Golf With Your Friends has an incredibly simple premise at its core and one that anyone who has played any form of crazy golf, in real life or virtually, will understand. All you have to do is get the ball in the hole while avoiding whatever obstacles litter the course. Despite it being so straightforward, there’s still something about it that manages to infuriate me to no end - even though it really shouldn’t.
I am a competitive player. I always have been. But I didn’t expect this to come out so intensely during what my friend suggested would be a “simple game to play in the background.” Once I set up in this exasperating game of golf, I found myself repeatedly falling silent to concentrate on landing the perfect hit in the hopes of making a hole-in-one. Frankly, this is a little embarrassing to admit when all I’m playing is crazy golf from the comfort of my desk.
The idea of a simple game was quickly thrown out the window, and my competitive nature came out in full, resulting in a frustration-filled quest to become the very best at the world’s simplest game. Each risky putt or under-hit shot left me with my head in my hands, yet I couldn’t help but come straight back to it time and time again to try and do better.
Nothing wrong with friendly competition
I can’t fully take the blame for making my experience with Golf With Your Friends a ridiculous competition. The game doesn’t shy away from the sense of rivalry between you and whoever you’re playing with it creates. After all, you are fighting against one another to get the lowest number of shots. With some of the ludicrous courses you’re expected to putt around, your need to win overcomes any sort of ‘relaxation’ you might feel during your time with the game.
For a little extra frustration, you can also switch on a “random ball shape” mode, which is precisely what it says it is. On each hole, you’ll take on a different shape, such as an acorn, a star, or, my personal favorite, a hockey puck. This additional random element strips away any relaxing or laid-back gaming experience that you might be having in an instant.
Trying to pull off shots on certain holes becomes out of the question when you’re suddenly in control of a cone-shaped ball rather than a spherical ball, marking the game as insufferably tricky, which isn’t helped by the giggles of a friend with significantly better luck than yours who is making quick work of the course with a slightly larger than normal golf ball. However, this random ball mode also adds something even more thrilling to the mix, testing your skills further and giving you more reasons to keep coming back to the game rather than exhausting its levels and maps and never touching it again.
For those professionals who have explored every course Golf With Your Friends has to offer, this is also enough incentive to keep you coming back to engage in the chaos a random ball shape offers. At least this random ball is a decent reason to be so infuriated with the game rather than just feeling annoyed at the fact my friend turned out to be a secret descendent of Tiger Woods, while I was just wasting shots by helplessly skirting around the flag.
But despite this, something is charming about how ridiculous it feels to get so obsessed with being good at a simple game that is determined to test my wits over and over again. Its whimsical music, bright colors, and ability to reduce even the most competitive players into fits of giggles when something goes horribly wrong are huge parts of the fun.
I want to be better at the game so I’m a more worthy opponent for my friends, but I can’t help feeling like my lack of skill is half the fun of the experience. I love Golf With Your Friends despite my gripes with how it plays, but, thanks to the rage that it induces when I can’t land a perfect hit, I’m not convinced my friends love golf with me.
We’ve got a list of the best co-op games if you’re looking for something potentially less infuriating to play with your pals, but our list of the best multiplayer PC games may also offer another compelling adventure to embark on with your companions.
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Kara is an Evergreen writer at TechRadar Gaming. With a degree in Journalism and a passion for the weird and wonderful, she's spent the last few years as a freelance video game journalist, with bylines at NintendoLife, Attack of the Fanboy, Prima Games, and sister publication, GamesRadar+. Outside of gaming, you'll find her re-watching Gilmore Girls or trying to cram yet another collectible onto a shelf that desperately needs some organizing.