House of Golf 2

House of Golf 2 Preview: Perfect for the family

We've been hands-on with Starlight Games' upcoming minigolf title to see how it stacks up to the real thing.

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As a parent, I can be regularly be found on minigolf courses, including the even fancier glow in the dark versions called 'glow golf'. Whether you're with kids, friends or colleagues, minigolf usually means having a good time together. That's why my interest was immediately sparked by House of Golf 2, created British developer Starlight Games. There's not always time to head out to the actual minigolf course. So, wouldn't it be nice to be able to hit a few balls from the couch at home?

House of Golf 2House of Golf 2

I've been previewing the Steam version of House of Golf 2, but I felt like I shouldn't be playing this game solo at a desk behind a PC. That's why I decided to hook up my laptop to my TV and play House of Golf 2 with a PlayStation 5 controller. With native DualSense controller support in the game, getting this to work was no issue at all. This means I've been able to preview the game playing together in couch co-op mode, passing around the controller to take turns.

When booting up House of Golf 2 for the first time, my initial impressions were quite positive. You're greeted by a catchy tune, with a nice variety of similar tunes in each level, that make for a fun and relaxing atmosphere. And on the graphics side, this is a very colourful game with plenty of visual variety and detail. It's not pushing any boundaries, but Unreal Engine 5 delivers a very nice-looking variety of courses set in and around a typical home.

The gameplay itself is pretty straightforward. A successful shot depends on the optimal combination of aim and shooting power, which can be regulated easily using a bar on the right side of the screen. In the first eight or so courses that make up the beginner courses, I was initially let down a bit by their lack of complexity. Surely, a game about minigolf can do more than just asking you to shoot in straight lines at the next bend or hole? Thankfully, the courses I unlocked afterwards had a lot more gameplay variety.

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House of Golf 2House of Golf 2

As you progress through courses, planning ahead multiple steps becomes important, as does bouncing against objects to get around obstacles. So far, I've encountered toy cranes that pick up your ball, toy robots and tractors driving around as moving obstacles, toy snakes that either catapult your ball ahead or off course, besides the usual minigolf challenges like bumps and ramps. These puzzles require you to plan ahead, as do other challenges like a gap between two tables that requires the planning of at least two shots to overcome.

When waiting for your turn there are some well crafted environments to behold. They're set in places like a living room or garage where you play on floors, on furniture and around common household items such as cardboard packaging, paint cans, bananas, toy animals, and half-melted ice creams. Some of these also impact the way your golf ball moves, with sticky ice cream or paint slowing your ball down, for example.

It's fun to see your ball getting picked up, helped forward by a robot or shot into the hole with a toy cannon. These are indeed the things you'd like to see happening on a real minigolf course. Moreover, there are coins scattered throughout the courses that invite you to replay courses at least once. Also, playthroughs and coins allow you to unlock new golf balls in a variety of funny shapes, such as a panda, fluffy bee or disco ball, which offer another incentive to keep playing.

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What I've enjoyed most about playing House of Golf 2 so far, is that I've added a casual game to my library that can be easily played together. In my experience, it's looking most promising as a game to play with family or friends. Like playing minigolf in real life, you can commend each other on well-placed shots and simply enjoy the different challenges together. It's also why I don't see myself playing this as a solo player. And that probably isn't meant to be the case.

House of Golf 2House of Golf 2

I did notice stuttering whenever a cutscene starts to preview a new course. I'm not sure if this is due to bad optimisation or simply an issue with my laptop, but it's consistently there. Also, in order to offer enough replay value, I think House of Golf 2 will need a good number of different courses. I've been able to play around 25 in my preview build, and the full game will feature over 100 courses. I'm hoping the additional ones will add more puzzle variety and interactive elements to keep things fresh.

In all, my preview impressions of House of Golf 2 have been pretty good. It should probably be on your radar if you're looking for a fun game to play together with kids or friends at home. It actually reminds me a lot of Hot Wheels: Unleashed, another game with catchy music, colourful environments and a joyful vibe that's fun to play together. If the other courses in House of Golf 2 outside of my preview will offer enough variety in their puzzles and environments, this could very well become a hit among people enjoying party games. It's coming out on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox X/S on July 25th.

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