Golf, eh? A gentleman's game, leisurely paced and frightfully mannered. Not the sort of real world sport you might immediately think to add giant mech suits and mass destruction to – but 100ft Robot Golf brings heavy metal mech mayhem to the PlayStation 4's first real-time PlayStation VR compatible golf game.
The good news here is that developer No Goblin's combination of giant anime-flavoured combat-ready robot armour suits with small little balls makes for an excellent addition to the PS4's catalogue. And the option to play from the mech's point of view thanks to PlayStation VR is absolutely genius.
First things first: 100ft Robot Golf is a pared-down version of golf, with just three clubs to choose from (Driver, Wedge, and Putter). But there are enough tactical elements to elevate this above your traditional crazy golf, with wind speed, hook, and fade options for clever ball flight paths and the ability to add back or top-spin to shots. Of course, when the course gets in your way – for example, your ball comes to rest behind an office block – you can simply take your giant golf club to the building and smash it to pieces – thus leaving your next shot clear.
This course "redesigning" is a blast, and when coupled with the fact that you can handily sabotage an opponent's shot by leaping in front of it, the urge to be extremely unsporting is almost too strong to resist. Oh, and the mechs come with weapons, so unleashing a volley of missiles at an opponent just as they tee off may be frowned upon by the marshals, but it's too much fun not to try...
The "sport" of 100ft Robot Golf essentially sees you taking part in televised coverage of several tournaments as the main campaign works through exotic locations, bringing in different characters for you to control or beat – each complete with a cheesy Manga back story, which plays out in an enjoyable '90s cartoon style episode at the start of each game. You get to experience the life and loves of the robot golf pilots; some tales pack excitement and bitter rivalry, others are romantically involved with each other – these character stories really add flavour to what is a very silly but great new take on golf.
Of course, none of this would be any good at all if the basic gameplay wasn't up to par, but we're delighted to report that while lacking a little polish, 100ft Robot Golf delivers a killer fun-factor that golf games have possibly been lacking.
You can play traditional stroke play which sees you battling to sink your ball in the fewest shots, but the main system is a kind of speed golf – where you and your opponents all tee off at the same time and rush to be the first to the hole, taking as many shots as needed (and laying waste to copious scenery along the way).
The single player options are fun – each robot has different control mechanisms, and this variety augments a nice selection of possible play styles. When you've mastered the mech of your choice, you can take it into golfing battle with up to four players, either local split screen co-op or online. If the frantic real-time destruction of speed golf isn't to your liking, you can set up a classic turn based match or tinker even further with custom rules – there's a good number of options, especially when you consider the price of the package.
The gameplay works well in both normal and VR modes; the novelty of stomping around the courses as a mech that wouldn't look out of place in Pacific Rift or a Transformers movie is pure joy. There are a good number of customisation options available in the custom hangar where you can create a unique robot build to show off online using parts unlocked or bought win the medals that you win in competition.
But the VR mode really elevates this beyond the choice of "normal" golf games out there; it works well and it is addictive being able to look down at the puny human buildings around you – then smash them for fun. The cartoony graphics are crisp and inviting, and the gameplay mechanics work well. We found not a trace of motion sickness while playing 100ft Robot Golf, which is a bonus for those with PlayStation VR headsets worried about vertigo.
It is also nice that decent effort has been put into the commentators, too – the cheeky McElroy Brothers fresh from YouTube drop some laugh-out-loud lines, including reactions to your actions. An example of the kind of gags that you'll find: "Is your name Ryan Gosling? Because that was a beautiful drive!"
100ft Robot Golf delivers a winning combination of sci-fi anime and nicely playable golf. It won't win any awards for production values, but it's such a fun solo experience and manic laugh in multiplayer that you'll be happy to look past that. Importantly for PlayStation VR owners, piloting a 100ft Robot is a joy in virtual reality mode – but the core gameplay works fine in the standard not-as-cool regular mode.