A Little Golf Journey – Review
Follow Genre: Golf game, sports game
Developer: Okidokico
Publisher: Playtonic Friends
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

A Little Golf Journey – Review

Site Score
Good: Intuitive controls
Bad: Progress locked behind collecting stars
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Die hard golf enthusiasts may disagree, but the essence of golf is simplistic: get a ball in a hole. This makes it hard for video game developers to get their golf game stand out from the competition. It has become increasingly common for golf games to implement a “twist” to shake things up: sometimes it’s absurdist humor, like in What the Golf? or a mad dash across the golf course, like in Mario Golf: Super Rush. A Little Golf Journey, the subject of today’s review, takes things in a whole other direction: the game strips away all the bells and whistles and instead sets out to deliver you a golf game that goes back to basics. Not entirely, of course, as there are still plenty of secrets to be found here, but the core gameplay is kept deliberately minimalistic compared to the hyperrealistic golf sims that cater to golf fanatics. Is A Little Golf Journey a birdie or a bogey? Let’s find out!


Although there is technically a story present in A Little Golf Journey, it’s neither engaging, nor essential to the way the game unfolds itself. The game starts with an invitation to join an elite club of golf players. To do so, you’ll have to prove your merit. The remainder of the story is told through letters, but given how insignificant these were to the overall experience, we only glossed over them and we didn’t feel like we missed out on a lot by doing this. It doesn’t help that there are no actual characters present in the game either, as that made it difficult to care about the cryptic plot.


A Little Golf Journey makes use of low-poly graphics that underline the minimalist nature of the game. Each of the game’s courses is designed to look like a miniature diorama of sorts. There is a surprising amount of variety in the environments, ranging from the obligatory classic green fields, all the way to deserts, castle ruins, and even outer space. The ever-changing lighting effects really helped in making the game look more attractive too. It’s a great example of ‘less is more’, as what’s present here really works, but the game actively avoids including details that are non-essential to the gameplay.


Accompanying you on your golf journey is what is billed as a “soothing, zen-like soundtrack”. While the music is indeed very relaxing and pleasant, it’s also utterly forgettable. The fact that the music tracks aren’t tied to the environments thematically doesn’t help either, as we occasionally felt like there was a disconnect between what we heard and what we saw. Given that there is no voice acting present and that sound effects are very limited, there isn’t a whole lot else we can say about A Little Golf Journey’s soundscape. It’s easily one of the game’s most lacking elements.


There is of course a plethora of golf games available, ranging from melancholic 2D titles like Golf Club Wasteland, all the way to hyperrealistic sim titles like PGA Tour 2K21. A Little Golf Journey falls somewhere between those titles, although it gravitates more towards a realistic approach for the most part. The game provides a very straightforward take on golf, stripping the experience down to the bare essence. This approach makes A Little Golf Journey a relaxing, almost zen-like experience. There are no timers, crowds, or other stress-inducing factors present. There is just you, the golf ball, and the course. Your aim is of course to get the ball in the hole in as few hits as possible and you receive a score of up to four stars accordingly. Despite the game’s apparent simplicity, it’s quite challenging to actually get those four stars. Getting your ball to the green is something that often takes multiple shots, but a perfect score often requires you to clear a course in two or three shots in total. The game indicates how many shots you can take before losing out on a star, and many of the diorama-like courses left us scratching our heads as to how it would even be possible to achieve a perfect score on them.

Unfortunately, simply playing through A Little Golf Journey at your leisure, without caring about stars, is impossible, as you’ll need these to progress to the later stages of the game. This mechanic is reminiscent of how you unlock certain routes using medals in the 2D Super Mario platformers. We understand the reasoning behind locking progress behind stars, but the mechanic felt arbitrary and outdated here. Having to replay stages over and over made us realize that A Little Golf Journey wasn’t all that suited for prolonged play sessions, as it was starting to feel repetitive after a while. That’s not to say that A Little Golf Journey is a chore to play through because, despite the artificial speed bumps, the core gameplay is surprisingly elegant.

This is mainly because of the controls, which are intuitive and easy to get used to. Aiming and hitting feels accurate and zooming the camera around the course to plan the best possible route couldn’t be more smooth. It’s also essential to sniffing out the secrets that are littered throughout the courses. These range from alternate pathways that may not immediately be apparent, all the way to bonus stars and mini-games that open up new paths on the overworld map. The secrets prevent A Little Golf Journey from becoming too much of a repetitive slogfest for the most part, although it didn’t fully alleviate the sour taste of star-locked progress from our mouths. It’s a shame, as the game doesn’t need the artificial speedbump. There is plenty present to incentivize you to spend more time with the game, whether it’s discovering every secret or simply aiming to achieve the perfect score on each course. At times, we felt like developer Okidokico was simply trying to pad the game’s playthrough time in order to justify the relatively hefty price tag.


In order to fully enjoy A Little Golf Journey, you’ll need to be in a certain mindset. There is a very enjoyable little golf game in here, filled with secrets to discover, elegant controls and charming visuals. However, the game’s lesser points become increasingly apparent during prolonged sessions, with the main offender being the repetitiveness that comes with locking progress behind stars. As such, this is a title best enjoyed in short bursts rather than marathon sessions. The relatively high price tag combined with the short overall length is another obstacle to overcome. Overall, while we do recommend taking a look at A Little Golf Journey, we suggest waiting for a sale.

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