The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
in video games is often portrayed in one way: As violence towards other beings
borne out of anger, fear, desperation, hatred, or general malevolence.
Dangerous Golf takes destruction out of those contexts and makes it creative,
liberating, and stimulating. The gameplay has accessible depth, balancing
fundamental emotional needs of immediate gratification with deeper states of
curiosity and engagement. Now, if you close your textbooks we can get down to
the business of how to topple 18 antique suits of armor and two perched lion
statues with a single flaming golf ball.
You start out with a tee shot in an area crowded
with eminently breakable and often expensive items. A Hall of Mirrors at a
French palace filled with magnums of champagne. An Australian gas petrol
station with exploding pumps on the outside and well-stocked shelves of food on
the inside. An English manor with enough high-falutin' trimmings to make your
upper lip get stiff. No matter where you are, you're going to want to break
The tee shot has no power or accuracy meters (the
camera doesn't follow the ball on this shot, either, for some unfathomable
reason), but it's not brainless either. Sometimes you're better off aiming
behind you or using the laser-site to knock over and break one item before the
ball pings off on its way to somewhere else.
Most of the boards give you a Smashbreaker next,
which lets you steer the ball using Halo-like warthog controls (steering by
using the right analog to control the camera) and apply gas/brake with the
triggers to slow or ramp up the ball's overall speed and bounciness. A
Smashbreaker ball also has extra heft, allowing it to bust porcelain urinals
and plow through bookcases. With pounding timpani accentuating its every
bounce, you'd think that little fiery ball was almost enjoying itself.
The time your ball is in Smashbreaker mode is
limited, so you want to end up near the pin, but not too close. The final putt
isn't about getting it in the hole; it's about arranging a trick shot to get it
there in style for bonus cash. During putts the ball is more like a homing
missile, so if you approximate the angles you can pull off that high-value
blind triple bank shot and also destroy some more objects along the way.
Dangerous Golf straddles different lines to
arrive at a difficult-to-achieve nexus of primal fun. The ball physics are
natural enough to produce any number of unpredictable outcomes, though players have
some – but not too much – control. The levels are open and inviting, but
contain some carefully placed objects like mop buckets that can explode forward
to trigger Rube Goldberg-like chain reactions for big dollars. You want to have
a plan, but often the best scores and the biggest booms occur when you just go
where the flaming ball bounces.
The many varied outcomes within each of the 100
holes is coupled with lots of depth layered on along the way. New areas open up
on familiar holes. Bombs can be strategically planted and detonated after you
sink your putt. Warp portals take you to new locations. Hazard areas or objects
are instant death if they are hit. Multi-flag holes are a chance to really rack
up the bucks. Pistol putts let you go airborne. Even objects in the
environments have their own surprises. Red pepper boxes explode into instant
Smashbreakers, crossbows fire off bolts that aid your cause, and a big-money
Secret Stash bottle hides on every hole. I once got a surprise Smashbreaker
when I somehow landed my ball pristinely on top of a car jack.
Dangerous Golf features couch co-op as well as
buildable playlists for online competitive play, and you can play the entire
career mode in co-op. Here you pass the controller, but instead of alternating
individual shots, the second player goes the entire hole in the wake of the
first player's debris. This creates a kind of friendly competition since the
better the first player does, the less the second has to smash.
not going to find every feature you've ever wanted packed into Dangerous Golf,
but what you will find is a title that nails its core gameplay concept. It lies
somewhere between precision and randomness – a place where, not accidentally, a
charming heart resides.
For more on Dangerous Golf, check out our Test Chamber for the game.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.