Golf With Your Friends has been sitting in my inventory for ages and is a game I’ve sunk a few hours into – nearly 55 hours so far. Golf With Your Friends seems to be a staple of social gaming in certain circles.
Every now and again, it’s a good idea to check out the competition. Just because one game holds the crown position does not always mean that other games can’t be better. This is what has lead me to test Golfing in Aether, though I must say it has big shoes to fill given the popularity of Gold With Your Friends.
The concept behind Golfing in Aether is really quite simple. It is a variation on putt-putt golf. If you’ve ever played Golf With Your Friends, Golfing in Aether is essentially the same game. I suspect most people will be familiar with the concept.
Launching the game, and you have the option to either create a game or join an existing game, which is fairly straightforward. The social aspects of the game are extremely apparent, but then a game of this style is always better with friends.
Starting your own game, you do have a number of different game modes. You have the option of Casual, Competitive or Race. Casual and Competitive are essentially the same, the only change is the level of difficulty. Race changes the rules slightly where the goal is to be fast, rather than having the lowest number of strokes.
I do appreciate having a number of different game modes. If you’re just wanting a chill gaming session, this is something you can do, though you can also become far more competitive should you choose. You can adapt the game style somewhat to your mood.
The first hole or two was a little confusing. It wasn’t the course itself that was the issue, it was the controls. Golfing in Aether makes use of the scroll wheel on your mouse to change how hard you hit the ball. It’s not click and drag as it is in Golf With Your Friends. This took a lot of getting used to, and it isn’t readily apparent that this is how you play. This makes starting out just a little confusing as you get used to the controls.
Once you’re worked it out though, the game is actually a lot of fun. It is challenging, without being frustratingly so. Aside from the initial confusion over the controls, it’s actually very easy to get the hang of.
Golfing in Aether could easily become an alternative for Golf With Your Friends, but for one thing. Golf With Your Friends has built itself quite heavily around players being able to create their own maps. Indeed, there is quite a huge library of this user-generated content in Golf With Your Friends. Golfing in Aether seems to have gone down the path of official DLC, with some costing initial money.
I don’t necessarily object to official DLC, however this user-generated content is one of the things that made Golf With Your Friends so appealing. Once you’ve played the official maps, you can then have a look at what others have created. Of course, the quality is extremely variable, however there are some really decent maps created by users. This avoids boredom from playing the same courses over and over.
While the holes in Golfing in Aether are procedurally generated, meaning there will be some variation, I’m not sure this will retain interest as well as a strong library of user-generated content.
I really hope the developers behind Golfing in Aether consider adding this in. As I describe below, the graphics are considerably better in Golfing in Aether which makes it a far better game in that respect. Sticking to just DLC content is likely to affect replayability, as right now there are only a few official maps available so people are likely to get bored very quickly.
This is one area where Golfing in Aether has it in the bag. The graphics in Golfing in Aether are really quite impressive They’re simple, yet not overly simple. It strikes a very good balance between simplicity and detail. This is where a lot of games go wrong, by overdoing the simplification, and the results just look bad. This is not the case here.
The low system requirements make this even more impressive. Given the minimum requirements are a little elderly. While I hate to continue to compare it to Golf With Your Friends, I would say Golfing in Aether is better in this regard. This is not to say Golf With Your Friends is bad, Golfing in Aether just looks a lot better and doesn’t seem to suffer from the flickering that you get on some maps and overall just seems better.
The only thing that irritated me was one spelling error. When you get a triple Bogie, it’s spelt “Tripple Bogie”. Hopefully the developers spot this and correct it.
Golfing in Aether holds up quite well in some regards agianst Golf With Your Friends. Gameplay is about the same, and the graphics are quite a lot better in Golfing in Aether.
I would still recommend Golf With Your Friends right now, as it has better brand recognition and a far larger library of user generated content. Though if user-generated content were to come to Golfing in Aether, there would be some serious competition for Golf With Your Friends, as this seems to be the only area in which the game is lacking.
As a final note, it’s nice to see another game with official Linux support. While we’re probably a few years away from Linux gaming becoming mainstream, assuming it even does so, it’s nice to see at least a few more games officially supporting Linux for those who don’t use Windows as their primary operating system.