OK Golf Review: Everything’s gonna be OK

Credit: Okidokico Entertainment
Credit: Okidokico Entertainment /

OK Golf simplifies golf down to the most basic puzzle game features imaginable, which makes it either really zen, or really dull.

Developer: Okidokico Entertainment
Publisher: Okidokico Entertainment
Platforms: Android (Version reviewed), iOS
Release Date: May 9, 2017 (Android), February 9, 2017 (iOS)

The saying that there’s nothing new under the sun is especially true for Google Play and the App Store, where floods of same-ish games go to live or die, depending on how well they embody the tropes and genres we’ve seen over and over again. New games can add more bells and whistles, or risk disappearing into the mud. But Okidokico tried a different approach with OK Golf. Instead of creating something fancier or yet another flavor of “unique,” they took Thoreau’s advice and simplified their game down to the barest of golf games. More simple puzzler than golf title, OK Golf hovers somewhere between a zen, laidback experience, and a bore.

Each course in OK Golf consists of nine holes at the start that you can play either as you like in Free Play, Championship Mode, or Timed Mode. Your goal, beyond simply scoring well, is to earn stars that will unlock more courses for you to play on. Stars are earned in each mode by beating individual hole scores, beating overall course scores, and beating times to finish well, respectively. Extra, more challenging holes appear on each course, accessed via hitting a ball straight into a hole located in the void off some regular holes.

ok golf
Credit: Okidokico Entertainment /

OK Golf embraces a sort of minimalistic tranquility in every aspect of its design. The holes are not sprawling greens, but rather small, stylistically blocky, diorama-like areas decked out in bright, unmistakable colors. Each course is thematically distinct, and some are quite beautiful in their way–I’m especially a fan of Kyoto with its fireflies and water lilies. There is no music, only quiet, subtle sounds of wind, music, and the club striking the ball (truly an ASMR dream for a mobile game). Even the UI is simplistic: the course is the focus, with only your score and par in one corner and a single exit button at the bottom.

By stripping OK Golf of the randomness and challenges found in other golf games, [Okidokico] made it so there’s essentially one right way to finish a course, every time.

OK Golf consists of nothing more than aiming a ball with your finger and letting it fly in the direction the arrow says it will go.  The puzzle is working your ball around obstacles properly: will it hit the trees or not? Can I make it over the water? Is it worth landing near the sand trap or not? The terrain is a factor, as are obstacles such as trees or cacti, and wind might be (the loading screen hints mentioned it, but I never encountered anything that resembled the wind). All you need to do is touch and hold the ball, pull back as far as you want to determine the power and direction of your shot, and release.

ok golf
Credit: Okidokico Entertainment /

In that regard, the controls can be rather bothersome, as pulling back too far will invite you to cancel and you’ll often find your shots too wobbly or difficult to control. But while there’s some mechanical trouble involved in using a touchscreen, I have to take my golf cap off to OK Golf for finally giving me a simple way to play video game golf. There’s only one power shot, and it’s just “pull back farther to make the ball go farther.” There are no tricks, spins, or nonsense. Just move the ball around the course to the goal.

Most golf games lend themselves well to some sort of multiplayer, and OK Golf should be no exception, but when I tried, I found its interface for multiplayer obtuse and could never seem to get into a match with anyone, so I’m not sure if it’s not working or just so vague I was using it wrong.

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Okidokico Entertainment has promised more courses to play through in the future, and have already delivered beyond the initial offerings for the iOS version, but I’m not sure that’s going to be enough. By stripping OK Golf of the randomness and challenges found in other golf games, they’ve made it so there’s essentially one right way to finish a course, every time. Once you’ve found that way, there’s no need ever to go back and try again. There’s certainly enough content here for the game’s low price point mercifully devoid of ads, microtransactions, or other distractions; it’s just not the kind of game you regularly revisit. Even just the addition of some kind of challenge mode with wind or weather playing a factor would improve OK Golf’s long-term appeal.

. OK Golf. 6.5. There’s a fine, fine line between relaxing simplification and dullness, and OK Golf straddles it rather precariously. You’ll either find it a charming, laid back way to enjoy a golf puzzle, or uninstall it after the first course or two. I fell into the former camp, but even so, the lack of replay value had me yawning quicker than I would like. Nonetheless, for some, this kind of low-key experience is exactly what they need to find on their phones when they need a breath of fresh air in a busy life.. Okidokico Entertainment

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.