It's been almost a decade since Psyonix popularized the mixture of motorized vehicles and soccer. Naturally, that has led to the question of what similar sort of hybrid could work. Perhaps motorized vehicles and football? How about cars and basketball? Developer Hugecalf Studios, working with publisher Secret Mode, believes it has the answer with Turbo Golf Racing.
Turbo Golf Racing is exactly what it sounds like. It's the mixture of powered-up motor cars with golf. It's an idea that sounds almost ridiculous on paper, but after playing several rounds, it's one that works shockingly well. That is, it works well with a crowd. With a full party, this game becomes a fast-placed blast.
My first impression of Turbo Golf Racing came from the game's single-player component. The objective is simple. Players control a high-powered vehicle and must navigate a giant ball across a massive golf course and sink it into a hole. There are no strokes, so there's no need to worry about trying to complete each hole in however many hits. Instead, players are trying to set the best times. Grasping the controls, as well as the physics, can be a challenge to the point that putting up a disappointing time compared to the game's designated target times can feel discouraging. The solo component really isn't helped by the fact that players need to earn stars by setting fast times in order to unlock later stages, as well as certain passive abilities.
However, it doesn't take long to see that Turbo Golf Racing is totally carried by its online multiplayer. Up to eight players participate simultaneously. The other seven players are ghosts, so there's no need to worry about accidentally hitting another car or getting your ball knocked away. That's not to say there aren't ways to disrupt the competition. Power-ups like missiles can help knock opponents off-course, but outside of that, players are mostly left to their own devices.
The challenge comes in learning each course, understanding the game's physics, making sure the ball ins't knocked out of bounds, and handling various obstacles like fans, sand traps, and rough terrain. Each player can also equip passive abilities, which can either affect the way their car handles or affect some of the ball's properties. The end result is a chaotic race to the finish, where you'll often times throw your arms in the air over two balls going into the hole separated by mere tenths of a second. Those who fall just short of victory on one hole can take heart in knowing sessions last a full three holes. Whether private parties will be able to on a full back nine remains to be seen, but Turbo Golf Racing's life cycle is currently in its infancy.
Hugecalf Studios is hoping to keep players coming back for more through a season pass and various unlockables. Honestly, the core formula should be enough to bring crowds back for more rounds. The core concept is solid, there's a strong variety in course design, numerous customization options, some inventive mechanics that take advantage of the setting, and a foundation for which to build something memorable. Turbo Golf Racing is a game to watch. It could be something special by the time it goes 1.0. It's available now on Steam Early Access, as well on through Xbox Game Preview.
These impression are based on a Steam key provided by the publisher.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Turbo Golf Racing is mini-golf for the Rocket League crowd
I had fun with the few games I played. You definitely need to spend some time in the controls and camera settings to get things just right and even then the control mechanism Is different enough from Rocket League that I probably won't play it just so I don't mess up my RL muscle memory. It's a pretty interesting idea, though and definitely worth checking out if it sounds interesting to you.
It's also available as an included Game Pass game on PC and Xbox