Everybody’s Golf is a staple of the Playstation brand by now, so I’m definitely not surprised to see it pop up on the Playstation 4. The last I played Everybody’s Golf by developers Clap Hanz was when the Playstation Vita launched back in 2012, and I really enjoyed it, so I was happy to see it return to my screen. I grab my tees and yell for my caddy as I review Everybody’s Golf to find out if it truly is for everybody.
Everybody’s Golf is a golf game that, like on its Nintendo counterparts, keeps the focus on accessibility and fun. There is no story to be had here; you choose a course, choose your kit, and play. If you’ve played a golf video game before, you’ll be fairly familiar with the way that Everybody’s Golf lays things out. You’re handed a stack of clubs, some balls, and set loose on a golf course. The object, of course, is to knock the ball into the hole in the fewest number of shots. Doing well will earn you points and coins.
The new Everybody’s Golf favours levelling the clubs themselves instead of your character, and the more you use and perform different spins with the club, the better it will start doing. This applies on a per-golf-club basis, though, so if you use side spin on your number 3 wood, this won’t have any effect on any of the other clubs. This ends up being a good thing, because you’ll want to have excellent distance with your driver, but more control with some of the other clubs. Oh, and new to the PS4 version of Everybody’s Golf is a Tornado Cup that sucks in nearby slow-moving passing balls. It’s especially useful for beginner players.
New also to this version of the game is a home area that you can roam about freely. Initially it is devoid of life but for yourself, but the more you play the more your home area will start filling up with people you can you talk to, with looks you can copy for a price. There is also a shop where you can buy new outfits and equipment, an old man who will quiz you in exchange for prizes, and also the entrance to the online arena. As you play, you’ll also eventually unlock extra activities such as fishing and driving around in the golf cart, making the home area less boring to be in.
But before even all of that, you have to go through the character creation. Normally I breeze through these portions of the game and accept whatever default character the game comes with. I haven’t had so much fun designing a character as I had in Everybody’s Golf. The options are nuts, and the levels you can go to exaggerate a feature is insanely funny. I must have spent over an hour just playing with these settings and howling with laughter over making a cyclops, or a character with an upside-down face. We all get our kicks in different ways, though, so if you don’t find it entertaining, just accept one of the random looks and move on.
If you’ve played Everybody’s Golf before, the interface and mechanics will be familiar enough that you’ll need little ramping up. If you haven’t, the game eases you in gently enough, although I found that the explanations for spin was a bit lacking in the early parts of the game. It also doesn’t work in exactly the same way as on the Ps Vita version, so muscle memory betrayed me a bit here. Still, the nice thing is that the loading screen gives you the chance to practise and perfect that muscle memory.
I mentioned that the game has both single player and multiplayer sections, but to get to everything, you have to play a ridiculous amount of the solo campaign. Initially you’ll have access to the inner nine holes of the first course, slowly opening access to the back nine as well. Every round you play earns you XP toward a “boss battle” of sorts: the usual one-on-one games against a series of increasingly skilled and powerful opponents. However, for every one you defeat, you need to amass more XP to get to the next one. And it’s not linear, either. To give you an idea, to begin with you need to defeat two opponents to unlock the back nine, but that means about three to four rounds of nine-hole golf per opponent. When you unlock level two, you now need to defeat three opponents, with a similar amount of rounds in between each player. Only at this point will you have unlocked the first nine of the second course. Provided you beat each opponent, of course. One majorly messed up hole could ruin your run entirely.
The online multiplayer section of the game is insane fun, but you don’t get access to most of it if you haven’t unlocked the courses in solo mode. There are several aspects to online modes: the daily tournament, regular stroke play against the entire global population of Everybody’s Golf players (most of whom, by the looks of it, are Japanese), and a mode called Turf War. The daily tournament is just that, a daily game to see how well you rank against others. Unlike the regular, solo mode, you’re allowed to wander around the golf course at will, and attack any hole you like to try and register a record on it. The other online mode is turf war, where you are sorted into either a red or a blue team, and the object is to score more points than the other team. I couldn’t find enough players to get a game going, so this feels like an underused portion of Everybody’s Golf. You can also gather a group of friends and play a round together, online and offline. I found this mode a lot more fun than solo mode, but that’s to be expected.
Overall, Everybody’s Golf is about as much fun as I’d expected, although the work curve in unlocking everything is heavy, especially considering you can’t use the later courses online if you haven’t unlocked them. This is the only really major dent in what is otherwise a solid game with a really great pedigree behind it. Everybody’s Golf is something I’ve played a lot before, and this trend looks set to continue for a long time yet. And if you’re ever online, look me up and we’ll play a few rounds.