Puzzle games are designed to make you think, so it’s unsurprising that most puzzlers on the eShop claim to offer the most challenging experience yet. Golf Peaks, however, offers a slightly different approach. With a chilled-out aesthetic, ambient soundtrack, and forgiving gameplay, the game certainly lives up to its description of ‘mind-soothing’.
The core gameplay is simple: you must manoeuvre a golf ball into the hole using a limited number of moves. The game offers a solid 100+ levels split between nine worlds, in which various new obstacles and mechanics are introduced. Many of these are self-explanatory; slippery ice and water to sink your ball in plague certain levels, for example. These hazards and more provide enough variety to keep things interesting over the expected two-to-three hours of playtime.
A key feature of Golf Peaks is its unique movement system. Each level must be completed within a certain number of pre-set moves, which can either involve straight rolling along the ground or jumps. The system is clean, simple, and easy to learn. However, if you’re the type of player that prefers to plot your moves out in advance, you may lament that the game doesn’t allow you to re-order the move cards in your hand.
Nevertheless, the movement system provides some interesting complexity, and some levels are difficult to work out at first glance. Thanks to the instant undo and reset buttons, though, you can try any number of solutions and quickly rectify your mistakes.
On the flipside, this means that there are no consequences for slipping up, making for some pretty low-stakes gameplay. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the gameplay style ties in perfectly to the laidback atmosphere the developers are aiming for, but it does arguably present a lack of challenge.
Still, Golf Peaks does offer a delightfully chilled-out experience. The graphics are light and minimalistic, and the relaxing soundtrack complements this perfectly, creating a thoroughly pleasant experience. Indeed, it’s quite clear that the developers didn’t want the experience of playing this game to be frustrating. They stay true to this mission statement from start to finish, and while certain puzzles are thought-provoking, the game never becomes especially difficult.
While Golf Peaks is a pretty decent game, there are one or two admittedly odd design choices on display. Perhaps the most jarring of these is the complete lack of a tangible opening sequence; upon first launching the game, you’re thrown straight into the first level with not even a title screen to welcome you. Of course, this has no bearing on the gameplay itself, but it certainly makes for a bizarre first impression.
Golf Peaks isn’t a revolutionary game by any measure, but it’s casual and fun to play. The well-paced gameplay has enough variety to keep you satisfied, and finding each solution will bring a smile to your face.
Golf Peaks £4.49
Golf Peaks doesn’t exactly turn the puzzle genre on its head, but it does offer a plenty relaxed gameplay experience. A perfectly passable puzzler that’s good to pick up in short bursts.