I love to play golf, even though I have not been on a course in over a decade. Even though I love to play, I am not that good. I have a wicked slice that I can’t seem to overcome. This led me to be banned from one course after a ball I hit sailed through the windshield of an Admirals car. I do miss playing, but I can get my golfing fix no matter the weather on PC. Now I can even design my ultimate course thanks to GolfTopia from MinMax Games.
GolfTopia allows you to design, build and manage your dream course, but not here on Earth. Your course is situated on a space station, that will give you some unique options when it comes to creating your one of a kind course. But building a golf club in space will also present some unique challenges. Especially since you are open 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.
When you start out, you are given some money, and your choice of property. The land is divided into 9 parcels, I believe, and each has its own topography. You are able to adjust the land to your needs, so any area will do, just depends on how much terraforming you want to do. After you buy your land, you must place the club house before you can build your 1st hole. All along the way you will have a basis tutorial to follow. While this is helpful, it is a bit shaky in where to find everything in the menus. Since you have golfers at all hours, you must make sure you light your course so the balls can glow at night. The game tells you that you need them, but not where they are located.
This is not your average golf course though. Besides all the normal items – fairway, green, sand traps and the like, there are also items that will increase your golfer’s excitement levels, and transform your holes like nothing else. Want to place a hole, but there isn’t enough room? Deploy teleporters to liven things up. Maybe a ring of fire is more your style, or items that will boost your golfers skills. You can even add bumpers, like on a pinball table, to really entice your patrons.
Just having a few holes will not be enough. You also have to make sure that you are seeing to all the needs of your patrons. Snack stations, drinks, rest areas, transportation, benches and more. Your goal is to have the 200 different patrons to enjoy your club and buy a membership. Once they are Bronze members, it is up to you to expand, add new facilities, and get your members to increase their membership. You will also have to take care of any invasive weeds. This is done with lasers and cannons, so it is more fun than normal lawn maintenance.
Besides building and managing the course, you can also play on it to see just how your members may react. This is where the game falls short. The interface to golf is bare bones and can be pretty frustrating to use. You can aim for the middle of the fairway, but the ball will land anywhere else, then bounce into nowhere. You also don’t seem to gain a lot of information from playing the course. You learn more, and quicker by just reading your patrons comments on each hole. And honestly, while you are designing your course, you really don’t have that much time to sit back and play.
Golftopia is out now on Steam in Early Access. While a price tag of $20 may seem like a lot, there are a lot of features already built in the title. As a building and management simulator, there is a lot to look forward too. As a golf game, it leaves a lot to be desired. All things considered, if you like building and management games, this one is worth a look, even in early Access. The rating is based on the game as it stands on 30 August 2020 and will be adjusted once a final version is released.