It’s hard to ignore the similarities between Turbo Golf Racing from Hugecalf Studios and Rocket League from Psyonix Entertainment. Both PC games feature cartoony karts that push balls into a goal, and the vehicles are aided by boosts, missiles, and other power-ups. But where Rocket League aims to emulate soccer with motor vehicles, the $17.99 Turbo Golf Racing aims to do the same with golf. Hugecalf Studios does a good job of implementing the “golf with cars” gimmick, but it falls short of its full potential in a few areas.
Golf With Battle Karts
Turbo Golf Racing takes a fair amount of liberties with the sport of golf. For starters, the game is broken into three round matches. You complete a round by knocking your ball (each kart has one) into the goal as fast as possible, with the fastest player netting the most points. As is popular in multiplayer games such as Destiny 2 and MultiVersus, Turbo Golf Racing offers daily challenges that grant in-game currency for purchasing cosmetics (more on that in a bit).
In multiplayer matches, you race against seven other players. You can’t interfere with other players’ balls as they roll down the track, but you can interfere with their karts by nabbing missiles and other power-ups scattered throughout. Conversely, a shield protects you from opponents’ attacks. These power-ups include boost pickups that let you chase your ball in faster fashion. In one sense, Turbo Golf Racing reminds me of Mario Kart’s Battle Mode, because you can cause other players a ridiculous amount of car-based grief. That said, the game can use a wider power-up variety.
Boosting isn’t your only way of catching up to your ball. You can also deploy a set of wings at any time while in the air to glide to it. These wings automatically deploy when you catch an air current, but retract the second you exit one (causing you to drop to the ground). It’s a minor annoyance that can be avoided if you know how to control your car on (or off) the track.
Slamming your kart into the ball sends it flying across the track, with your speed and angle of approach determining its path. In addition, you can use the boost meter to slam the ball at high speeds to make it go even farther. Boosting right before you hit a ball gives you some of it back, which makes the act of following your hit much easier and quicker. Boost pads are scattered across the tracks that help you gain speed without expending your boost meter. Knocking your ball into the track’s floating rings and air currents gives it a little more distance and time in the air.
It’s All in the Name
You find joy in a traditional golf game by lining up the perfect shot, learning every course curve, and leveraging wind speed and direction to decrease your strokes. Like Mario Golf: Super Rush, Turbo Golf Racing aims to speed up the game of golf. For example, you only have a fraction of a second to line up your shot before your kart launches at the ball. In addition, a regular golf game calculates your score based on the number of strokes you take. Not here. Turbo Golf Racing assigns points based on how fast you get the ball in the goal.
It doesn’t matter how many times you hit the ball; you just have to take it to the hole. This approach leads to a faster game, with a typical match lasting about five minutes. That’s fine for a mini-game within the scope of a large sports title, but not so much for a standalone game. The short time limits the amount of joyous chaos, but randomly selected tracks keep things interesting. Unfortunately, there’s no penalty for people who disconnect from the game before they officially lose a match.
Turbo Golf Racing has a single-player mode where you compete in timed trial runs for experience points (EXP). This acts as more of a practice mode, as the game’s main focus is online multiplayer action. The lack of local, split-screen multiplayer is a shame, as this would make a great party game with friends huddled together in the same room.
Turbo Golf Racing’s Customization Options
The game has a season pass that contains rewards distributed at different milestones. Most of those rewards are cosmetic items, such as new kart models, spoilers, and bumpers. A few reward items, called Power Cores, impact gameplay. They include passive abilities (your ball suffers no ill fate in sand traps) and extra powers (creating a shockwave that pushes your ball forward). Still, I would’ve preferred abilities that affect others in Mario Kart-like fashion, such as using the shockwave to push away other players.
Turbo Golf Racing includes a shop to buy profile avatars, EXP boosts, and additional cosmetic items. It’s unclear just how many purchasable items the developers at Hugecalf Studios have planned for the game’s future, but if other titles are anything to go by, you can expect this shop to expand its offerings. Cosmetic items cost between 1,000 to 40,000 “Gears.” In my first hour or two of playing the game, I casually racked up close to 8,000 gears, so you don’t have to grind too much to unlock cool additions.
The game is in early access, but the developers are committed to adding more content. The latest update adds a new, purchasable kart model, six new tracks, more cosmetic options, and two Power Core abilities. Global leaderboards, private lobbies, and additional power-ups are slated to arrive in the future.
Can Your PC Run Turbo Golf Racing?
Considering the game’s fast-paced nature, you’ll want to play on a PC that can handle the action while maintaining a stable frame rate. According to the system requirements listed on Turbo Golf Racing’s Steam page, you need a PC that houses at least an Intel i3-2100 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 GPU.
These aren’t outrageous requirements by any means. On a gaming PC with an i7-9700f CPU, 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super GPU, Turbo Golf Racing averaged 60 frames per second with no perceptible issues. The game features controller support and is listed as “Playable” on Steam Deck.
On the Green
Turbo Golf Racing is a fun arcade-style sports game, but it’s hard to see its competitive esports edge this early in its life span. There’s engaging, second-by-second play that involves maneuvering your ball and blocking attacks, but it goes by so quickly that it’s hard to build momentum. The promise of new features and items over time brings us hope that these issues will be addressed by Hugecalf Studios as it continues to listen to player feedback.
For more PC game recommendations, take a look at our selection of The Best PC Games. If you want more reflex-based competitive gaming, check out The Best Esports Games. And for rich video game talk, swing by PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube Channel.