One of the first sports games I ever played was Golf on the NES. For you younger readers out there it was literally called “Golf,” and I learned, coming from no knowledge of the sport, what the difference between a driver, an iron, and a wood was. Golf games have progressed so much since then, providing insanely granular physics engines, hyper-realistic terrain, and pro sponsorship tie-ins—until Dangerous Golf decided to throw all of that out the window.
It’s evident right away that a team consisting of Burnout developers made this game. It’s loud, brash, and there are tons of explosions within the first two minutes. Dangerous Golf manages to do all of this in a mostly endearing manner and never really crosses into the realm of “extreme 90s” or becomes annoying. Your goal is to basically smash as much stuff as possible for points, and then putt your way into the hole at the end—and If that doesn’t sound too…”golfy,” that’s because it isn’t. It’s a destruction game through and through, golf is just one of its several mechanics.
Each level in Dangerous Golf features missions that involve landing in objects or blowing up certain structures. A hint system highlights these goals if you’d like, as well as the hazards that can end the round with a collision. Naturally the Burnout team would implement an “aftertouch-like” concept, which is where the Smashbreaker comes in. There are also wacky power-ups in play like laser targeting. There are nuances like trick shots and some theory-crafting involved in order to net the “best possible score,” but most stages can be completed by simply smashing things up and aiming for the more important parts of each arena. Yet despite this, Dangerous Golf is still fun.
Beyond a campaign-like world tour mode there’s also an asynchronous co-op feature, as well as a four-player tournament style game type and an eight-player online mode. You can also unlock tiny little gallery art rewards—that’s really it. And I really mean “that’s it.” All of the modes in Dangerous Golf basically blend together, including the campaign, which repeats themes and locations far too often than I’d like.
Out of the gate, Dangerous Golf was pretty rough. It had a number of technical issues, the most egregious of which were the very lengthy load times in between runs, which led to a large level of frustration from launch players. However, this review is taking place following the release of a massive update that not only addressed a lot of those problems, but also added in a bunch of new content that makes it easier to acclimate. The biggest add-on is probably the video tutorial, and I can’t imagine jumping into the game without it, as it explains everything while keeping the open-ended nature of how to approach each level intact. Load times are now several seconds instead of 30 (oof!), and the frame rate is now consistently running at 30fps.
It’s enough of an adjustment to essentially save the game from itself. Dangerous Golf, despite its constant penchant for flames, is not going to set the world on fire. It’s a fun distraction for all you latent destroyers out there, and that’s all it really needs to be.