Vertiginous Golf: Review

Veterans of other golf games will find something new when stepping up to the green; the game plays more like 3D snooker, emphasising trick shots and precision to land home without accumulating a stratospheric high score.

The game starts off on the cobblestone streets of a dark, rainy town. The only place to go is inside what looks like a barbershop, but as you step inside and see a combination of TV screens, posters, and padded chairs lining around you, it’s clearly anything but. Enter Vertiginous Golf, a game that takes you off the streets and into the sunny skies. You play as a golf-club of your choosing, moving a lightning filled golf-ball, and navigating the course, if you so wish, through the eyes of a robotic hummingbird.

The courses, as a whole, are hugely reminiscent of Bioshock: Infinite. The game eschews traditional courses entirely, playing on lumpy, sky-high grounds covered with spinning propellers, conveyer belts, and sweeping walls. While it only gives you a putter and a wedge, these tools are all you’ll need. It’s post-modern mini-golf.

The interface is minimal, displaying two meters, one for stroke power, another for the amount of energy you have. Energy is built up through each swing, and is used to rewind, or to influence the movement of the ball on a surface through the ‘influenza bug’, a firefly on the ball.

Playing Vertiginous Golf is an eclectic mix of aggravation and relaxation; the soundtrack is plaintive and soothing, at first, but after a while it sinks into the background like so much elevator muzak. The courses are thrilling to beat, but sadistically designed segments are painful to play. There are conveyer belts and ramps that lead your ball to nowhere, propellers which threaten to blow you off course, and limitations like using only the putter on the green.
 Trying to tap a golf ball into a hole will make you feel less like Tiger, and more like Sandler
Putting is usually easy, but swinging can be unintuitive with the game turning the tiniest mouse-pushes into giant swings. Trying to tap a golf ball into a hole will make you feel less like Tiger, and more like Sandler. While the influenza bug can influence a shot, it often runs out of steam before it can really do anything. Most disappointingly, it’s nigh-impossible to hook a shot, making you rely more on ricochets and deflections.

The game also lacks a story, its multiplayer is currently non-existent, and none of the touted customization was seen in our many hours running through. It would do well with map editors and modding features.  Does it need these? No, but it would be a better game for it, and would likely attract more attention to its fields.

Though run through with these shortcomings, Vertiginous Golf is a fun enough game, with a charming atmosphere, derivative but intriguing style and an interesting new take on min-golf style puzzling. A few more straightforward greens would have been appreciated as a lead in to the deeper puzzling, but otherwise it’s an interesting and fun stab at PC golf.


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