Recently, we asked what's the deal with all the wacky golf games coming out this year? Well, we thought we better answer that question by going straight to the source. While we were out at PAX East 2022, we tracked down the director of upcoming roguelike Cursed To Golf, Liam Edwards. As well as asking him about the enduring appeal of sunny green fairways, we also putted our way through its excellent PAX East demo, discovering this golflike is anything but cursed.
Apologies in advance for the slightly roaring intro - the show floor was particularly loud when we were recording - so fair warning: you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers / headphones before you hit play below.
The PAX East demo for Cursed To Golf saw us play through the game's opening tutorial level, where we got to grips with the three main clubs: the big honking driver, the steady iron, and height-giving wedge. But then, disaster struck. Just as we were about to claim eternal fame and glory for being the world's most legendary golfer, our little chap gets struck by lightning, sending him tumbling down into the depths of hell. Dante clearly had it wrong. There are four circles in the afterlife of Cursed To Golf, and you'll need to drive your way through its 18 holes (literally, in your golf cart, and figuratively, on the fairway) to ascend back to the realm of the living and regain your lost legendary status.
The golfing itself is delightfully simple. All it involves is two button taps: power and pitch. Power takes on your classic sliding bar counter, where filling the bar lets you punt it further across the map, while pitch is another sliding metric that lets you choose whether to hit it high or low. The twist is that these are no ordinary golf holes. There are sharp, twisting caverns, fans, teleporters, stacks of TNT all over the shop... And your jolly green guide through all this, The Scotsman, has his very own set of rules you'll need to abide by as well: chiefly, the hole's par is also your life bar.
Fortunately, there are sneaky statues dotted about that can bump up the number of said par, and a bunch of special Ace Cards that act as power-ups to help you get through some of its tougher obstacle courses. I was a particular fan of the card that let me change the direction of the ball mid-shot, helping me bypass a very wide, nasty lake, and the time-stopper card that kills the ball dead mid-flight - handy, if you're about to overshoot a very small platform and lose a shot. And if you die? Well, it's right back to the start of Hole 1, whether you made it out of the opening level or nearly clinched it at Hole 17. It is a roguelike, after all.
Still, if the strength of the first level was anything to go by, Edwards and the rest of his team at Chuhai Labs could well have a real winner on their hands here. Alas, there's no set release date other than Summer 2022 at the moment on Steam, but hopefully it won't be too long before we can find out if Cursed To Golf is a hole in one, or a dreaded double bogey.
For more of our PAX East coverage, stay tuned to the RPS@PAX tag. We've got plenty more to come, so watch out for more developer interviews, gameplay impressions and more in the coming days.