteland PS4, PS5 Review
Golf Club Wasteland doesn’t reinvent the golf puzzle genre, at least not with its gameplay. It makes its mark by being surprisingly deep with its background story and moving tales of survival, loss, and regret. Deep stuff for a golf game, right?
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5.