Golfing is a sport that requires precision, an aptitude for physics, along with a healthy dose of luck. Over the lifespan of gaming, golf games have simulated the sport, mocked it, and often times created arcade experiences somewhat representing the nuances that come with the territory as well. Golf Peaks, a new puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch, utilizes the hobby lightly, while entirely avoiding almost every mechanic of golf itself… and I’m ok with that.
Golf Peaks is a logic-based lightweight puzzle game that just so happens to be golfing-themed. When you start your first level you’ll be introduced to the simplistic methods of the game. Instead of having to manage clubs, drive lengths, or putting, you’re just provided with a few play cards that influence how your ball can move around the level. This combined with 4-way directional selection on where your ball will travel are what makes up the entirety of the gameplay.
Courses are built on a tile-based grid, and for meaningful reason. Those movement cards dictate what your ball can do. For example, you may see an arrow with a number “2”. This translates to your ball rolling two grid spaces from wherever it currently is placed. As later levels unlock for you, these cards become more complex, in that they will include jumps and combinations of movement types that must be utilized to complete each puzzle course.
It just so happened that early on I was recognizing this type of logic gameplay being used. Months back I had purchased a board game called Robot Turtles that fundamentally taught younger children basic principles of coding & logic. This board game also used a tile grid, and had movement and action cards that had to be played in order to navigate your turtle around the board to find its way to a goal, which in this case was a shiny gem. Golf Peaks is built around that same introductory logic, and instead of turtles…they went with golf.
I’m not at all opposed to the thematic choice that the developers went with here, but I’d love to know the backstory on what led them to choose golf of all things. That being said, having gone with this creative path, it does produce a very Zen-like player experience that ultimately offers a pretty stress-free time with the sport. Relaxing background music and subtle sound effects accompany minimalistic and neutral soft tone visuals that make a unified identity for this title.
With an offering of 110 courses in all, I found the difficulty to be scaled on the easier side of the genre. In fact, I felt almost no challenge at all in roughly the first 30 levels I played. Advancing through the stages, new golf-themed obstacles will be unveiled which serve to thwart the player’s previous strategies. From mud sinks, to water, and the inevitable sand trap, each of these variables creates a refreshed mechanic for the player to overcome. While these aid in challenging the player here and there, you’ll only ever encounter a small selection of puzzles that can stump you for a bit. Nothing ever felt unachievable for me, and personally I take this as a reasonably good balance. Hitting a blocking level inside of a linear progression puzzle game like this always frustrates me, and Golf Peaks never came across as too difficult forcing me into that scenario.
With lightweight and straightforward puzzle solving mechanics, combined with a golf aesthetic and some sprinkled in nuances of the sport without any of the fuss, Golf Peaks is a pretty good time for a few hours. I’d love to see some DLC for the game become available to expand out the base content, but since the game has a $4.99 entry price, it’s easy to get reasonable value out of this one for a quick fix on a business trip, or just a game to unwind with for a few nights.
Golf Peaks Review
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Golf Peaks blends logic-based puzzle gameplay with golfing aesthetics for the visual presentation. The game is neither a great golfing game, or really a challenging puzzle game as most of the levels are fairly easy and straightforward to solve, and the sport serves primarily as just window dressing. That doesn’t mean to say that the overall experience still isn’t polished and fun. Golf Peaks lands on the Nintendo Switch for a meager $4.99, and for that you’ll get a few hours of relaxed puzzle fun. It’s a decent alternative to hitting the real links on a given Sunday afternoon.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.