Elevator Pitch: Golf….. But with giant robots. Add in a cheesy 80’s anime inspired story and you have 100ft Robot Golf. While this may have been the ultimate high concept idea, it unfortunately does not hold up a game on it’s own.
100ft Robot Golf is framed as a bad fandub of a fictitious anime, taking most of it’s inspiration from 70’s Gundam with some Evangelion references peppered in. The story follows a group of former 100ft Robot Golf’s star players working to get their group back together, or something, the story is rather incoherent. Aside from a few brilliant anime references, there’s not much to it. And while the voice acting is clearly meant to be intentionally bad, the joke gets old quick. The major exception is the game’s commentators, provided by professional podcasters Travis, Justin, and Griffin McElroy of MBMBaM fame. And while their tone and humor are a natural fit for this game, their lines wind up repeating a bit too often, eventually becoming fully redundant.
As for gameplay, it’s at its base, an arcade golf game: Aim, swing, and hope for the best. And hope as you might, It never really seemed like I had a whole lot of control over anything. The ball seems to go wherever it wants, not really reacting to wind or gravity as I would expect. None of the giant robot related gimmicks really help the situation. The game starts you off with a robot that has the most basic of swing controls: a power bar to control the strength of the swing, followed by a meter used to keep your shot straight. However, when you get other types of robots, the controls change to various different configurations with no rhyme, reason, or explanation. The most annoying of these has you hold down the analog triggers with exactly the right amount of pressure while pressing X. It’s extremely awkward.
Further gimmicks include the fact that you have to walk or fly yourself across the course to your ball after each shot, which might be fine, if these robots didn’t move extremely slow. Furthermore, the golf played here, for the most part, isn’t based on how few shots it takes to get to the hole, but rather puts all golfers on the course simultaneously and has them race to the hole, regardless of how many shots it takes. I think the idea between these two gimmicks is that you can swing your club or use the robot’s weapons to try to stop the other player’s balls, but it never really worked out. All it’s good for is destroying buildings in your path.
As one of PlayStation VR’s launch titles, 100ft Robot Golf has burden of being both the showcase for a new piece of hardware as well as a sort of training ground for developers to get their feet wet with VR. Therefore I can understand if an early game doesn’t work perfectly. However, the VR mode in this game is nearly unplayable. The camera never seemed to know where to position itself, and I never knew where I should be looking. It also often jumped around, sometimes just clipping through the robot. It’s rather jarring, and makes this one of the few PSVR games that made me feel sick while playing. Thankfully, it’s optional.
While a lot of cool, creative ideas went into 100ft Robot Golf, it just doesn’t pan out into a fun game. Its good sense of humor and tributes to classic anime tropes are marred by the lack of a solid game.