Walkabout Mini Golf Review: A Brilliant VR Game
Walkabout Mini Golf has been around for a long time, like on Quest 2, but now it's on Playstation VR 2 too – and it rocks.
There are a lot of very good VR games out there. Not enough by far, and the best ones are not coming from established game studios, but from studios that haven't completely lost their mojo to the commercial circus. Not that I have anything against commerce in general - but good virtual reality requires special expertise, a real understanding of the medium. And a lot of care.
Walkabout Mini Golf shows all of that. Studio Mighty Coconut has already built themselves a memorial with this game. Why is that?
Walkabout Mini Golf: Review in a nutshell
The coherent graphics. The great physics. The challenges. The regular supply of thematically varying courses. The perfect multiplayer implementation.
And that deep sense of relaxation I get when I enter a course. Wonderful!
What are you saying, you've never played? It's about time!
You should play Walkabout Mini Golf if …
- want to experience great atmospheric VR worlds,
- want to experience great game physics in action,
- want to relax with an hour of mini-golf, and
- have a great time with friends and colleagues.
You should rather not play Walkabout Mini Golf if …
- you don't like cartoony graphics,
- have the sensitivity of a jackhammer, and
- can't get into mini golf.
What is it about?
Don't you know?
There are 18 holes on each course. At the end of each course is a hole. In between, depending on the course, different obstacles or handicaps are built: Corners, curves, hills, dips, objects, spinning objects, slopes, walls, water, blowers and more.
With a golf club, I have to maneuver the golf ball across the course and past all the obstacles into the hole. To do this, I need a good eye, a steady arm and a great deal of precision, which is expressed in exactly the right impact force combined with the perfect angle of the golf club.
How does it look?
I think it's great. On Quest 2 as well as on Playstation VR 2, with advantages for Sony's headset due to better colors, black levels, contrasts, graphics power. But no matter where you play it, on Steam VR or on Pico 4, the worlds are just great to look at.
The minimalist comic look is used so intelligently, presented so cohesively and convincingly, that I often found myself wanting to play a VR RPG in these worlds. Whether it's the Wild West, the Gothic course, the space station or Captain Nemo's Nautilus, details and design are perfectly aligned.
Clouds, sheep, animated creatures, underwater worlds with fish and whales: Each new course is truly a feast for the eyes. I get excited like a little kid every time a new course is announced (which is about every three months). What has Mighty Coconut got in store now?
The diorama-style view of the entire course in the 3D menu is a highlight of its own. How great would an RPG be from this VR perspective?
You can see that the studio has been improving from the first course to the last (there are currently 18 courses, 10 of which are paid DLCs at fair prices). The worlds have become more and more sophisticated, more and more detailed, more and more playful - without being overloaded. "Upside Town", for example, is a visual masterpiece that looks like a playable modern and colorful painting by M.C. Escher.
How does it play?
I was blown away by how real it felt when I first played it on Quest 1. The only thing missing is the weight of the club and the haptic feedback when the club hits the golf ball.
With the PSVR 2's Sense controllers, that's no longer the case, because they simulate the collision of the club and the ball so convincingly that it feels like I'm actually hitting a ball. Fantastic!
The angle of the club and the power of the shot make the difference between a hole in one and a double boogey. I can't blame the game when I fail: I am holding the Quest controller (I only need one to play) in my right hand like a real golf club and stabilizing my swing arm with my left hand - just like in real life. I stand properly, calmly eye the target and then the ball, gently swinging the club to hit the ball perfectly - God, it feels so satisfying!
The PSVR 2's Sense controllers offer great haptics, but unfortunately they're not so great for swinging the club with both hands, as the tracking bar gets in the way. I found myself using my left hand to grip the right wrist for stability. This works much better with the Quest controllers.
I also prefer the Quest 2, despite the inferior graphics, because the PSVR 2's cord is inconvenient. Since I move my head a lot, look back and forth, and sometimes turn around, the cable is just more annoying than usual. However, one can get used to it and I can play Walkabout Mini Golf with little movement via snap turning and the obligatory teleportation without any problems.
Walkabout Mini Golf review conclusion: My killer app for VR
I've been playing Walkabout Mini Golf almost every week for years. This game has been dragging me under the Quest 2 for so much longer than all other VR games combined.
That's because of that perfect mix of challenging courses, top-notch physics, fine graphics, and an underlying relaxation that permeates everything about this great game. When I enter a course, I am immediately relaxed, calm, at ease. No yogi can compete with that.
And it's the perfect environment to play a few holes with friends, discuss work with colleagues, or even invite clients over for a chat. The virtual green is a great place to initiate business deals.
No matter what platform you play on or what VR headset you prefer, Walkabout Mini Golf is a must for any VR enthusiast. And most of them will play it again and again.