Danish indie studio Triband thinks that everything can be golf, and it’s testing that theory with its new game, What the Golf? It’s a cheeky physics-based romp that sometimes doesn’t even involve a ball or club, and it just reached its crowdfunding goal on the fundraising platform Fig. Players can download a free prototype on the campaign page, and the studio plans a PC release later this year.
“It may sound weird, but the inspiration for What the Golf? comes from Dark Souls,” said Triband director Tim Garbos in an email. “When we first started out, we wanted to do a golf game with enemies and the working title was GOLF vs Evil — the dark holes of golf.”
So you could call it the Dark Souls of golf games … sort of. Each level has something that vaguely resembles a course, and the mechanics vaguely resemble the sport. The controls are simple: The longer you hold down the left mouse button, the more energy your swing will have and the farther whatever you hit will go.
In the demo, sometimes you will putt the player instead of the ball, or you will ricochet around as a house or accidentally hurl bowling balls at cats. Occasionally, you play as the golf ball itself. It’s a surreal parody of what the sport can be, and it’s a lot of fun. Triband has also partnered with Superhot and Landfall Games’s Clustertruck for crossover levels, called Superputt and Clusterputt, respectively.
“We spent around three months just coming up with crazy ideas and never really stopped,” said Garbos. “Making a new weird golf game every day is a tough and lonely process. We’ve slowly been driven into madness. To us everything now looks like a golf game, so we’re no longer allowed to eat eggs for breakfast.”
The PC games marketplace Steam offers a plethora of golf games, like Golf With Your Friends, Vertiginous Golf, and Desert Golfing. Some feature M.C. Escher-esque courses filled with winding loop-the-loops and pathways to nowhere. You get the feeling that perhaps these developers created these titles out of actual love for the sport.
But not so much with Triband.
Garbos doesn’t even really consider it to be a “golf game.” It’s more of a delightful goofy way to play with physics and to subvert players’ expectations. The studio has done so before with its previous release Keyboard Sports, which uses the entire keyboard as its controller.
“There is so much hate in the world so we thought it might be a great idea to aim it at something insignificant like golf. We have known golf for some time now and we are sure golf can take it,” said Garbos. “We are just adding another hundred new variations to golf, thanks to advanced computer technology.”