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Barton Lynch Pro Surfing Review

Genre: Sports | Simulation

Modes: Single Player | Multiplayer

Developed by: Bungarra Software Pty Ltd

Published by: Bungarra Software Pty Ltd, Tru Blu Entertainment

Initial Release date: 7 April 2022 (Early Access)

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Platform I played on: PlayStation 5

Thanks to The IndiEXP, Bungarra Software Pty Ltd and Tru Blu Entertainment for the review code!


Barton Lynch Pro Surfing is the latest simulation title to make a splash in the sports genre market. For those who see this title may think of the likes of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, or Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer. Unlike those sports titles though, Barton Lynch Pro Surfing focuses on more a physics based experience. For the most part it does that quite well, but the game does have some other issues that needs to be addressed. Why? Let's dive in.

Surfs Up!

Similar to the likes of other sim-sport games such as Skate and Skater XL, Barton Lynch Pro Surfing strays away from the arcade-action formula, and as mentioned, instead focuses on a more realistic approach on surfing.

In this title you can choose from either a custom surfer, or as pro surfer, including Yago Dora, Clay Marzo, Nathan Florence, Soli Bailey, Mahina Maeda, Vahine Fierro, Felicity Palmateer, and of course, Barton Lynch. While there is no storyline in this game as such, you'll still be surfing against the worlds best surfers in a world tour across various locations. This world tour includes sports commentary, heats to beat, and a leader board - both in single player and multiplayer. You'll be off surfing in iconic locations around the world, including Aussie beaches Manly and Snapper Rocks. Some other beaches you'll be able to surf in includes Aileens, Jaws, and Mundaka - just to name a few.

If you don't feel like playing the world tour though, the game does offer a free surf mode which includes quite a few customised features to tailor to you. You can pick weather conditions, time of day, and even sizes of waves to take on. You can even pick if you want to start on the beach, or in the ocean already. I do want to highlight this customisation because it means more people can jump into the game, and play however it suits them. It also adds a more simulated based experience for each player.

Alright now, let's dive in a little deeper with the gameplay itself. Straight up, I highly recommend doing the tutorial first before diving in, literally. It's not a game you can just button mash your way through, or just hope for the best. One of the main things you'll be doing is of course looking for the perfect wave to catch, and then pumping your way through that wave. Whether it's a few air tricks or surfing in the heart-tube of the wave, the game allows for all kinds of surfers. Precision and timing however, is also crucial.

To approach a wave, you'll need to paddle your way to it. There's no map to tell you where the wave will be exactly, but there is an indicator on the bottom left of your screen that gives some guidance. Once you look and find a wave you want to surf, there's a few things to keep in mind. If you're playing in a world tour, you'll have to make sure you don't interfere with another surfers wave (whoops, not me doing this a few times) to avoid having points deducted. You can surf the same wave as another surfer, but you'll have to be a specific amount of metres away from them to do so.

Once you paddle your way to a wave, you'll need to click circle to enter the wave, and then begin pumping with R1 to find your rhythm. If you change your mind before approaching the wave however, you can simply ride over or under it and catch another one instead.

While in the wave, you'll be tapping R1 to pump and find your momentum to keep balance. The use of joysticks is crucial to guide your surfer where you want them to go, and the faster you go, the more points you'll gain. When you want to do an air trick for example, you'll guide your surfer toward the lip of the wave, press X, and then quickly press the corresponding buttons for an air trick. Again, timing is crucial and the game does not give you mercy even on a slightly wrong angle.

There's quite a comprehensive list of tricks you can pull off which is quite impressive, and again this is where doing the tutorial will help the understanding of the physics of the game before heading off on the world tour.

Also another feature is the use of jet ski boats. If you're too far away from the launch area or want to go out further in the ocean, you can simply call for a jet ski to pick you up. You'll also have control of the said jet ski, but you'll have to be careful you don't wipe out your surfer in the process.

It is clear to me that the physics of the game were the main focus and personally, I think it does excel well in that regard. It makes you work for it, as you would if you were surfing in real life. However, it's a shame the rest of the game doesn't carry this as well as I had hoped, especially the rough visuals.

Visuals | Graphics | Art Design

As I briefly mentioned above, the visuals are quite rough, and it doesn't hit the mark of where it should be graphically, especially as a next gen title. It's a shame, because it definitely feels like a bit more time was needed in that area, and would have made the game much more enjoyable to look at.

Even the custom-surfer was really rough to look at. I appreciate the fact that there is quite a bit of customisation you can do with your character, but even so it just felt a bit off. I'm normally not one to dive in too deep with visuals/graphics, but this just had to be said. Even if it's art design intention is to be reminiscent of an early 00's sports game aesthetic, it is still way too undercooked, and definitely needed more time.

Feeling Amped

One of the best aspects that this game absolutely nails though, is the soundtrack. They've crafted up a perfect, surf vibe playlist that includes genres such as Pop- Punk, Retro Rock, Folk Rock, and Indie Rock. It's quite the Triple J line-up at a first glance, as featuring artists includes the likes of Pretty Uglys, Debbies, Wing Defence, Smoking Martha, Bad Pony and Donna Amini, just to name a few. There's a few mix of other genres in there too, including Psychedelic Surf-Rock (best way I know how to describe that) and Hip-Hop Rap.

Similar to how the soundtrack in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Underground series matches the skate atmosphere, this soundtrack does just that - but for a surfing atmosphere. Some of my favourite tracks included Emergency Rooms by Pretty Uglys, What Do I Know by Debbies, Everybody Must Dance by Sir Winston, and Good Girls by Smoking Martha. You can also easily change the song by using the left and right D-Pad arrows - no need to stop and start the game to flick between tunes.

If you're interested, you can check out the full soundtrack with all 23 songs here.

Length | Replay ability | Achievements/Trophies

From what I can see from the trophies/achievements list, it's seems to be quite time consuming, and some skill based trophies/achievements. You can likely expect to spend hours for that platinum trophy, or to up your Gamerscore. Some are easy to unlock by just playing the game, but otherwise to get everything you'll definitely need to spend a bit of time with it, including a few playthroughs as well as far as I can tell.

Glitches | Bugs | Issues

Right off the bat it has to be said, there's a bit of a slow loading screen when you boot up the game. For a next gen title, it really shouldn't take too much time but it does, unfortunately. I did find at times as well buttons didn't respond to what I wanted to click on, but this was specifically during customisation and surfer management, not during actual gameplay.

I did come across a glitch/loading issue that stuck out though. I went to begin another round in the world tour, and the screen went black while I could still hear the ocean. I believe it was probably about 15 seconds or so, but still worth noting.

I haven't yet come across anything too extreme or game breaking, yet. As I always say though in all my reviews, this isn't to say there are or aren't any other issues, this is just what I've come across so far personally, so keep an eye out.

Paddlin' Back To Shore

If you're a hardcore surfer, or someone that enjoys physics based titles, then I think this could be for you to check out - if you don't mind some of the glaring issues it has. As for picking up as a casual player, I'm not quite sure I can say that it'll win you over, especially given the price tag.

Again, I don't usually like to pick apart graphics too much as I'm usually more interested a games story or mode. This game though I do have to mention it as quite a big negative because it is extremely noticeable, and personally made me not enjoy the experience as much as I wanted to. I truly want this game to succeed as there is a decent game underneath, and I'm hoping to see patches that can fix a few issues in the future. On a more positive note though, I'm glad the gameplay and soundtrack wasn't a total let down, as they are the best aspects of this game, respectively.

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