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July 2022

Turbo Golf Racing

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Secret Mode
Developer: Hugecalf Studios
Release Date: 2022


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XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Turbo Golf Racing'

by Cody Medellin on May 3, 2022 @ 12:31 a.m. PDT

Turbo Golf Racing is a fast-paced arcade-style sports racing game for up to eight players, all competing to see whose speed-putting skills are up to par.

One surprising thing about the success of Rocket League isn't the fact that it struck gold after the company's first attempt on the PS3 didn't go so well. The surprising thing is how no one tried to capitalize on the game's success by making their own clones or inspired titles. Psionix would go on to modify the formula by swapping out soccer for hockey and basketball with various success while everyone else stayed with the more tried-and-true racing formula. After seven years, someone finally took up the challenge with Turbo Golf Racing.

To say that Turbo Golf Racing was influenced by Rocket League would be a huge understatement. The cars have slightly different shapes, but they're still sporting bright, almost neon colors with large wheels. The speed at which you're traveling when you smack the ball determines how far and fast it'll go; you can jump, flip, and boost in the air to give the ball an extra bit of English. Customization includes some crazy-looking wheel designs and different boost colors. The game even has a season pass for even more customization. The look is close enough that if you gave both games quick glances, you couldn't immediately tell one apart from the other.

Brush aside all of those similarities, and what you'll find is more in line with the speed golf mode in Mario Golf: Super Rush than the traditional sport. Pitted against seven other players, you all start at the same time and try to knock your ball forward until it lands in the hole. Considering how bouncy the ball is and the size of the thing, the game is a bit forgiving. Hitting the ball in the hole's cone of light causes it to gravitate there and fall in, so you don't need to be super precise. To prevent any griefing, you can only affect your own ball, so you can't purposefully smack someone else's ball out of bounds or have that happen to you. However, you can pick up some turbo boosts on the field to instantly refill your boost meter, and you can also grab rockets to fire on opponents to knock them into the air and stop their momentum. The game follows standard cup rules from here, as your position when sinking the ball into the hole determines how many points you score overall. The winner is determined after three rounds of play.

It doesn't get much more complicated than that, and while the concept can seem strange at first, it doesn't take long before you get the hang of it. Rocket League veterans should be able to adapt almost instantly. It also helps that momentum is ever forward, so you'll spend less time fiddling with the camera to find the ball after you launch it. The courses are designed well enough that they provide a challenge while also ensuring that nothing takes too long for anyone to complete. That translates into some quick rounds with quick games, and you're able to jump back into another online match relatively quickly. While actually winning a match nets you a good deal of XP and cash to use in the store for more aesthetic improvements, Turbo Golf Racing finds ways to award you with stuff for accomplishments such as hitting the bunker often or succeeding in putting the ball in the hole for all three rounds. Even in defeat, you gain a substantial amount of goods to keep you motivated to try one more round … again.

For those who aren't completely about online play, the beta build featured a single-player offline mode. The objective is the same, but with no other players present, it acts more as a time trial mode, since you are trying to sink the ball in the hole as quickly as possible. The time to complete each course determines how many stars you'll earn, and while that unlocks more courses, it also gives you more customization items for your car, so you can trick things out even more before you take on actual competition.

One element may give players pause, and that's the presence of power cores. You can equip two of them at a time, and powers include magnetically attracting the ball, changing the ball size, extra turbo boost, and putting up a force field to knock the ball without touching it. Trying to discover the right combo is half of the fun, and while some power cores can only be obtained through natural gameplay, others can be purchased at the in-game store, and that's where things can get thorny.

One of the unwritten rules of most competitive games is to ensure that no advantageous items should be sold as a microtransaction. Cores for currency is fine until you realize that some of the cores are in an area that rotates out of the store daily. There are references to currency conversion in the store, and the thought of buying upgrades with real cash won't sit well with many. For the sake of curbing controversy, we hope that the developers will exclude power cores from the store.

So far, Turbo Golf Racing delivers the same wacky fun as Rocket League but with more of an emphasis on solo play instead of team play. The rounds are short enough that you can get through games quickly, and jumping into a match doesn't take very long, either. The constant flow of XP and cash keeps you coming back even if you're doing poorly, and it's encouraging that the single-player mode provides some nice cosmetic rewards. The PC version of the game promises cross-play with the Xbox One iteration right out of the gate, so we're excited to hear more about Turbo Golf Racing soon.

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