Clap Hanz is a studio closely linked with PlayStation, producing hugely popular titles Everybody’s Golf / Hot Shots Golf across multiple generations (over the course of 20 years+). Recently it loosened up its swing and went another way, however, releasing Clap Hanz Golf on Apple Arcade. It’s that title which is now on Switch as Easy Come Easy Golf; yep, brand identity with this developer can get a bit muddled.
For those that never jumped into the PlayStation games, this is a welcome chance to experience the studio’s blend of easygoing visuals, cartoonish caricatures and decidedly addictive golf. It’s a refined round for sure, and thanks to those smart device origins it supports multiple ways to play — you can opt for touchscreen swipe controls in portable mode, while on a controller you can utilise stick swings or the more classic three-button press. All are certainly functional, but this reviewer is a boomer that insists golf games be played with the three-tap meter, and it works nicely here.
The twist in this game is that you’re building a team of golfers, comprised of some particularly quirky characters, and they take on one hole each in a 9-hole round. You start off with a small group and temporary ‘mini’ players, so the main objective is to jump into ‘Tour’ mode to upgrade your rank, unlock more characters and level up your team. It’s a hefty campaign (of sorts), with the progression to unlock more courses and characters — while levelling up those you have — being very gradual; you’ll need to settle in for a long haul. It has a bit of a mobile feel (like challenges that cycle each day) but isn’t compromised by microtransaction design, thankfully, and the difficulty is gentle early on as you learn the game.
The team you unlock and level up can be taken into some other areas, too, such as ‘World Tournament’ and ‘Online Matches’. World Tournament offers time-limited challenges to take on as you try to get to the top of the online leaderboard. Online Matches can either be played against randoms, or you can set up / join password-protected rooms, which is great for taking on friends.
We were able to jump into a random match nice and quickly, where one player was a veteran with a high-ranked golfer but another was only just starting out. The character levels make a big difference in performance, so there can be mismatches but it’s very casual and relaxed across a few holes. You can share supportive emotes which helped make it a charming experience; if you want to take the game seriously online, you need to tackle the Tournament instead.
Pleasingly, the game is loaded with other modes too. ‘Bring a Club’ / ‘Pass a Club’ are two local multiplayer offerings that allow you to share a system and controller or to play against someone else in the room with their own copy. You can choose from all characters and courses in these modes, too, which is a nice touch considering how long it takes to unlock everything naturally through the Tour. Beyond that, there are challenge modes called ‘Survival’ and ‘Score Attack’; these are nice wrinkles and are perfect for some pick-up-and-play. Add to that unlockables, fun variations in course conditions, along with customisation options for the many characters, and there’s a lot of good content.
The gameplay is also rather good, most importantly. Courses are quite realistic in approach, so don’t expect the sort of quirks you get in Mario Golf: Super Rush, but they’re interesting and increasingly challenging. There are a lot of them and as you learn the mechanics and master new techniques, you’ll find courses to truly put you to the test. At times some of the ball physics can be slightly quirky, but once you dial into the game it feels like a great little round of golf. There’s a nice balance at play too — it can be a casual game for short and occasional bursts, or you can get stuck in and explore different techniques across the hefty Tour mode.
Performance is perhaps the only area with some negatives. It’s competent, but the game’s engine is clearly suited to capable Apple devices., as it struggles a little on Switch — even making the timings on swings a tiny bit laggy. We eventually adjusted to it, but you’re looking at a 30fps experience with occasional dips. If you try to skip too many animations or rush through the game it can chug, too, and the game did crash on one occasion. To be clear, Easy Come Easy Golf plays just fine overall, and visually it’s very decent, but it’s just a smidge below the ideal level of optimisation. The sound eventually grates a little too, in truth, with the unimaginative, cheery music getting old rather fast. That said, this game is perfect for relaxed portable play with the TV or music on in the background.
Easy Come Easy Golf is, all taken into account, very easy to recommend for fans of golf games, and a great Nintendo debut for the Everybody’s Golf series. It’s enjoyable and polished golf with some fun twists while offering a huge amount of content to unlock and solid multiplayer options. Even with minor performance hitches and some iffy audio, we found ourselves having plenty of fun and kept coming back for a few extra holes. It’s certainly under par, in a good way.