A Little Golf Journey strips back all the stress of the sport

Fore play. 

You'll know the dusty quote, I'm sure, about golf being a good walk ruined. For all that old adage's creakiness, though, there's a kernel of truth to it - which makes A Little Golf Journey's hyper-relaxed approach all the more tantalising. Here's a game born not so much from replicating the hard details of golf as it is replicating the fuzzy nostalgia of past takes on the sport, and that's all about serving up the most relaxing time possible.

It's born from a fascinating place, too. You might have played Little Golf Journey's predecessor Okay Golf when it came out on mobile back in 2017 - a stylish, smart and breezy thing, its direct and no frills take on golf provides the firm foundations for developer okidokico's follow-up. But now that they're heading from mobile to console - A Little Golf Journey being slated for Switch and PC later this year - they've done something surprising. They've gone more casual yet, and I for one am here for it.

"I think there was a desire, given the circumstances outside of these windows, to lean into the relaxing aspect even more," says okidokico's Moussa Khan. "I've played a total of one round of golf. It was not relaxing. It was a company tournament at CCP and there was a lot of booze. There were a lot of 'fores'...

"When you're stuck inside working on something, though, I think you do put quite a bit of yourself in - it's kind of your window on the world. So I think it really aligned in terms of both how we were approaching the work and what the work was about. It's very much about escapism and about having a little moment with no complications. It's just about putting that ball in the hole and enjoying the scenery.

"We're definitely stripped down as far as we possibly could, in terms of what you have to do," adds Khan's collaborator Charles Goatley - and that simplicity also comes from a surprising place, with both Khan and Goatley having cut their teeth on big budget blockbusters. Indeed, it was while working at Ubisoft that the two met, getting together on the weekends for impromptu game jams and experiments that eventually led to Okay Golf. The two's careers took them to Square Enix and CCP too, before they wound up doing their own thing.

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There's a Mario-esque overworld that looks simply delightful.

"We really wanted to capture the sensibilities that you have when you're playing a triple-A game," says Goatley of A Little Golf Journey. "If you play Assassin's Creed and you're climbing a wall or whatever, you're not having to exactly map out where the hands and your feet are - you just point in the direction and you move, and you feel like you're climbing that wall, you feel like you're an expert at it, even though you're just you're just walking upwards, essentially. And we kind of wanted to do something similar with golf, where we really just take out a lot of the stress."

Which is sort of all I've ever wanted from a golf game. There are challenges to be found within A Little Golf Journey - little secret holes here and there, or mini-games you can be ushered too if chasing a high score is your idea of unwinding - but what I'm really looking forward to is the purposefully sedate, stripped back and stylish take on golf it'll offer.

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"There's a million ways it could play out when you take a shot," explains Khan. "We want you to know the path that the ball will take, all you have to really think about is planning where your shot should go in the first place. On top of that, we've really taken extra steps to provide lots of assist mode options, so that if you really like having a difficult time, you can make your aiming a lot easier. You can even increase the size of the golf hole if you want. It's really just about you playing for your relaxation."

If A Little Golf Journey can make good on that, it might be one of the best golf games in an age - as soothing a balm as an afternoon's stroll in the country, with none of the stress of sport to get in the way.

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Martin Robinson

Martin Robinson

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Martin is Eurogamer's editor-in-chief. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.

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