This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available for PC.
I’ve played my fair share of golf games, from Mario Golf to Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and honestly, they all feel the same in that they’re simulations of the sport (although Mario Golf does have its own arcadey elements). So what happens when someone takes the basic sport of golf and puts it into a puzzle game? You get Golf Peaks, but is this weird sports/puzzle hybrid a hole-in-one?
The visuals here are nothing to write home over, as they overly visually appealing in the traditional sense. Instead, the visuals do wonders from a gameplay standpoint. Everything is clear to the player, with each type of environment and hazard looking unique, so players can get every bit of information they need from a single glance.
The goal in Golf Peaks is the same as any other golf game: get the ball in the hole. However, it’s done in a completely different way here, playing more like a puzzle game. Each course is set on a grid, and instead of simply swinging for the fences, you have a limited series of moves in each level. The moves vary from simply travelling across a certain amount of squares, to chipping over some squares, to chipping over some squares and then rolling over another square. The puzzle comes from using each level’s limited moveset to get the ball into the hole, made even more of a pain by the fact that if you use the wrong kind of move, you can go flying over the hole and off the edge of the course, needing a restart.
Each level also has plenty of other hazards to contend with, from bunkers that can only be chipped through, to quicksand that sinks your ball and force a restart, to water that basically does the same thing but respawns you at the nearest valid squares. There are also some less hazardous environmental elements, such as steep inclines, corners, and raised grid squares. The various levels often require some interesting manipulations of these hazards, such as purposefully sinking in the water to respawn somewhere more convenient, rebounding off raised surfaces to use up extra steps that a move has, or using bunker sand to stop short of falling off the ledge. The puzzles are interesting and quite fun, but sadly there isn’t much here in the game. There are 108 levels, and while that is a big number, most of the levels can be done quite quickly. On top of that, there are no extra game modes or options.
Golf Peaks is also quite limited from an audio standpoint. There is music which is admittedly quite relaxing, but it is nothing to get excited about nor is it memorable. The game also has few sound effects to work with, although what’s there is decent.
Golf Peaks is an interesting puzzle game. The visuals are very clear, allowing players to easily gauge hazards at a glance, and the levels themselves are quite well-done. The gameplay itself is quite good, and the way you have to manipulate hazards to your advantage is great. Sadly though, the 108 levels are over quite quickly, and with no extra gamemodes or options, there isn’t much here to keep you coming back.