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Turbo Golf Racing Early Access Impressions – Rocket-Powered Putting

Turbo tee off

No prizes for those who guess why I’ve been keen on a game that has you racing comically agile cars while bonking a huge golf ball into a distant hole. I’ve spoken at length about my love for Rocket League and Golf with Your Friends, so the idea of a hybrid of the two definitely got my attention. Immediately similar in appearance to the aforementioned Rocket League, Turbo Golf Racing trades the soccer pitch for a fairway, while also injecting some new ideas and mechanics to allow it to stand on its own. Currently in early access, I’ve been spending some time teeing off and burning rubber, and while there’s some way to go before it unseats its inspiration, Turbo Golf Racing is shaping up to be an entertaining party experience.

In a case of doing exactly what it says on the tin, the premise of Turbo Golf Racing speaks for itself. Up to eight players attempt to be the first to sink their oversized ball into the course’s hole, using the stocky car they’re driving to propel it down the fairway. Much like Rocket League, the cars have an incredibly arcadey feel to them, capable of flipping, gliding and using a limited boost to give the hits a bit of added mustard. While it’s immediately easy to get to grips with driving your car into the ball to hit it, you soon discover tricks like drifting into the ball to add curve or flipping just before contact for added power. The brief tutorial only teaches you the bare basics though, so you’ll need to piece a strategy together by yourself.

The courses you’re screaming around on aren’t like the ones you’ll find at your local country club. There are 30 available courses split between three, very similar areas. Each colourful course is filled with sweeping bends that guide you to the hole, rough areas filled with trees that block your path and sand traps that stop your ball dead in its tracks. Most courses feature multiple paths that lead to the hole and aerial hoops that will launch your ball forward, giving you an advantage over the other players. These little variations keep each match feeling different and ensure that all of the golf goers aren’t following the exact same line.

Just admiring this excellent shot from the right angle

All 30 courses are bright and exciting to look at, but they all feel very much the same. The three biomes are only really separated visually by little tweaks to the surrounding set dressing, such as tori gates or rockfaces, so it was hard to tell the difference most of the time. Similarly, the layout of the courses felt a little safe, with only a handful of them standing out thanks to a distinguishable feature or two. It’s early doors, so I’m hoping that the devs shake things up and introduce some whacky spins on the environments in updates down the road.

Eight people bombing through one course might sound chaotic, but there’s actually very little room for griefing. Players can only interact with their own ball and, save for pic-ups like a rocket and a shield, you can’t interact with other cars either. Even the power-ups are fairly tame, causing a slight inconvenience more than a devastating blow, so your run is unlikely to be ruined by someone else’s interference.

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Where things might get a little dicey is with the Cores. One power and one passive, Cores act as permanent power-ups that can be unlocked and added to your car. The passive abilities can change the properties of your ball, or how your car reacts to certain terrain, whereas the power abilities can cause shockwaves that propel the ball or magnetise the ball to temporarily follow your car. They’re a blast to use and can lead to some really cool trick shots, but I can see a nasty meta forming in no time in the online community, so hopefully it’s monitored and altered when need be.

A little more chaotic than your typical fairway

It’s simple as anything to hit the ball, but controlling where it goes takes a bit more practice. Luckily, Turbo Golf Racing has your back, as a small line coming from the ball gives you a projected arch of where the ball will be sent if you’re to hit it from that angle. It can be toggled off, but beginners will love this feature as it takes the randomness away almost entirely. The design of the courses guides you nicely to the hole as well, with a huge beacon of light signalling the finish line.

If you’re not keen on being shown up by other players, you do have the option to play alone, but it’s a very lonely option in its current state. Lacking any form of AI opposition, the current solo offering is simply a timed solo run of the 30 courses. While there are incentives to be unlocked by getting certain times, it does feel a little underdone. The most fun with these kinds of games undoubtedly comes with playing with others, but I’m hoping a little more attention will be paid to the single-player portion as well.

FORE!

You can customise the appearance of both your car and your ball, with a free season pass handing out new spoilers, bumpers, body kits and more. You can also purchase cosmetic items in the in-game store using currency that’s rewarded either through the battle pass or by completing daily challenges. Progression feels fair and none of the challenges that I encountered ask too much of the player, so hopefully that’s the way it stays.

I’m not willing to sub out any of my comfort games just yet, but with time Turbo Golf Racing could be something special. It could easily be brushed off as Rocket League but for golf, but how it stands apart are pronounced enough that it has an identity of its own, even if it’s not fully realised just yet. Even if you’re not willing to go along for the early access ride, this is one you should keep your eye on.

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Turbo Golf Racing is currently in early access on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC

Previewed on PC // Preview code supplied by publisher

Written By Adam Ryan

Adam's undying love for all things PlayStation can only be rivalled by his obsession with vacuuming. Whether it's a Dyson or a DualShock in hand you can guarantee he has a passion for it. PSN: TheVacuumVandal XBL: VacuumVandal Steam: TheVacuumVandal

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