OK Golf by OKIDOKICO doesn’t have a lot of charm, but then again, charm isn’t something it needs to have. It accomplishes everything it promises in the name – it’s an ok, but not particularly amazing, golf experience that can be enjoyed by golfers and non-golfers alike. What sets it apart from other mobile golfing experiences is its diorama-style holes. You never have to wonder what’s around the corner because you’re always working with a full 3D topographic view from tee to flag. Although the graphics aren’t exceptionally detailed, it’s very much beautiful in a minimalist sense.
The controls are theoretically simple enough – you adjust your view by swiping the screen, aim by dragging your finger, and shoot by releasing. However, the best way to describe the controls as they operate is sticky. It isn’t quite a lag – the screen and the projection lines do move – but they don’t always move in the way or at the speed you’d expect them to. Over time this can get more than a little frustrating, slowing down play and with this, enjoyment of the game. Hopefully, a future update will see the addition of an autorotate feature (it’s something the developers seem to already be working on) and a little more precision to the touch controls. At this stage, it isn’t an absolute deal breaker, but it would be nice to see a few adjustments to improve the game in this area soon.
Something those approaching the game for the first time will also want to consider, especially if they are golfers or huge fans of golf games, is that OK Golf plays more like a cross between traditional golf and mini-golf than traditional golf alone. Designed as a simple and quick-to-play golfing experience, the choice not to allow players to select their own clubs was deliberate. While common to many of the less realism-focused golf games, it does mean that sometimes you’re stuck dealing with something that feels more like a chipper than a putter. Alright in theory, more troublesome in practice as there’s sometimes a very fine line between getting out of the sand pit and sending your ball flying off the hole’s surface completely.
For those looking for an experience that leans towards golf rather than mini-golf, the par ratings are likely to feel unrealistic. For par 3 holes, a golfer should always be able to hit the green in one shot, and for par 4 it should be two. However, as beautiful as some of the landscape designs are, this often isn’t possible given the limited range of the shots on offer — especially as the ‘power’ shot doesn’t exactly have you swinging like a pro. Navigating islands, forests and/or actual mountains on the course is something that takes time, and rather than changing the intricacies of the game, tweaking the par might be the way to go. The goal shouldn’t be making the game easier per se, but having it better reflect the rules of the game.
Still, even with its flaws, OK Golf isn’t a bad mobile golf game. As long as you recognise it for what it is, and keep in mind what it seems the developers were keen to accomplish (a fast-play 3D golf sim), it’s an enjoyable experience. It can be picked up and put down easily. The option to either play any single hole on a course or the course as a whole means that there’s something to work with whether you need to kill half an hour or five minutes.
As a premium game, there’s also hope that with player feedback some of the kinks of the launch edition can be worked out. Because OK Golf is working with a strong concept (really the usefulness of the diorama approach shouldn’t be underestimated), some small tweaks to smooth out the controls could make this a great playing experience.