Capsule Review: Golf Peaks

A golf-themed puzzle game. The ball starts in one square of a grid and elsewhere is the hole. You’re provided with a handful of one-use cards that will move the ball specified distances - use them in the right order and pointed in the right directions to get the ball into the hole. More mechanics are added as you progress through the levels, such as hard corners the ball can be bounced off of to change its angle and sand traps which stop the ball from rolling further.

It’s a very chill game, with no time limits and unlimited undos. This also improves the introduction of new mechanics, as you can experiment freely to see how they interact. The game is simple and clear to play - pick one of the four grid directions to aim your shot, pick a card to use, and repeat as necessary. Cards are also easy to understand - each simply shows how many spaces it will carry the ball through the air and then how many spaces it will roll the ball (often, one of these numbers is zero and the card only carries or only rolls the ball). There aren’t that many possible combinations and many can be eliminated as causing immediate failure, so if you get stuck it’s generally possible to just experiment a bit and find the solution.

However, there generally is just one solution to find. The game isn’t about using your available tools to solve a problem; it’s about teasing out the developer-intended solution. That isn’t always a bad thing, especially in a game that’s intended to be chill rather than brain-stretching. But for me, it made the puzzles less engaging and less rewarding. I don’t have the best visual reasoning and it requires nontrivial effort for me to visualize where the ball will end up after multiple varying steps, so it was also difficult for me to find the puzzles relaxing. It didn’t help that the puzzles are structured in a way that makes incremental progress difficult - you might move the ball closer to the hole, but if you do so with the wrong card you aren’t actually any closer to the solution.

The combined result was that I just got bored - people without these particular issues are likely to enjoy this game more. For the right audience, it’s a simple, polished, and chill puzzler.

I Stopped Playing When: After spending most of an hour playing through 45 of the game’s 108 puzzles, I was bored and put the game down.

Docprof's Rating:

One Star: Not for me. While there might be someone out there who'd enjoy this game, I was actively repulsed by it or just found nothing to latch on to.

You can get it or learn more here.