Inspired by the campiness of 70’s and 80’s anime,100ft Robot Golf is, despite its faults, a new and fresh take on the arcade sports genre.
Developers: No Goblin
Publisher: No Goblin
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 10, 2016
When reading up on the broad concept of100ft Robot Golf, I was asking myself just one question.
Why in the hell has no one done this until now?
It’s a question that I asked over and over again when playing this game. Through eight generations of golf games and quite a few mech/kaiju-based titles, no one ever thought to put the two together. Mind you, it’s a very wild and niche concept, but if Mario Golf can thrive off being wacky arcade golf, why can’t anyone else?
Enter in No Goblin, which notably includes designer Dan Teasdale (who worked on Destroy All Humans! back in the day) and their opus:100ft Robot Golf.
Right from the get-go, you can clearly see that the game is a love letter to the old-school. It’s filled with all sorts of giant robots, a couple of kaiju monsters and pilot models that appear to be ripped right out of a 70s or 80s anime series like Voltron or Silverhawks.
The game is an unquestionable treat for fans of those shows, and just the kaiju genre in general. It features a short but enjoyable campaign mode that contains some very funny dialogue and further fleshes out the colorful cast of pilots. The characters can range from innocent heroes, over-the-top villains and even a Voltron-type robot powered by five Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
That tiny bit of excellent development is mainly thanks to the “so bad it’s good” voice acting work, as well as some of the great comedic timing in the game’s cutscenes. It’s a shame that the campaign is so short, but it does serve a greater gameplay purpose.
Each character has their own interface that’s used to drive the ball towards the hole. Some characters depend on timing together levels of synchronization, while others have more traditional meters that can adjust power, as well as hooks and slices.
The campaign gives all who take it on a chance to play as each character at least once. While this is to be expected, it’s still nice to know that this function can serve not just a story objective, but also teaches which character would be best to pick under which circumstances. Alternatively, players can just hop right into a quickplay game scored by strokes, or race to see who gets to the hole fastest.
The game’s charm is further developed by more aspects of its presentation. The cel shaded graphical style works extremely well for this sort of title. It isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, but it’s a solid base for a game that’s heavily focused on gameplay.
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The McElroy brothers also lent their voice talents as the in-game commentators, and they really shine through with some of their quips. References to “Space Jam,” the song “All-Star” by Smash Mouth and other, more original jokes make for funny moments when playing with friends. They’re all made with a typical and quiet golf commentator delivery that further adds to the humor, even if the lines get a bit repetitive after a while.
100ft Robot Golf plays surprisingly well as a golf game, for the most part. As I mentioned earlier, whichever robot or beast you call upon determines how you’ll approach each hole. The course variety is also nice, as robots can take to the streets of Hawaii, under the sea or even on the moon for some interstellar strokes.
It generally plays like a normal game of golf, except with giant robots. Characters are armed with a driver, pitcher and a putter as the only selectable clubs, as well as long, mid and short range shots/putts. It’s a system that makes things pretty simple, especially for those with no golf knowledge. Having more specific irons or woods would have potentially made things too complex, though it would have been nice to at least have that option.
It was a bit too distracting having four players all golfing at the same time; it felt like overkill.
The game stutters a bit on the course as well. When playing solo, things run pretty smoothly going from tee to hole. Buildings or other obstacles will sometimes block the path and are easily taken apart thanks to special abilities like lasers, swords and giant hoverboards. Other times there will be obstacles that players can’t control that will infuriate some, and sometimes even cause a round to be restarted.
Case in point: I was playing on one of the holes in Hawaii with some AI opponents and our golf balls ended up stuck on an incline of a rock formation. After a solid ten minutes of myself and the AI trying to get back onto the fairway, I conceded and just restarted the round. I only ran into this problem a couple of times, but it’s worth noting that it does happen.
100ft Robot Golf also offers multiplayer options. Instead of traditional turn-based golf, up to four players can be on the course at once. This makes for some interesting mayhem and chaos, but that’s not always a good thing. If anything, it was a bit too distracting having four players all golfing at the same time; it felt like overkill. The game will even bug out sometimes and cause glitches to happen when four players are on the course, causing some rage-inducing moments that can ruin the fun.
The previously-mentioned AI can be toggled on and off for single player, and split-screen local multiplayer is also an option for those who think that this could be a hit at parties. Online play is supposedly available as well, but all attempts at matchmaking failed even over a week after release date. No Goblin has stated since then that they plan to fix this with a patch down the line, but only private matches seemed to be functional at the time of this review.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.