Dangerous Golf offers a unique premise: take a swing at a golf ball inside some incredibly cluttered indoor settings with the intent of destroying as many objects as possible before finally putting the ball into the hole. After teeing off, if a player breaks the prerequisite number of objects on a level, they are rewarded with a smashbreaker. A high-powered, controllable, flaming ball, a smashbreaker can be bounced into objects to cause total mayhem. After it ends, players will put the ball into the hole, which ends the level. The whole ordeal is tracked and scored allowing players to earn bronze to platinum medals. Unfortunately, the game plays infinitely better on paper or in your head than it does on the Xbox One.
Here’s what I liked:
Golf-Splosions — Dangerous Golf shines best through its explosive, destructive nature, clearly hoping there is a little Michael Bay in everyone. There is something special about setting off dozens of champagne bottles that shoot corks into stacked glasses. Breaking priceless statues or knocking over armor is equally satisfying for a while.
Unique Mechanics — The game has a few incredible ideas that get lost in the rough. The pistol putt and tee shot are both clever. Warps, aerial resets, glue shots and explosives also add a nice touch but feel sadly underutilized. The smashbreaker shots allow for plenty of destruction and a unique way to reposition the ball closer to the hole.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Usage of Mechanics — Dangerous Golf never really sets itself apart as an arcade golf game or a party-style explosion game (it trends toward the latter). Many times mechanics are added that make the game less enjoyable. Some of the levels that actually feel skill intensive are actually hampered by timers which discourage getting resets or taking the time to plan complicated putts. Co-op mode is literally two people playing one after another with the level resetting and just combining their scores. This doesn’t add much value at all and seems underexplored.
Lack of Precision — The game personifies the belief it is better to be lucky than good. Quite often the best putt you can take is to fire randomly in any direction and pray the insanely high level of magnetism on the ball draws it into the hole. Very rarely does a platinum feel like something earned. Perhaps the only part of the whole shot that matters is the smashbreaker, which often relies upon landing in the hole or a bucket to earn a reset. The levels that require multiple smashbreaker resets can become frustrating when aiming for high scores. The controls feel rather clunky and uninspired. The randomness and lack of feeling like you earned something, make it hard to justify even trying for higher scores unless you have a completion compulsion in regards to achievements.
Bloated Feeling — There are a handful of really well-designed levels and holes in this game. These levels occasionally feature unique and fun mechanics or even well-constructed Rube Goldberg-esque sequences. The problem is you will likely give up on this game well before you see them. For every level that made me smile, there were a handful of horribly bland levels in-between. In the end, this game feels like going to a nice restaurant and filling up on bread to the point you can’t eat enough of your steak to justify the pricetag.
Bad Camera Angles — Frequently, camera angles are very questionable. Either they won’t track the ball, leaving you hoping that what you want to have happen is hopefully happening, or you will land in an awkward spot completely blocked by rubble. Whereas, other games have solved this problem by showing the object in the way with a transparent outline or zooming out enough that you can survey the room when aiming, Dangerous Golf leaves you just staring directly into that piece of junk in your way. The result is incredibly unsatisfying and frustrating.
Load Times — The levels take almost a minute to load. This lull makes experimenting with your tee shot incredibly frustrating. Specifically, if you don’t have enough objects destroyed on your tee shot to earn a smashbreaker, you will need to restart. There is no quick reset or fast way to get back in the action.
Environments Never Feel Unique — The games environments never feel particularly different. Perhaps this is accentuated by the fact they are framed as different countries, setting expectations higher for uniqueness. You can destroy a castle, bathroom, kitchen and gas station; however, they feel rehashed way too often over the course of the 100 levels.
Unless you have an absolute destruction fetish, Dangerous Golf provides, at best, only momentary bursts of fun. The concepts for a good game are there, but they aren’t utilized effectively and are hampered by severe issues. The game doesn’t feel good as a golf game due to the extreme lack of control and precision. The game doesn’t feel good as a destruction game due to the frequently repeated and often bland environments. In the end, the game just doesn’t feel good. There is almost no reason to pick this title up, which is a shame because it looked promising.
Score: No Appeal
Dangerous Golf was developed by Three Fields Entertainment on Xbox One. It was released on June 3, 2016 for $19.99. A copy was purchased for review purposes.