Cursed to Golf: Can a golf-based Roguelike work?

While combining roguelikes and sports games might seem like an odd idea, Cursed to Golf seems to mix those two genres together quite cleverly.

The indie roguelike genre has found a ton of success mixing with other types of games, mostly because of how their gaming conventions translate to other games. At its core, a good roguelike inspires players to keep starting new races despite the permadeath mechanic resetting progress. This core concept applies to a ton of different genres, with roguelikes being a common genre to mix with FPS games and RPGs.

During the recent [email protected] Showcase, roguelike fans were able to discover a new twist on the genre. Cursed at golf is a roguelike sports game that challenges players to escape golf purgatory by playing the sport on a series of courses. While it’s a pretty ironic concept who knows how silly it is, its gameplay highlights some unique similarities between the roguelike and sports game genres.


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Gameplay of the golf roguelike Cursed to Golf.

Many sports games already offer RPG-like management modes that share certain aspects with roguelikes. Many of these sports management modes, such as general manager modes in WWE games are played in seasons. Each season is a bit like a race in a roguelike. The various players that make up a team often have consistent stats that can be learned for repeated play. Some of these management modes even have failure conditions that act as a permanent death mechanism.

That being said, there are some pretty obvious reasons why sports management games aren’t labeled as roguelikes. Management games lack the random elements and dungeon-crawling style of gameplay that almost all roguelike features. The similarities that the two genres share are important because they underline how the two aren’t that different. With a little creativity, a sports roguelike could work just fine, that’s where Cursed at golf join the game.


On the gameplay side, Cursed at golf is quite similar to games like Golf with your friends, where players navigate a platform-like level by hitting a golf ball around the stage. In traditional roguelike fashion, players can collect power-ups called Ace Cards to help them get par on each course. The design of each level is a mix between a mini-golf course and a 2D RPG dungeon, with a random run order adding replayability.

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While Cursed at golf doesn’t have an official release date yet, gameplay footage so far seems to indicate that the genre mix is ​​working just fine. Sports games and roguelikes challenge players to learn and improve from their mistakes. As a sport, golf shares several similarities with roguelikes – both have levels players must complete and different tools (or clubs) to help them along the way.



Cursed to Golf golf roguelike gameplay

Cursed at golf isn’t meant to be an accurate sports simulation title, as it certainly falls more into the roguelike genre than the sports genre. However, what it borrows from sports games is what helps Cursed at golf stand out as a roguelike. With so many different roguelikes and roguelites on the market, having something as unique as navigating the level while playing golf ends up feeling like a new take.

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One could argue that Cursed at golf is more of a platformer roguelike than a sports roguelike, especially given the vertical nature of some of its courses. Some might say that Cursed at golf doesn’t borrow enough from the sports genre to be a part of it, especially since the focus seems more on its platforming and roguelike elements. Although the genre a game belongs to is quite subjective, Cursed at golf still seems to accomplish what a sports roguelike should accomplish.


In short, Cursed at golf takes the basic elements of a golf game and combines them with the basic elements of a roguelike. The gameplay is golf at its core, as players hit their ball from platform to platform, trying to hit a hole in dungeon-like courses with as few strokes as possible. However, there are roguelike elements to the permadeath, bonuses, and randomly generated nature of each playthrough.

Mixing genres requires a good understanding of how certain elements work together, which is something that Cursed at golf has clearly. While some don’t consider it a true mix of sports games and roguelikes, it works with the game systems of both in a way that doesn’t detract from the core experience. Sports roguelikes can absolutely work, as long as they can balance the core elements of both genres.


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