King of Clubs
- Publisher: Oxygen Games
- Developer: Oxygen Games
Arriving as it did in a nondescript package with no box art, our first expectation was that King of Clubs would be a card game of some sort. We hadn't even considered the possibility that it could be a golf game - crazy golf, at that. In fact, we didn't twig that until we arrived at the main menu, because the intro cinematic, rather ominously, ignores golf entirely in favour of putting all the emphasis on the crazy.
Yes, this is crazy golf. Keraaaaaazy golf, said in the same tone of voice you might use to describe attention starved idiots who drink a couple of pints of beer, put their trousers on their heads and breathlessly describe themselves to the faintly disapproving audience as being "SO CRAZY!" It's full of crazy American stereotypes, like a crazy redneck and a crazy Elvis bloke and a crazy busty blonde, and a variety of even crazier unlockable "pro" players. We won't spoil the crazy fun.
In fact, our first concern was simply that the game seemed to have spent so long focusing on the utterly mundane Crazyness that it had forgotten to do anything with, you know, the golf bit. Graphically it's dull as dishwater, with a colour palette borrowed from the brain of a manic depressive with a large collection of Radiohead music, and the early mini-golf levels are incredibly simple - essentially just brown blocks of play area in the middle of cardboard cut-out artwork of crazy locations.
Not terribly promising, then - but King of Clubs actually pulls its socks up as it goes along. What initially seems an almost offensively simple stroke mechanism (you simply pick a club, the direction and the power) comes into its own as the courses get more complex and obstacle-packed, and power-ups like rubber balls are introduced through the shop system.
It's still a shockingly easy game right up until the last holes, but it's got just enough depth to keep it entertaining. If you can ignore the keraaazy attempted humour and give it a little while to find its stride after the dull opening rounds, there's a fun little game in here - and it does support game sharing for multiplayer rounds, which is a plus. On the other hand, though, it's hard to see why you'd play this in preference to the vastly superior Everybody's Golf; unless you've already played that to death, King of Clubs probably shouldn't be at the top of your to-buy list.