Cursed to Golf preview PAX East 2022 Chuhai Labs Thunderful Publishing roguelike sidescroller 2D golf fun strategy

I’ve been looking forward to a preview of Cursed to Golf ever since seeing it in motion. It’s 2D golf with a twist, since your character is trapped in purgatory and must make his way back to the surface world by playing 18 holes. These aren’t ordinary holes, though, because you’ll be able to manipulate your ball and the terrain around you in order to win. It’s all part of helping you break the curse upon your soul.

Cursed to Golf preview PAX East 2022 Chuhai Labs Thunderful Publishing roguelike sidescroller 2D golf fun strategy

Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil in Cursed to Golf

Cursed to Golf does a great job of introducing you to its mechanics. You start off on the final hole of a game, seconds away from victory. You learn of the three clubs you can use: Driver for long shots, Iron for medium, and Wedge for short ones. Upon approaching the last shot, however, clouds appear overhead and lightning strikes you dead. Your soul descends into Golf Purgatory, where you meet a specter named The Scotsman, who tells you that you have been cursed to play in this land for all eternity. You can return to the land of the living if you manage to beat all 18 holes down here, though no one has ever done it before.

Another tutorial is introduced to teach you the basics of golfing in purgatory. You only have five shots to make it to the goal, and the courses are long. Luckily, there are buffs you can utilize to make things swing your way. There are gold and silver skull statues that grant you extra shots should you smash your ball through them.

In addition, Cursed to Golf has over 20 unique Ace Card power-ups, both active and passive. These cards can do a variety of things. In my demo, there was Practice Shot, which you could use to smash skull statues and have your ball reset to its original position in case you end up far away from your goal; Explode!, which detonates nearby TNT crates to create shortcuts; and Time Stop, which stops the ball in midair and drops it directly down. All these cards are crucial if you want to get around the various hazards Golf Purgatory throws at you.

Cursed to Golf preview PAX East 2022 Chuhai Labs Thunderful Publishing roguelike sidescroller 2D golf fun strategy

Simple to Learn, Difficult to Master

Playing Cursed to Golf for preview, I soon learned it’s easy to get into but harder to master. Powering up your shots for maximum strength is surprisingly easy to do. Learning where to angle your shots and when to use Ace Cards is trickier, though. Knowing when to spin your ball after shooting is also important to slow down its trajectory. And no matter how many shots you gain, it’s always a nail-biter because there is a high likelihood you’ll be on your last shot when approaching the hole. I had all the encouragement of the game’s creator and director, Liam Edwards, during my demo, and even that didn’t help my nerves.

Speaking of Edwards, he answered some of my burning questions. Cursed to Golf is a procedurally generated golf game with 100+ holes that shuffle into the 18 you have to complete in the game. If you lose any of the holes, it’s back to square one. The title’s aesthetic was inspired by Castlevania and Metroid. Its gameplay owes its existence to Neo Turf Masters and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002, the latter of which was used as a template for Cursed to Golf‘s spin mechanic. Only four full-time programmers are working on the game, but Edwards is open to DLC for the title, as well as a versus and co-op mode.

I enjoyed my preview time with Cursed to Golf. It has lovely pixel art, it is fun to play, and its gameplay loop and mechanics are unique and innovative. Plus, Liam Edwards is a great guy who loves to watch people experience his game and listen to their feedback. Look for the golf adventure to hit Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and PC via Steam this summer.

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