King of Clubs

A few months ago Oxygen were being hush-hush over what King of Clubs entails, claiming it to be “this summer’s most unusual game”. Going by name alone, The Official PlayStation 2 Magazine assumed it was a nightclub management sim and even wrote a news story reflecting that. That couldn’t be further from the truth: it’s actually a crazy golf sim with “puzzle” elements.

King of ClubsLike Empire’s Big Mutha Truckers, King of Clubs features satire inspired by American’s ‘trailer park trash’ and ‘hick’ society, with the game’s front man Big Bubba King – an overweight Elvis impersonator. Oxygen released a spoof interview with Bubba in a vain attempt to create a bit of mystery around it prior to being fully unveiled.

Make your own mind up on this one: “It’s a real darn’ tootin’ thang I tell ya – them there players kin git ‘emselves all kinda groovy stuff by playin’ alla mah games. There’s a shedload ta choose from an’ a ton o’ ways ta complete ‘em too. But ah should warn ya – that King Putt over near them big tranglier things…he kin be a real Bastet, so ya may wanna watch out fer him!”

Quite. Shall we move on? Going by the demo it’s hard to tell where the actual puzzle elements are, hence the quotes in the first paragraph. From what we’ve played it just appears to be that some of the holes are maze-like in design, which is a pretty stupid premise for a sport where every swing is crucial to winning. Over 95 holes feature, which is a fairly impressive number, and each is themed – space, pirate, tribal, medieval, etc – and full of intentionally tacky objects like UFOs hanging on string and cardboard cut-out backdrops. The fact that there are dozens of moving platforms and blocks popping up out of the ground makes it hard to get a hole in one, although we’re sure that if lady luck is on your side then it’s not impossible.

The power bar for your swing is located at the bottom of the screen and works in the usual manner – press the button once to choose the power, then again to swing. The character models look pretty good but the presentation is currently really bland, something that the lack of speech samples doesn’t help. You can buy new clubs and other equipment though, and on the menu there appears to be an unlockable mini-game called Gopher Hunt, which probably involves hunting gophers. But don’t quote us on that.

It’ll be swinging its way to PC, PlayStation 2 and Wii in late August, with DS and PSP versions due later in the year.

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