Planet Golf - An anticipated Golf Sim for the C64 is finally here! (REVIEW)


Title: Planet Golf
Platform: C64
Publisher: Psytronik and RGCD
Released: Out Now (Digital) 26th August 2017 (Disk)

One of the most anticipated releases for the C64 in recent times: "Planet Golf" has been released this week and is available to purchase as a digital download (on Itch.io and Binary Zone), or "Budget" and "Ultimate" disk box set editions on Binary Zone's retro store. All of the money raised from the game's sales will also go to children's charity: UNICEF. This is the latest game from Antonio Savona (P0 Snake). Anyone familiar with RGCD's 2014 16kb Cart competition winner will instantly know what levels of polish and humorous touches to expect from this latest release. With 99 golf courses across the solar system, there's plenty of content here to keep you busy for many weeks, months and years to come. 


The game is set across 5 different planets, with Earth, Mars and Jupiter available from the beginning, and 2 other planets which you'll need to unlock through securing in game achievements. Levels are non-scrolling and consist of a few devilishly positioned hazards between your tee and the hole. But like P0 Snake, the game has joyously accessible and simplistic controls. Using your joystick just use left and right to set your swing angle, and hold down fire to set the power and release it to launch the ball. You'll quickly realise that the game isn't so simple to master however, as the level layouts conspire to reck your score at every opportunity. In fact, I think the developers are getting some sadistic pleasure from knowing that you'll not be getting many scores close to par on even most of the easiest levels, without many hours experimenting with finding the best paths.

 
The only fault I can pick, is that because each planet has between 18-21 holes, you'll need a lot of skill just to be even able to finish a single round.  The only other option is to quit the game mid round and start again. I think it might have benefited from a start a hole from scratch option, have a way to save progress mid way, or even slightly shorter 9 hole courses. But then the developers are trolls, and clearly want to see some youtube videos of you shouting obscenities at your ageing CRT screen, John Gage style. But if you can persevere through the questionable difficulty curve, the game becomes a true gem.


Graphics are clean and simplistic, but nice touches like the splash animation and sound effects just ooze quality.  So you don't mind so much that your ball has ended up in the drink for the 10th time in a row. The birds' squawking, the martian rage faces, the digitised speech, the achievement system and the slick level select screen are just a few examples of the game's quality production. There is also an extra disk, which contains all the game's fantastic sound tracks playable in a standalone audio app, and a stunning cinematic mini demo featuring digitised video and audio from Kennedy and the moon landings, tied to the game's back story of interplanetary tourism leading up to the year 36940. With only a few hours of sale, the game has already gone straight to the top of the sales charts on Itch.io. I definitely recommend this zany and addictive take on the golf genre.  C64's game of the year!

1) Source
2) Available now at Binary Zone Retro Shop (Disk and download) 
3) and Itch.io (download only)

posted by @hayes_maker

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