Proof that golf is fast establishing itself as a genre unto itself: RPGolf Legends’ portmanteau paints a pretty clear picture of what to expect. The latest entry in ArticNet’s genre blending brand, this is a 16-bit The Legend of Zelda-esque pixel art escapade that just so happens to sprinkle putts into its traditional adventure gameplay mix. The plot is wafer-thin and almost always presented tongue-in-cheek, but you’ll be swinging through a small world map, defeating giant enemy crabs with the aid of a golf club’s spirit in order to resurrect mythical, magical courses.
You’ll be completing a number of quests, typically of the fetch variety, in order to build up your profile in the various towns you visit to earn rewards. Defeating enemies will fill up a magic meter allowing you to unlock the next hole in the area, and once you’ve opened up nine tees you can participate in tournaments. The golf subscribes to the classic NES Golf format, where the action takes place in 2D and you’re triple-clicking your way to victory. It’s simple, and outside of the wind, you don’t need to pay attention to the terrain.
Still, while the title is immaculately presented, with vibrant visuals and ear-worm chiptunes, the campaign structure feels padded, funnelling you into its brainless quests and unsatisfying combat in order to unlock its courses. This arbitrary gating swiftly grates, and while there are some great boss encounters – where you must play golf while dealing with giant sprite enemies – and surprises along the way, the developer has clearly stretched a good idea far too thin here.
If you yearn for the days of, say, Camelot’s Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color, then the fusion of sports and statistics may hold your attention here. But it’s best enjoyed in short bursts, as the tedium sets in quick, and will take a slice at your interest.