It wasn’t too long ago that I was able to jump into Turbo Golf Racing for a limited time preview, all thanks to the Xbox Insider programme. I really enjoyed my arcade racing, ball putting test drive and was left wondering how Hugecalf Studios would build on the experience. Now it’s back, bigger and better than before, launching for all in Game Preview form and on Xbox Game Pass.
It may partly be because I haven’t really played Rocket League for a substantial amount of time, but I’ve very much enjoyed Turbo Golf Racing. It also reminds of the Super Monkey Ball golf minigame which was great fun. Much better than normal golf for sure.
This version of Turbo Golf Racing has upped the amount of courses considerably to a total of thirty. They are split into three themes, and their complexity broadly deepens as you progress through the tracklist. All are available to whizz around solo against the clock, or versus other players.
Your aim is simple. By driving and hitting your golf ball along each course, you need to place it into the cup as quickly as possible, which is highlighted by a shaft of light emanating from the ground. Thankfully, you are not scored on the amount of shots (or hits) you make – instead it’s all about the time taken or the position you finish in.
To help you along the way, your racing buggy can glide, bunny hop and boost along the courses. Certain strips of track will recharge your boost bar as well as batteries that can be collected. Floating rings will propel you and your ball to the finish evermore quickly if you possess the skill to pass through them. If you are playing against others, rocket pickups will allow for some tactical strikes to alter the outcome of the race.
Playing on your own is still great fun however, as your aim will be to earn as many stars as possible upto a maximum of three for each course. These will unlock rewards that can be used to power up and customise your little racing buggy. Spoilers, boost effects, novelty balls, power cores and more are all up for grabs. The beach ball variant is especially enjoyable to see in action.
Power cores offer all sorts of abilities ranging from bouncier balls to increased bunker resistance for your buggy. You get two slots with which to test out combinations, and they can make small but significant differences to your race success. Multiplayer races will reward you with XP, which will see you level up and earn season specific rewards, and the in-game currency of Cogs that can be spent on items in the virtual shop.
When compared to playing Turbo Golf Racing a couple of months ago, the driving feels tighter now than it did before. However, I’ve still found the ball assist aim to fluctuate wildly at times even with the slightest angle change, and the turning circle of the buggy still feels too large which makes recovering a missed shot very costly in a race. To be clear, this is a minor issue – with just a little finesse and fine tuning required to resolve it in my mind.
I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but things look a little sharper this time around too. The bright, popping colours in Turbo Golf Racing make it a very pleasant place to go racing, as well as keeping it easy on the eyes when tracking the action. I’m also a fan of the chillout vibes pulsing through the soundtrack, but having some of this when racing would be welcome instead of crowd cheering and SFX only.
Of course, the biggest carrot for Turbo Golf Racing is its multiplayer. It was here that I immediately noticed overhauled loading screens along with much reduced wait times which is great news. The online process is incredibly slick and smooth in that respect. However, it isn’t currently without issues – remember though, this is a Game Preview title so oddities will crop up.
To help me out, I recruited some of TheXboxHub team to jump in and give me a hand. The “create party” option allowed me to go so far as to group us all together in a room, but then we were left waiting endlessly to find a match which never materialised. There was no way to manually start the race with just the five of us.
However, when we all went to find a game on the public server (ensuring we all hit the begin button at the same time), the game matched us up and we got racing pretty quickly. Hopefully the ability for private games will be working soon, as finding each other when joe public can get onto the servers would be a small miracle.
However, once we got going we had a right laugh. Turbo Golf Racing is fast paced, frantic and not too complex. The competitive racing elements mixed with the core principles of golf make for a very welcome pairing, levelling the playing field as a mix of skills are needed to be successful. There’s also nothing quite like the pleasure of curving your ball into the cup from miles away to the disbelief of your opponents, and then having them watch it again through the best shot replay.
You can also use the D-Pad to communicate via emojis and messages, opting to act as a true sportsman or troll your opponents. It’s safe to say this was a mixed bag across the team when we played.
Turbo Golf Racing is a game perfectly matched for Xbox and PC Game Pass, opening it up to millions of players who will likely jump in for an hour or two at a time. Numerous updates and free content packs have been teased in the coming weeks and months too, which should keep players happy. Its accessibility and jump in, jump out gameplay should see it build a dedicated player base which, when coupled with regular newness, will see this one scoring well above par.
Huge thanks go out to Hugecalf Studios for giving us access to Turbo Golf Racing. You’ll find the game on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, playable from August 4th 2022. It’s on PC too. The best bit? Game Pass means that this is a no-brainer.