Dangerous Golf Video Game Review
We’ve all been there. You walk into a fancy museum or a carnival hall of mirrors and think, “Man, I really want to hit an exploding golf ball in here.” Well now you can! The debut game from the new developer Three Fields is as straight forward as it gets: destroy everything in sight by smashing a golf ball into it. The destructive premise of Dangerous Golf should come as no surprise considering the developers pedigree, which includes many former members of Criterion (the studio behind the Burnout series).
Dangerous Golf is a sports(ish) arcade-style game that takes more than a little inspiration from Burnout 3’s Crash Mode and, even more so, from the standalone title Burnout Crash!. Each “hole” is a different level filled with breakable (and expensive) objects you need to destroy in order to earn cash. Obviously, the more valuable objects you break, the more money you earn. Each level also has its own set of objectives, such as breaking every champagne bottle or landing in all the mop buckets, which net you vast sums of cash if completed.
Each hole provides you with three strokes to wreck as much of the environment as you can. When teeing off, it’s important to aim for objectives and expensive items, but also to break enough objects to trigger a Smashbreaker. Smashbreakers count as your second shot and work a lot like Crashbreakers in Burnout 3, blowing up your ball and allowing you to control it for a short time. Once you’re done wrecking stuff with the Smashbreaker, you have to sink a putt to retain all of the cash you earned.
Trick-shot putts, such as ricocheting off the wall, earn you more money. This may sound risky, but the aiming system is fairly forgiving, making trick shots worth trying for. You also gain new abilities as you progress, such as a tee-off laser sight that improves your aim, so guiding your shots becomes easier over time. But even with all its nuances, the game isn’t really about skill; the spectacle of destructive carnage is the single solitary goal.
Seeing a posh mansion torn to shreds by a golf ball is like watching an indoor fireworks show, and the game’s visuals are decent enough to keep the destruction entertaining. The graphics don’t look that much better than what you might find on the previous console generation, but there are a large number of stages and a galaxy of in-game objects to smash, keeping the appearance of each stage interesting and different. The sheer number of breakable in-game assets keeps the game from getting stale visually.
The music and sound effects in Dangerous Golf are top-notch. Shattering glass, clanging pianos, crumbling stone; every sound effect adds impact to the havoc you unleash. Stryker, the upbeat announcer from the Burnout series, makes a return but, unfortunately, his hype is rarely backed up by the gameplay.
Though destructive mini-golf is a great concept with a lot of potential, the developers missed the mark a bit with the execution. Most of the gameplay feels like steering around a bouncy wrecking ball instead of anything resembling golf. If the gameplay relied more on golf rules and physics, Dangerous Golf would be a lot more interesting.
The game is undeniably fun for a while, but trying to achieve all the objectives in each level can become frustrating and tedious after multiple attempts. The crash events in Burnout were a lot of fun, but they were intermixed with racing and other activities to keep the events fresh. There are some variations to Dangerous Golf’s formula, such as putting challenge stages, but there isn’t enough variety to keep the game from inevitably becoming stale after a few hours.
Single player is especially dull, but playing with a group of friends can be enjoyable. If you are looking for a party game and long for the satisfaction of destroying a bunch of expensive stuff, Dangerous Golf‘s low $20 price tag might be worth it to you. Gamers looking for any depth or strategy will want to skip this one, but fans of harmless, wonton destruction will definitely get a kick out of it.
Dangerous Golf was reviewed on Xbox One. It is also available for PC and PlayStation 4. A copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer.