Golf Club Wasteland easily had one of the most enjoyable marketing campaigns, with a tongue-in-cheek approach highlighting the absurdity of its premise by riffing off the real world billion-dollar space-race. After playing the game, however, the game is anything but absurd, and in fact, is perhaps the best game we have reviewed on As We Play.
Golf Club Wasteland takes place in the far future where Earth has become uninhabitable and those that could afford to get out, now live on Mars. They still visit Earth from time to time, mostly to reminisce or play golf.
Improvised courses are set up throughout the world, giving players unique playgrounds such as ruined buildings, overgrown parks, abandoned yachts and much more. Each level is beautifully drawn, with a unique colour palette that charmingly shuns the trope-filled greyness we usually see in this genre.
The game easily fits the “easy to play, hard to master” label due to its simple, mouse-bound controls which you have to use against escalating obstacles and scenarios. The game scores you based on your putts that the reward per level is dependent on.
What makes this game a must-play however, is its lore and storytelling. The game features a fictional radio station that plays in the background of each level, playing original songs and interviews of people living on Mars. It is done so well, that we not only get a glimpse of what it’s like for the survivors, but also the cost it came with.
It is through these fictional accounts of people and songs reminiscing about humanity’s time on earth, that the radio station manages to pose a very powerful question, “Are you truly alive having left behind everything you lived for?”
This aspect is further explored in the diaries you unlock, which is the reward per level we had mentioned earlier. I am by no means a completionist, but the narration was so engaging that I kept pushing myself to get better, just so I could keep reading more pages. It was the same for playing more levels, as each area revealed a bit more of the world’s backstory.
In a sense, Golf Club Wasteland feels like a highly-polished radio drama, painting a vivid picture of events that take place in this world. Ultimately this mixes memorably with the beautiful visuals to deliver an auditory and visual experience unlike any other.
The songs themselves are well made, making for a potential killer soundtrack which I hope the developers or publisher will release on major streaming or purchase platforms. Whilst the game is not perfect and could have done with improvements to the UI flow, making it faster to jump between menus and restart levels, it does come pretty damn close.
Golf Club Wasteland might just be the best game you play this year, one that not only keeps things fun throughout but also manages to deliver an impactful message through a meaningfully crafted story. It would have been easy for them to fall into the trap of tasteless parody, but they honed down on the importance of their message which helped them succeed.