Vertiginous Golf is a minigolf game set in a Victorian steampunk alternate universe. The courses can be found high above the never-ending rain clouds known as the Vertiginousphere, where the sun is shining and the grass is green.
Vertiginous Golf is currently available on Steam’s Early Access system which means that the game is still in a state of active development. An Early Access game may be anywhere between a near unplayable state to a mostly finished game that needs some polish and bug fixes. Vertiginous Golf is a fully playable game that is missing some non-vital features that will be added further into development.
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The general opinion is that minigolf games are usually cartoonish in graphics style and relatively easy to play. The developers have taken a different approach using a more realistic graphic style and harder difficulty. It creates a more mature game but still manages to keep the humour which is very important. On my first play of the game I found it very challenging and by the end of the course I was around 50 over par which in any golf game is terrible! The course serves as a good introduction to the game showing off the various features found in it. As the game is set above the clouds, the holes are built up from a series of floating islands, often requiring careful navigation with a long distance chip shot or using the surrounding technology. These include pipework, teleporters and helicopters whose blades generate lift for your ball to carry it across obstacles and hazards.
To help the player, two extremely useful features are available to enable while the ball is in play. The first is a rewind function which allows you to rewind the shot, handy if you use too much or too little power. The second, is a ball aftertouch which allows you alter the direction of the ball when it is travelling. Both of these use up a limited amount of power which slowly recharges after every shot. So don’t expect it to save you all the time, but for the big mishaps it is a lifesaver.
As mentioned, my first playthrough ended up with a terrible score. Practise makes perfect, and after replaying the holes a few times you start to notice that they often have alternative routes to reach the end. You can freely explore the hole with a mechanical hummingbird device which is a nice feature that keeps with the steampunk theme. You start to notice Free Stroke holes which close after a specific number of shots. If you can reach them in time, they give you a free shot and place the ball in an advantageous area. With a lot of practise it is possible to get hole-in-one’s, just that I have not managed it yet 🙂
The steampunk theme works well and is used both technically and visually. From the dark rainy victorianesque store-front when you start the game, through to the steam powered machinery on the course. It is not overdone and shoved in your face, it is subtle and feels natural. The music is not yet complete and I believe there is currently just one background theme which sounds the part. The sound effects are also not complete, but when used they sound good with mechanical clunks and puffs of steam.
There are of course a few things that the game could be improved and built upon and this is the reason why the game is on Early Access, for feedback from players. There are occasionally some very bad camera angles when the ball is close to walls. One annoyance is when you over-shoot towards a hole. The golf club is facing the wrong side of the hole, so you have to rotate 180 degrees to face the hole again. An auto-face the hole or even a rotate 180 degrees control would fix this and make the game that little bit more enjoyable. Amongst the features coming in the future are online multiplayer, more holes and courses, Steam Workshop integration and VR support.
As it stands at the time of writing this, Vertiginous Golf is very playable, I did not encounter any game breaking bugs. The whole experience went very smooth and it feels like a polished game backend. There is a lot of replayability as you need perfect the course to get ideal scores. Future updates to the game will add so much more, the $15/£12 price of the game is definitely worth the investment now.
We do not provide scores for Early Access games, but we may re-review the game or update this article with scores when the game is complete.0