As more and more people worldwide pick up and enjoy Nintendo’s latest machine, the number of indie games appearing on the eShop increases by the day. As a result, it can be difficult to weed out the gems among the mess. In this new series, I’m hoping to shine a light on the best games from independent studios on the Nintendo Switch. This is Nintendo Switch Indiessentials.

It’s been a long, long while since Camelot Software’s Mario Tennis and Golf’s Game Boy Color games graced our screens. One wondered whether we might ever see a return to the RPG-lite form, given Camelot’s recent output in the Mario sports series. Fortunate, then, that I wasn’t the only person on the planet wondering this. Sidebar Games, an indie developer from Australia, has blessed us with Golf Story; a love letter to those handheld classics.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Golf Story tells the tale of an upstart Golfer, desperate to earn his shot on the pro tour, and to make his father proud. Hardly Shakespeare, but more than enough to keep you engaged from start to finish. From the first to the last, you’ll meet a genuinely charming cast of characters, across a myriad of courses. Variety is the spice of life, and you’ll travel from a standard course, to one on the beach front, to the snow covered mountains and beyond.

Naturally, given it’s “RPG-lite” status, there is an element of progression involved. XP can be spent on building your characters swing power, accuracy, et al. Furthermore, new (and very old) clubs and equipment can be unlocked as you get further into the story.

golf story
Golf Story’s use of pixel art is nice. In Television mode, the colours really pop, and you’re rewarded with an incredibly vibrant world.

Camelot’s influence in Golf Story extends beyond just the concept, however. The game is absolutely eye-catching. Every environment is so vibrant and colourful; a wonderful throwback to the 16-bit era. Sidebar even took the opportunity to borrow the classic “three click swing” that has followed the Mario Golf series right up to its most recent 3DS iteration.

New Tricks

While the Golf Story wears its love of Camelot’s classics on its sleeve, it does have a few of its own tricks. Off the golf course, rounds of mini golf, disc golf, drone golf (yeah me neither), and lawn bowls are available to break up the play. While these additions are certainly welcome, it’s a shame these concepts aren’t built upon more. Given mini golf is merely an extension of putting, it’s a shame there’s only a single mini golf course in the game.
In fact, while it’s nice these distractions are available, it feels like a missed opportunity that they are just that; distractions.

In Summary

At £13.49, it’s an easy recommendation. The story will take you 15ish hours, with plenty more to take on outside of the story. For a first time effort, Sidebar Games should be absolutely delighted with the results. Now then…anyone for Tennis Story?