Turbo Golf Racing – PS5 Review

Turbo Golf Racing is a sports/driving game from Manchester-based devs Hugecalf Studios.  Initially released in 2022 on PC, the game has found its way over to consoles but benefits from already having a large player base thanks to it all being cross-platform.

But what is it?  Well, the lazy explanation (but the one we’re going to use) is that it’s essentially Rocket League but with golf instead of football.  Yeah, that’s pretty simplistic in terms of an explanation but it certainly fits.

Aesthetically, the game takes a lot of nods from Rocket League with its shiny, high-ish resolution visuals, sleek menus and myriad customisations and, once you get into the game, the basic controls and ball physics are definitely reminiscent of Psyonix’s famous game.

But, this isn’t Rocket League.  So let’s shut up about that and talk about what Turbo Golf Racing brings to the party.  It pretty much does what it says on the tin in so far as it has two main modes to think about – racing and golf.

The main draw here is the golf.  The rules are pretty simple.  You’ll join a lobby of eight players and then are tasked with sinking your ball into a hole using as few shots as possible.  To do that you’ll just drive into the ball and direct it to, and into, the hole.  It’s quite straightforward in theory but the game does throw in a few complications.

Rings and boost pads will assist you, pushing your ball forward beneficially, but sand traps and other obstacles will slow you down.  Much like any actual golf game.  But you’ve also got some techniques and boosts that you can use too although the main thing is clipping your ball just right so that it goes where you want.

It’s fun.  It’s not the game-changer that Rocket League was.  Indeed, that game almost feels like an actual sport to play, but also Turbo Golf Racing isn’t as fussy and aggressive either.  The skill ceiling doesn’t seem as high here (given that we were able to win matches against PC players who’ve had this game for two years despite us not being all that) and there’s maybe more of an emphasis on fun.

That said, you will run into players who know the exact shots to play that you’d maybe never have thought of.  It can be quite hard to read the course too, but you’ll eventually learn that simply wanging the ball as hard as possible from the tee area isn’t always the best thing to do.  But it does always feel as though this game can be learned where as Rocket League now feels like a bit of an e-sports nightmare at times.

If you want an even easier time of it, the game’s racing mode offers up an even better chance of success.  In this mode, you’ve just got to get your ball to the hole first.  That means getting both the ball and your car to the green as quick as possible without worrying about the number of shots.

It’s a lot of fun but is let down by the fact that everyone can pick up weapons.  So it’s quite annoying when you’re about to tap in for first place and some prick blows you up with rockets.  There are mitigations against such attacks but they involve a degree of faff that we weren’t ready to master.  There are shields and flip moves that can defend against them but invariably we didn’t know what was happening until we’d be blown up into sixth place or whatever.

The gameplay though is fundamentally sound and it works.  We didn’t love it as such, maybe because unlike Rocket League this hasn’t launched as a PS+ freebie and therefore none of our friend list has it.  But it’s a fun little mix of driving and sports.

In terms of long-term appeal, the game offers up challenges – score a number of goals from distance, do a certain amount of flips, boost for however many seconds and so on – and these translate into new cars and customisations.  We never actually notice anybody else’s customisations so that’s all a bit lost on us but it’s nice to have something to aim for, especially as the trophies are quite slow to unlock.

And so, yeah, this is pretty good.  The concept works well enough, the gameplay is solid (although we’ve had a couple of hard crashes and the golf mode can get a bit confused about where to place your car for new shots) and the online action seems competitive without being insurmountable for console players joining the party late.

Does it have the magic?  We’re not so sure.  This feels more like a fun party game than a serious sports title and as such is a bit more frantic, the victories a little less meaningful.  But it’s good.  We’re not sure it’ll be anyone’s new obsession but if it ever hits PS+, it could end up being fairly popular.

Turbo Golf Racing
7 Overall
+ Slick action
+ The choice between racing and golf is welcome
+ Lots of customisation opportunities
+ Benefits from cross-platform play
- A couple of rough edges technically
- Visuals can be a bit cluttered and courses can be hard to read
It's Rocket League but with golf instead of football and that works just fine as a concept and in practice.

About Richie

Rich is the editor of PlayStation Country. He likes his games lemony and low-budget with a lot of charm. This isn't his photo. That'll be Rik Mayall.

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