Now, more than ever is the time for games more grounded in reality to come to VR, and Walkabout Mini Golf drops you into a setting that is incredibly immersive and believable, despite the low-poly aesthetic. Feeling like you could find this course somewhere in the real world only makes experiencing it from the comfort and safety of your own home so much better. If you’ve enjoyed mini-golf before, you’ll enjoy it now too.
ON PAR WITH OTHER PLAYERS
Being able to play solo, challenge other online users, or invite up to five friends to play against, ensures Walkabout Mini Golf caters to all preferences. In this regard, it is notably different from other golf titles already available on the Quest – Pro Putt allows up to two players, Cloudlands 2 allows up to four. Additionally, the translation of virtual golf clubs to the touch controllers works really well and easily accommodates all players, with left-handed or right-handed options, as well as the shaft length adjusting to your hand’s proximity to the virtual ground.
Throughout the game, any relevant information is displayed on your hand, and both menus and golf club handling can all be done using the one controller.
Unlike real-world golf, teleportation is the only method of movement. The game can automatically reposition you to specific locations depending on the placement of the ball and whose turn it is. However, as with regular golf, playing seated isn’t easy due to the ball being directly at your feet upon teleporting for your turn. Players who prefer playing while seated will need to manually position themselves for every stroke and may struggle more when aiming their shots.
STROKE OF GENIUS
Carefully aiming each stroke is crucial in mini-golf, and especially on these courses. As well as four intricately constructed 18-hole courses, each course has a challenging night mode. These nighttime variants provide even more complex and unforgiving layouts. Developer Mighty Coconut makes the most of realistic physics to challenge players, but you will also be able to utilise those physics to find shortcuts through some designs if you have the skill.
As you progress through the unlockable courses, you will be able to collect an assortment of “lost balls” to add to your own usable collection. Your chosen balls will be visible in-game when playing against others online, allowing for some individuality.
PUTTS YOU IN THE MOOD
The best aspect of this Walkabout Mini Golf is that it really makes you believe that the courses you’re playing in could be digital recreations of real top-notch mini-golf courses. Their angular and cartoony style may not immerse you as much as other games like Real VR Fishing, but it keeps your attention on what’s important while maintaining a feeling of realism through quality lighting and well-layered sound design. Each course has its own theme and accompanying lighting, including lanterns, tiki torches and even varied sunlight depending on the weather or time of day. Appropriate use of shadows and reflections adds depth to the settings, making them more convincing despite their minimalistic appearance.
Moreover, depending on the location of the course, environmental sound effects add yet another layer of immersion. This is done through elements such as crashing waves, water droplets, the crackle of fires and even sounds from cicadas, birds, and other animals. The ambience is just one aspect of the sound design though, with the interactions between your golf ball, golf club and various obstacles all registering like they would in real life.
Sadly, one aspect that doesn’t translate well to VR is the front-heavy nature of the headset. With the vast majority of the gameplay spent leaning forward and looking down, the added weight of the Quest strains your neck muscles faster than it would in real life, or even in other games. If you’re a long-time golfer, this probably won’t affect you as much. Still, speaking as a novice, it was noticeable after every long session. Walkabout Mini Golf also does little to describe the terms or rules of mini-golf, so I found myself looking up some words, despite the straightforward nature of the gameplay.
Similarly, there is no designated tutorial, but the game does provide helpful notes on the controls and gameplay when going through the single-player mode. In regards to these popup notes and hints, the developer thought it best to keep all notifications centred in your field of view, most likely for the sake of clarity. Thankfully, once you’ve understood the basics, you can turn these popups off with a toggle on the scorecard. Although, there are still some popups that can’t be removed, and can get quite frustrating when the text box is blocking your shot.
Furthermore, the scorecard that tracks your strokes doesn’t actively update the tally while opened and can’t be manually refreshed once the round ends. Unfortunately, no record of your scores in previous games is kept. This means that there is no way to check who won which game or to see if you’ve improved compared to previous attempts.
ALL FORE THE BEST
Ultimately, Walkabout Mini Golf is a well-designed take on a simple and classic pastime that is well suited to VR. I can easily see players sinking hours and hours into this game, trying to master every level while hanging out with friends. Get together for a game with a few friends and there’s a lot of potential for a great social atmosphere and an even greater experience.
Walkabout Mini Golf
TLDR : Summary
Walkabout Mini Golf is an engaging game, despite its minimalistic and low-poly textures. It captures all the elements that make mini-golf great and builds on it in a VR format, with four unique 18-hole courses playable across two difficulties.
User Rating0 Votes
Diverse ambience and sounds
6 player multiplayer
No additional tasks/challenges utilising the VR medium