Disclaimer : I've worked extensively with the developer in helping with feedback and submitting bug reports and feedback where I can, unlike some of my reviews, whilst I was not provided with a review copy, I do feel that my involvement is significant enough that it does warrant at least a mention.
Vertiginous Golf is the brainchild of Kinelco and Lone Elk Interactive, creators of Vertigolf 1 and 2 on IoS, this represents the progression and evolution of their work as they move up onto the PC platform and onto the Steam distribution system. Expanding on the already fairly successful formula that Vertigolf had already laid out on the mobile platforms in the previous games, and layering on a story, multi-player, customisation, course creation tools and a significant layer of steampunk goodness.
It's important to understand the origins of the game because it's those origins that have shaped and informed many of the design choices (such as the sky-bound courses) and the bright, well lit graphical style, with distinct greens and rug "fairways" that allow you to easily distinguish between areas. It's also important to note that unlike say, traditional mini-golf, you have the choice of two different clubs, a wedge and a putter. Good use of both is pivotal in order to gain a good score (and by good we're talking "1" or even "0" shots, which is eminently possible if you know what you're doing).
In this expanded world, you get to look into the background that shaped Vertigolf, and the story (optional!) is available for those who wish to dig deeper into the lore, via a "story" mode that requires the player to shoot for specific records dotted about the course, where voice acted gramophone recordings will play out and elaborate on the background (no spoilers, you'll need to learn what lies beyond the clouds for yourself).
The golf course itself is set within a shop that you enter on foot, and next to it is the avatar customisation shop, which for in game currency that you earn, you'll be able to unlock and dress your golfer appropriately for the occasion, there's a goodly selection of items and skins for the clubs and even for the hummingbird (the ever present companion who serves both as mascot and as remote camera to allow you to scout ahead and plan your shots). No doubt if the game does well this is an area we will see further expanded with additional content and further ideas for tinkering, as the game lends itself well to this kind of adjustment and personalisation.
As for the game itself, once you pick your course and your preferred playstyle, you'll be whisked skyward, and the game will begin. You'll be dealing with a variety of courses, set -way- in the clouds (meaning some of the courses can, and will involve drops, so be ready to plot accurate courses for your ball). When taking shots you'll earn "juice" which can be used either to rewind your shot or to provide aftertouch via a small bug that hovers over the ball, this can be immeasurably useful, both for avoiding the death drops, and for steering the ball into those free shot holes (oh so useful). The courses themselves are practically mined with obstacles, ranging from fans that will blow airborne balls off course to pipes set to switches that if you mis-time the shot, well, you'll be in for an interesting trip.
Add on top of this that the ground surface is not always the most predictable of things (carpet and green is thankfully nice and static, but there's the equivalent of conveyor belts, some of which move *fast*), along with elevators and bumps and dips and you can end up trying to navigate the equivalent of your back garden just after the winter, and just before you've given it the springtime mow. Picture that for a nice horrific image as you try to whack your ball out of the thickets for the umpteenth time.
The graphics are consistent and pleasant to look at, there's a solid design ethos here that ensures that the tone and timbre are always followed, which means that the Steampunk vibe is always echoed regardless of where you are. This is a great atmospheric reminder, and keeps you very much in the game world. Sound is something more of a mixed bag, the voice acting is servicable, the music however is... well... I'll be kind and say it's music. It's not quite the Devil's piano as was the case from the very early builds, but nonetheless if there's one place where the game is still in need of refinement, the sound would be the one area I'd give this game the Tiger's eye.
The controls are by and large solid, though the draw and swing type approach I've found isn't quite as reliable as the "hold and let go at the roughly right power level" setup. That seems to work nicely, followed by the good ol' wasd for aftertouch, which you must use sparingly lest you dry up your power bar in record time. Controller support is catered for and I've had no issues with it when I've given it the once over, though my preference and recommendation here would be mouse and keyboard.
Course design, being from the school of Vertigolf 1 and 2 shows good evolution, and having had the benefit of being hammered on from Early Access, most of the kinks have already been ironed out, there's also been the introduction of new types of courses, which suit different styles of play, along with further polishing to help ensure that all of the courses flow nicely and there's no balls getting stuck in strange places... like the roof (I STILL WANT MY COOKIE).
Whether you'll get enjoyment out of this game is simple - Do you enjoy steampunk crazy golf with the option of wedge shots? If yes - get it, it's good, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, and will no doubt be coming back to it down the line once I've freed up a bit of spare time.If you liked this review or want to see more recommended games, be sure to follow our curator group: Follow Original Curator GroupCheck out the Original Network Groups. Win free games, make new friends on Steam, & more!
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