Out of all the sports in the world, it’s pretty safe to say that golf can be one of the most relaxing. Thought of by many as a good walk spoiled, aside from needing to navigate the occasional water hazard, there’s not too much stress that a simple round can bring. That’s the case for Golf Peaks too, a simple little golf puzzler that is pretty much perfect for winding down with at the end of a long day.
Created by 7Levels and Afterburn, Golf Peaks tasks you with making your way through 120 holes of golf. Your aim – as is the case with nearly every golf affair ever – is to manoeuvre your ball from the starting tee, to the hole in as few, or at least in a set number, of shots.
Nothing crazy there you may think, but the difference with Golf Peaks as opposed to other golfing titles is that this one gives you the shot types you’ll need at the start of each hole. From there it tasks you with working out which shot to play and when, via a card-based system, to ensure that the ball drops into the hole nicely.
Holes are set across isometric stages, and so each and every shot you make can only move on the diagonal planes. It all starts off simple enough with a straight line to the hole and a card or two allowing you to move the ball one, two or maybe three squares. Counting the gap between your ball and the hole dictates the card you need to play.
That’s Golf Peaks in a nutshell really, but as you’d expect, things do ramp up the difficulty. Pitch shots come into play for instance, allowing you to jump a square or two, before letting the ball follow for another. These become absolutely vital when Golf Peaks’ stages start throwing in bunker tiles, or those of rough and water. These all work against the roll of the ball so you’ll need to decide exactly when to pitch over an obstacle, or attempt to play through it.
The difficulty really moves up when the holes get larger, coming with slopes, hills, wormholes, tiles which let you jump, travelators that push you along and a variety of heights that need to be overcome. That is made the trickier when later cards start ramping up the tile count each time; you shouldn’t be shocked to find some pushing your ball through a number of tiles before coming to rest. And when you consider that the shot cards you’re given at the start of each hole can only be used once, strategy and tactics come into play. When do you play that ‘9-tiler’? When’s it best to hop the bunker, follow through, and then let gravity do the rest? These decisions will always be at the fore of your mind.
In fact, what starts off very easy soon becomes a real test of the mind as you try and navigate a single ball through some sprawling stages, each complete with various obstacles. That walk in the park soon starts to test your skills in the mental department and ultimately whether or not you are of the disposition to be able to solve these puzzles, will dictate your overall enjoyment.
For us it was around about the halfway stage where Golf Peaks started testing the grey matter, but even then the 120 stages, and majority of unlockable special stages, were done and dusted within an evening or two. Yes, trial and error did occasionally need to rear a head (and a couple of times online walkthroughs were needed to save our sanity), but on the whole careful consideration of your playable cards, and the route to the hole, is all that is needed for you to win out.
It’s all helped by a super simple control scheme too, with a single button press dictating your shot and the scrolling of cards worked via the bumpers. There’s absolutely no stress or strain brought about by how Golf Peaks sets itself up.
However, once you have completed a hole, there’s absolutely no reason to go back in and look at it again. It’s very much a case of enjoy it whilst it lasts, and then move on to the next. If you’re looking for some replayability, you’re unlikely to find it here.
That’s pretty much the case with Golf Peaks overall if we’re honest. What’s there is well configured, the simple control scheme means anyone can play it, and the minimalist visuals and relaxing little soundtrack ensure it’s perfect for those times when you just want to relax on the sofa.
As a golf game, Golf Peaks is ultimately lacking, but as a puzzler it does exactly what it needs to – excelling in creativity without ever being too showy. Should you be looking to sink a few at the weekend without wanting too much stress or bother, Golf Peaks will provide you with all the shots you need.
Play the shots by picking up Golf Peaks from the Xbox Store