Vertiginous Golf Preview

Vertiginous Golf Exploratory narrative, golf and steampunk are not words you would ever think to associate with one another, yet Vertiginous Golf wants to merge all of those strange terms into one very strange game. The world is a dreary landscape of never-ending rain and, thankfully, there is an escape in the rich virtual landscape of the Vertiginousphere, where you and your friends can relax in a kingdom on the clouds, floating on an endless blue sky, and take part in a relaxing game of miniature golf, complete with robotic hummingbirds, wicked traps and trails, the ability to rewind bad shots, and a tiny rocket that sits atop your ball so you can adjust your shot. I will fully admit that the absurd premise is what motivated me to seek out a preview build at all. While I do play golf, I’ve never been into non-Mario Golf golf games, but something about a narrative exploratory golf game set in a steampunk virtual reality world seemed too inherently interesting to pass up. I wasn’t expecting the deep and incredibly challenging experience that Vertiginous Golf provided, but I was sure happy that it did.Surprise Attack didn’t just put a coat of paint on a pseudo-minigolf game, they completely made it their own with enough familiarity to feel at home with golfers. Vertiginous Golf While you could call this minigolf extreme, there’s even more to Vertiginous Golf. You not only have a putter to navigate the ramps, chutes, conveyer belts and more, but a wedge to lob your ball down onto the holes. That’s right, holes, plural. Not only are you going to the traditional ‘end the hole’ hole, but just as minigolf may have secondary holes to whisk your ball through pipes, Vertiginous Golf has challenging holes that shave strokes off your score and move you closer to the final hole, but don’t expect them to be a saving grace all the time, if you can reach them within a certain number of strokes they close off. Even after a few hours of play I was finding myself with 15+ strokes on single holes because there were so many tools and barriers I was still getting used to. While being terrible at a game would usually make me quit, I could feel myself getting better the more I played and even when I was screwing up it was still fun. Even with the robot hummingbird to scope out your path to the hole there are plenty of challenges and timing based events to have to think through. The perfect line probably won’t be perfect constantly. Vertiginous Golf If you’ve ever played a golf video game in the past 20 years you will be pretty familiar with the base mechanics. You with the spacebar to start your swing meter and again to lock in the power level of your shot. By simply taking shots you slowly gain the power to rewind your mistakes or use the rocket on top of the ball to adjust where it stops, which is particularly useful when attempting to take that final put and miss by only a inch. That meter only fills at about a half or third of the distance you want to rewind, so don’t expect to be able to recover every ball you send out into the clouds. While what we have been given so far is fun, the promise of more is exactly what I want. Since this is a crazy floating virtual golf course I really hope we get some variance in visual style for the courses that are yet to arrive. Having a base game that is already fun and easily replayable is exactly what was needed to push Vertiginous Golf up into the spotlight it deserves. Even with the somewhat wonky camera control, there is a good idea here that can be fully realized with a bit more polish and content.

As of now, there are 18 holes that you and up to three friends can try your luck at, and Surprise Attack plans on having over 45 in the final launch with online play. What initially hooked me was the premise of the underlying narrative mystery and world of this dreary, rain drenched world whose escape is a virtual reality sky golf course and while there isn’t much of that in the current build, I’m patiently anticipating those features to compliment the excellent base golf game that Surprise Attack has built.