Review – Easy Come Easy Golf
The Switch has a sizeable amount of golf games, but with the exception of Golf Story (which is less of a golf simulator and more of a full-fledged RPG), they have all been either average at best and disappointing at worst. Mario Golf: Super Rush is a prime example of a game ruined by Nintendo’s insistence on shoving in gimmicks where nobody has asked for such. If you wanted to play a game that felt like the glory days of Mario Golf, such as its N64 or GameCube counterparts, you basically had to resort to the emulated version of the original game on the Nintendo Switch Online service. Well, those days are over. How about playing a game from a series which inspired Mario Golf in the first place? Let me present you Easy Come Easy Golf.
First of all, awesome pun name. Second of all, Easy Come Easy Golf is actually part of the Hot Shots Golf/Everybody’s Golf series. Yes, that one that has been a PS staple ever since the late 90s. You may not know this (I sure didn’t), but the original Hot Shots Golf was actually developed by Camelot, the same company that would eventually develop Mario Golf a few years later for Nintendo. The blueprint for an accessible golf simulator was there all along. After Camelot left, Clap Hanz would keep on developing games for the franchise to this day, keeping the formula intact, which would end up being a blessing in disguise.
Camelot (most certainly, under Nintendo’s orders) started adding unnecessary gimmicks into the Mario Golf franchise, while the Hot Shots Golf remained largely unchanged, with maybe one or two gameplay features added here and there, without detracting from the core golf experience. After the massive disappointment that was Mario Golf: Super Rush, playing a modern cartoonish golf simulator that doesn’t try to fix what isn’t broken feels great. That’s not to say that Easy Come Easy Golf doesn’t have elements that make it stand out from other games in the genre, but they actually IMPROVE the experience, and don’t ruin what makes people buy those games to begin with.
That “gimmick” is simple: team building. For instance, if you decide to play a nine-hole course, you’ll be told to choose nine golfers from your roster, with each one playing a different hole. Given how each one has a different par, a different set of hazards, and so on, you can easily edit your team so you can play each hole with the better suited character. One might be better when it comes to removing the ball from a bunker hazard, so why not setting said golfer to a bunker-heavy hole? It’s a minute amount of strategy and team-building added to what’s still a very accessible golf game, the ideal amount of innovative elements without distracting players from what makes these games so enjoyable in the first place.
It also helps that Easy Come Easy Golf features excellent controls, especially if you decide to use the right analog stick control scheme. With the same stick, you are able to dictate the strength of your shot, and the amount of effect put into it. There are other schemes, including a traditional button-based one (like in Mario Golf) and touch controls, but I found the right analog stick input method to be ideal. I haven’t played a golf game in years and was still able to do a hole-in-one after a few tries. Easy Come Easy Golf also comes with an excellent tutorial mode that explains everything you need to know.
My only gripe with its gameplay loop is that the game is very, VERY grindy. Due to its origins as an Apple Arcade name (under a different name and with less polish and content), Easy Come Easy Golf wants to extend its length and lasting appeal by telling you to play courses over and over again in order to gain stars and new characters. It is the kind of game meant to be played for two, maybe three courses a day, given its accessibility. No microtransactions are featured, but its grindy nature might bore some players.
The Apple Arcade roots also influence on Easy Come Easy Golf‘s visuals and performance. It is a pretty game with a lot of charm, but it runs at 30fps at best. Thankfully, a golf game could still run at 20fps that it wouldn’t be that much of an issue (Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64 still holds up, after all). It still looks somewhat nicer than Mario Golf: Super Rush, though, despite the middling framerate. It’s also much cheaper, clocking at a juicy twenty bucks against Mario Golf‘s atrocious sixty. I’d also dare to say that Easy Come Easy Golf has more content.
I love that Easy Come Easy Golf exists for the Switch. Everything that was wrong with Mario Golf: Super Rush (and honestly, all Mario sports games released over the past decade or so) isn’t present in this adorable title that keeps thing simple, but also fresh. Its gimmicks are minute, only improving what’s still an easy and intuitive gameplay loop. It might be a bit grindy, but it’s also quite addictive. In short, this might actually be the best Mario Golf game in years, and it doesn’t even feature any Italian plumbers in its roster.
Easy Come Easy Golf is really pretty and adorable to look at, but it does suffer from a somewhat underwhelming framerate. Thankfully, being a golf game, it doesn’t interfere with the gameplay that much.
Back to basics, with no gimmicks, and really intuitive controls. I loved being able to both power up and aim my shots with ease with a flick on the right analog stick. I also enjoyed the team building aspect, adding a tiny bit of strategy to the overall gameplay loop.
A bit of voice acting, a chill soundtrack, passable sound effects. Easy Come Easy Golf doesn’t impress with its sound design, but doesn’t disappoint either.
Fun Factor: 7.5
It’s grindy and repetitive at times, but its gameplay loop is so endearing that you won’t mind it that much. Easy Come Easy Golf is what modern Mario Golf should have been.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Easy Come Easy Golf is available now on Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Easy Come Easy Golf was provided by the publisher.