100ft Robot Golf Review – Good Dog (PS4)
I always love it when I’m playing a game that takes advantage of the medium it’s in. Considering anything is possible in the magical world of video games, why not throw the regular rules (of gravity, society and so on) out the window? It seems like that is the design philosophy of 100ft Robot Golf developer No Goblin, as their latest game is just as ridiculous as Roundabout, a FMV-filled game about a revolving limousine.
Despite the silly premise of playing golf with giant robots, 100ft Robot Golf is still very much a golf game. I had to line up my shots, try to land on the fairway, and eventually get the ball onto the green where I could put my way to victory. Despite this familiar trapping, it’s different from the real sport in a few major ways.
First off, while stroke play is available, the main way to play foregoes the traditional scoring structure. Instead, players (who are all golfing at the very same time) race to become the first player to finish a hole. Making the game more about speed than precision is an interesting choice, although they often are one in the same. While this may seem like sacrilege to long-time golfing fans, it’s actually a smart move considering how easy it is to waste a stroke in 100ft Robot Golf.
It’s laughably easy to accidentally hit a building right in front of you, or a small piece of the environment that causes the ball to travel roughly 0 feet. That’s why the new scoring method works, and why it seems like a better fit. Things will inevitably go wrong in 100ft Robot Golf since the courses are filled with hazards ranging from underwater cities to lava (which inexplicably acts like a sand trap).
The big difference here is that unlike real golf, where players just have to deal with a tree being in their way, I could actually solve my problems in 100ft Robot Golf. I’m in a giant mech after all, so I could simply hover into the air and perform a ground pound to clear out a building in my way. This type of gameplay adds so much to the golf gameplay, and I constantly had a blast destroying the environment in order to get a great shot off.
While it’s easy to treat 100ft Robot Golf like a traditional golfing game at first, it really started to open up once I started embracing the craziness of the situation. Since everybody is golfing at the same time (up to four players), one of the best strategies players can do is actually blocking shots with their gigantic robot bodies. I caused so many balls to land in the water due to this, and was even able to readjust my own shots by hitting it mid-air. This is not a simulation, and it’s so much more interesting due to it.
The main draw of 100ft Robot Golf is its excellent campaign mode, which tells a story about love, robot golfing and what happens when five corgis come together to pilot five separate robots that then become one giant robot. The game’s completely over-the-top story is told through anime-inspired cutscenes filled with some hilarious voice acting (including work from some familiar voices such as Ubisoft’s Eric Pope). I was constantly laughing at how dumb everything on-screen was, and once again No Goblin somehow made everything work by the end to where I was more emotionally invested in the story than I’d like to admit.
The campaign also serves as a tutorial (although a full-fledged one would’ve been a helpful addition), and by the time players finish it they’ll be ready to take the action online. This is definitely where 100ft Robot Golf shines, as actively trolling your friends online by honking a robotic horn just adds to the experience. Players can also customize their experience online, as there are plenty of options to switch up how the game is scored, and if players who finish a whole can interfere afterwards.
The game also features an awesome cast of characters ranging from a duo inspired by Eureka Seven to a team of Corgis that essentially operates as the Power Rangers. There are also some fun crossover characters that don’t really pop up in the story, including Roundabout‘s Jeffrey and Pierce from Saints Row. Every team of characters has their own input method for actually hitting the ball, and this is another area where 100ft Robot Golf feels fresh. Some golfers use the right and left triggers to set their power, while others use more traditional meters to do so. On top of this, each character also has a special move (such as an attack or a dash) and a special ability that impacts the ball (such as making it bouncy). All of this makes for a rewarding experience.
If there’s one bummer about 100ft Robot Golf it’s that the game lacks a bit of polish. For whatever reason, I found actually aiming where I was trying to hit the ball to be needlessly difficult. It would often start jumping around the screen a bit. This typically wasn’t too much of an issue, but it definitely became one whenever I was against a cliff and was trying to actually hit the ball backwards back onto the fairway. I also experienced a weird glitch where story cutscenes would play, but only a black screen would show up. It fixed itself after I restarted the game, but it happened at the final arc of the story. Speaking of which, There doesn’t seem to be any sort of video gallery to watch past cutscenes, which feels like a missed opportunity considering how funny they are. Having to replay through a stage to see them again feels unnecessary to me.
Another missed opportunity comes in the form of 100ft Robot Golf‘s commentary. The action is delivered by the McElroy brothers, who host a fantastic comedy advice podcast called MBMBaM (My Brother, My Brother and Me), as a fan of their work I was delighted to see them included. The issue is that most of the lines are just standalone zingers, and I didn’t see much interaction between the three. What makes their podcast so successful is how they are able to play off of each other, and that wasn’t really seen here too often. It’s also a bit repetitive as I heard the same jokes many times, but I’m still glad that No Goblin tried to do something fun with the commentary.
100ft Robot Golf is an ambitious title that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s far better due to this, and while it’s not the most polished golf you can play on PS4, it’s certainly the most fun. I do have questions about the game’s longevity (as there are only 36 holes), but the unique gameplay is the draw right now. Hopefully more courses will be released as DLC, but until then I’ll be causing destruction while I golf in an underwater city and on the moon.
Review code for 100ft Robot Golf provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.