Climb the highest mountain peak by, uh, playing a puzzle game with a golf ball.
Level-based puzzle games can be a tricky beast to get right, especially as you try to present new concepts and increase complexity in a way that isn’t baffling or confusing. To that end, Golf Peaks is mostly successful. A quick-moving introductory world lays out the primary concepts of this golf-inspired, tile-based puzzler effortlessly and smartly. Aside from a few metaphorical water hazards and sand traps, Golf Peaks is a great Switch game that manages to mostly shoot under par for the round.
While golf is the theme, this is not a golf game. The hook is that you control a golf ball by using different deliberately picked movement cards in single-screen puzzles. At first, it’s simple, with one or two cards used in conjunction to hit your ball into the hole. Soon things get more complicated with more cards at your disposal, brand new card types, wacky twists, and challenging hazards. For example, sand traps stop progress and water hazards place your ball back on the last bit of land it touched. New twists like these are introduced seamlessly through each of the 9 worlds in a clever fashion.
In total, more than 100 levels make up the content and after completion, there isn’t much reason to return to anything. However, the levels get very challenging in the late stages. I romped through the early areas but soon met tough, mind-bending challenges. My primary complaint is if you’re stuck, you’re just stuck. While you can very easily rewind or restart, there’s no way to skip a tough stage or get any kind of hint. Thankfully, this has been out on mobile for a while so you can find solutions online if you are truly stumped. The lack of any hint system in game is a reminder of why I love the idea of hints being hardwired into a game. It makes it more welcoming to players, especially when there is usually only a single solitary way to solve a stage.
Even with that in mind, Golf Peaks is an excellent bite-sized puzzle game for the Switch. It was a nice, serene, and challenging way to wind down and after playing through it, I’ll be keeping eye for new stylish puzzle games from this developer as they clearly understand how to make these things fun.