Rare is the game that leaves us truly speechless, but the Game Boy version of Golf is certainly one of them. Of course that's just because there's not really much to talk about.
Golf, as you might expect, is a golf game. Whatever comes to mind when you hear that, that's what you get. No less, and no more. It consists of two courses (USA and Japan), and you have three slots to save your game. This is where your options end.
In its original incarnation, Golf offered a two player mode. This mode was what gave the game all of its replayability, as the courses don't change and any strategy that worked for you the first time through will work for you again the second. Having another player to compete against meant that you had something to achieve other than coming in under par. But, alas, the option has been disabled on the 3DS Virtual Console, meaning this game (like Baseball before it) is stripped of its most valuable feature.
On the bright side, the game controls very well. You change your angle by pressing left or right on the D-Pad, and you cycle through your clubs by pressing up and down. Strength and pitch are determined by sliders that you stop, and everything is quite responsive. The visuals are clean and crisp, and the sound is minimal and unobtrusive.
Beyond that, though, there's not much we can really say. The courses are uneventful and, to put it flatly, pretty basic. Don't expect any surprises, and without a second player to compete against you shouldn't expect much variety either.
One nice feature of the game is that you can stop playing it at any point — including right between strokes — and when you return you'll have the option of continuing exactly where you left off. Of course the Virtual Console's restore points sort of render this feature redundant, but it's nice to have there all the same.
Golf isn't a bad game, but it's not exactly a standout either. We're certainly not upset that Nintendo chose to make this available ahead of so many other deserving titles, but we do have to wonder why they bothered. As it stands, it's another sports game on the 3DS Virtual Console that you already knew if you wanted before you even read this review.
For better or worse, follow your gut.
While certainly basic, Golf doesn't have many overt flaws, the disabled two-player mode notwithstanding. For its small price, you get a simple game conducive to short bursts that controls well and looks quite good. But you also don't get much that will keep you coming back: with only two courses and no surprises along the way, the game starts to feel very repetitive very quickly. If you love golf games, you probably have something better to play already. And if you don't, this isn't the place the start.