One of the titles that we saw for the first time at the Steam VR Developer Showcase was a virtual minigolf game featuring elaborate fantasy holes that you would never see in real life, but in VR, anything’s possible.
As the name suggests, Cloudlands: VR Minigolf is a minigolf (also known as putt-putt golf or peewee golf) game set in virtual reality. I honestly got excited when I read the title. What a great way to make use of room scale VR.
Futuretown, the developer behind the game, had me play four different holes out of the 18 that the game offers, each one with increasing levels of complexity and difficulty. The first hole was a basic starter that lets you get a feel for how to swing. It takes a bit of practice to get the weight of your swing correct, but once you have it, the mechanic works great. It feels very natural, even without the balance of a weighted club.
The fourth hole that Futuretown had me play, which was hole 15 or 16 in the actual game, was a ridiculous, elaborate setup with a par 12 rating. I found that the first three holes that I tried were easy, but this one foiled me. My score was a laughable 18 strokes when i finally sunk the ball.
To play Cloudlands: VR Minigolf, you need only one Vive controller, which you hold like a golf club and swing it as you would a real one. You can do this with one hand, but much like a real golf club, it works better if you hold it properly with both hands. There’s not much else to say about the control mechanic. If you’ve ever used a putter, picking up this game will be very simple. I can see this being a great entry point for people who have never played a video game, much like Wii Sports was when Nintendo first launched the original Wii console.
Futuretown came up with an easy solution to get past the long distance mobility issue. With the press of a button, you will be transported to wherever you are pointing. This allows you to reset your view after every shot, so if you end up to close to your room barriers, you can walk back to the center and reset your view at any time.
I asked about a multiplayer option, and I’m happy to say that Futuretown isn’t just contemplating the idea -- Cloudlands: VR Minigolf will feature two ways to play the game in multiplayer when it ships. There will be online multiplayer sessions where you join other players in VR for a minigolf game, or you can play a local match using only one Vive setup. You will simply pass off the headset between turns, making it more of a social experience.
Futuretown said the game will be released as a launch title. Cloudlands: VR Minigolf will include 18 holes when it ships, but the developer is considering adding a level editor so anyone can create their own ridiculous minigolf holes for the game, and add more replay-ability to Cloudlands: VR Minigolf.