by Lord Badger
I reviewed RPGolf way back in May 2018. I fell in love instantly with the game and have been eagerly awaiting the sequel ever since. Now, finally, after an almost four-year wait, endless amounts of DM conversations, and interviews with the lead developer from ArticNet. I am happy to say I have spent the last couple of weeks playing RPGolf Legends. A four-year wait for a sequel to a highly original, unique, and enjoyable game, So can RPGolf Legends live up to the high bar set by its predecessor?
The sporting pastime of Golf has been sealed off by magic crystals all over the world. But while fishing one day, one female golf enthusiast reels in the spirit of a golf club. A friendship is formed, and possibly, just possibly golf might be saved!
Yes, I know that synopsis of the story sounds a little thin. it is quite hard to go into details without spoiling RPGolf Legends too much. The way RPGolf Legends works is to give you the basic facts and then set you off on your adventure and allow the story to unfold before you.
Continuing on the theme from RPGolf, RPGolf Legends has a wonderful retro art style. Whilst it is vastly upgraded from its predecessor the graphical style makes RPGolf feel similar to its forebearer.
Each of the six areas in the world has its own theme and colour pallet as well as its own unique soundtrack. The graphics are extremely cute and reminiscent of the 16-bit era. Whilst the music is brilliant and in some cases (such as the swamp area of Doku Town) is quite frankly fantastic!
When I originally began playing RPGolf Legends for this review I was using the keyboard controls. I have to be honest and say they are horrific. It was too messy and confusing. Maybe it is the years of using a joypad and not choosing console gaming over PC? Either way, I really found the keyboard controls difficult.
I could have remapped the keyboard controls to something that suited me better but instead, I opted to plug my Google Stadia pad into my PC. Instant success! RPGolf Legends works like a dream with a joypad and it is clear to see that ArticNet and KEMCO have developed RPGolf Legends to be played on a console.
RPGolf Legends is, on the face of it, an incredibly simple game. While I explain the mechanics and gameplay to you here in this review I feel I will fail to convey the nuance and intricacies laying beneath the surface.
While at its core RPGolf Legends is a golf game don’t be expecting PGA 2K21 levels of depth and skill. To play a stroke of golf first you use the left and right buttons on your D-pad, press the action button to start the power bar, press it again to stop on the desired amount of power then press it a third and final time to hit the ball. The third and final press also determines the amount of hook or slice you apply to the ball. Stop the pointer in the red zones and you miss completely.
When it comes to putting there are no undulating greens to deal with. This isn’t a golf simulator. It is pure, shameless retro arcade fun.
The golfing mechanic is simple and fun, but, how do you play golf if all the holes are sealed off I hear you cry? Welcome to the RPG part of RPGolf Legends. Remember your new friend Clubby? The spirit of a golf club that you fished up right at the beginning of the game? Turns out he can perform a magic spell that will destroy the crystal on each hole and allow you to play.
Unfortunately, this spell takes a lot of energy to perform. After completing a hole you need to fill the energy bar up in order to unlock the next hole. This can be done in one of two ways. Get par or better on a hole and you will be rewarded with some reel spins. 1 reel for par, 2 for a birdie, and 3 for anything better than a birdie. The first reel will reward you with health or magic (we will get to that later don’t worry) regeneration or 25%, 50%, 100% recharge of your energy bar. The second reel rewards you with gold and the third reel gives you a coloured golf ball.
The other way of filling up your energy bar is to defeat monsters by smashing them around the head with your trusty golf club! Every monster you kill will fill your energy bar slightly. Once filled Clubby can drain the energy bar completely and unlock the next hole.
A running theme with RPGolf Legends is that while on the surface it is incredibly simple, scratch the surface and you find nuance and complexity. Take combat for instance. You have a hit button and a block button. That is it.
The block button is probably the most important button in the game. without it, you ain’t gonna get far. That still doesn’t mean combat is as simple as blocking an attack and then unleashing hell with your golf club. Each enemy has its own pattern of attack. You need to block a monster’s attack and then figure out the precise moment to retaliate.
Each monster has a massive tell. It is easy to see when it is going to attack. When to attack back is another matter altogether though. So an incredibly simple combat system now as you battering imps, dodging bees and standing your ground against bears. Once you figure out how to fight each monster then you will find you start to progress quite quickly…until you get to the boss battles. Oh yeah, there are boss battles too. Good Luck!
In between slaying monsters and playing golf, you will also come across a myriad of NPC’s with a wide variety of quests for you to complete. The rewards for these quests range from money to crafting items and even unlocking a new class!
How does a class system work in a golf game you cry? Simple. become a wizard and you have a new magic attack to fight monsters with. Oh yeah and you can not only walk on water but play Golf on water too! So, yeah, kind of important.
As well as playing Golf, completing quests, unlocking classes and indiscriminately wiping out the local wildlife, there are also dungeons, puzzles, crafting, secrets to discover, and golf tournaments to win. Did I mention that RPGolf Legends is an indie game? There is so much content in here it is unbelievable!
Back in 2018, I fell in love with RPGolf. The fact it only had 9 holes didn’t bother me because it cost less than £3 and it was so unique. Fast forward 4 years and ArticNet have delivered a game with 54 holes over 6 different environments. Included crafting, classes, fishing, quests, golf carts and so much more!
RPGolf Legends has so much more than its predecessor yet still manages to feel the same. It has brought the franchise forward in leaps and bounds yet managed to maintain the soul and personality of the original.
Sequels are more often than not lesser to their proceeding titles, especially when the original game was as brilliant and unique as RPGolf. RPGolf Legends carries on the core of its ancestor and builds upon it so much it actually makes RPGolf feel like a tech demo. RPGolf Legends is the complete game that RPGolf wanted to be and always suggested it could be. This is ArticNet’s vision realized!
Overall Score – 10/10
RPGolf Legends is released on 20th January 2022 for Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox One