Golf Magic Golf: Lose Yourself in New ‘Labyrinth’ Course for ‘Walkabout Mini Golf’

Oculus Blog
|
July 28, 2022
|
Share

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have golfed my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen—for my swing is as strong as yours, and my putter is as great.” Something like that, right?

Today marks the release of Walkabout Mini Golf: Labyrinth on the Meta Quest and Rift platforms, transporting you into Jim Henson’s fantasy world for a round of mini golf like no other. Visit the iconic film locations, say hello to your favorite characters, and try your best to make par—lest your brother turn into a goblin. Walkabout Mini Golf has kept up a steady cadence of new courses since launch, but Labyrinth is a special milestone, both as the first licensed course and perhaps the most ambitious to-date.

We celebrated the occasion by catching up with Lucas Martell, Executive Producer at Mighty Coconut and creator of Walkabout Mini Golf. Did the team have this Labyrinth course in mind from the start? And how much of Jim Henson’s world is explorable between putts? You’ll find the answers to these and more questions below!

How did this crossover come about? When you were developing Walkabout Mini Golf did you ever think “One day we’ll make a Labyrinth course?”

Lucas Martell: We weren’t thinking specifically about Labyrinth during development, but the general idea of doing licensed courses was definitely a pipe dream from the early stages. One of the big advantages of being a mini golf game is that people can wrap their heads around it very easily, and it creates a fun, simple structure for us to build fantastical worlds around.

So when we decided to pursue licensing based on enthusiasm from our player community, the Jim Henson Company was at the top of our list given their history as innovative storytellers, worldbuilders, and their special place in our childhoods. The team here has many ideas and people we’d like to partner with, but we all felt like Labyrinth was a perfect place to start, and we loved the idea of bringing those creatures back to life!

How did you adapt the world of Labyrinth into a straightforward 18 holes? Did you essentially recreate the movie plot beat-for-beat or take a different approach?

LM: The folks at Henson have been wonderful in that they have been highly supportive of our ideas while giving us a framework to ensure this is in keeping with Jim Henson’s original vision. What we’ve tried to do is to take the players through an approximation of the sequence of the original story, but with the ability to look around corners the film never showed and to illuminate parts of the story we never got to see.

It’s a bit more like a theme park version, where many of the memorable moments live right next to each other. In the end, fans will get most or all of the iconic scenes and creatures they know and love, and some mini golf gameplay tied into this mystical world.

Do Labyrinth’s characters make it into the course—and if so, in what form?

LM: Without giving too much away, most of the creatures from the film appear in Walkabout Mini Golf: Labyrinth in a way that you can get up close and personal with, but they stay in their native scene, for the most part. But we’re also enabling players to essentially cosplay key creatures and characters by way of custom avatars, which allow them to animate the story in their own way as they play.

What’s your favorite Labyrinth hole to play?

LM: Definitely hole 17. I don’t want to give away what it is, but when you get to it, you’ll know.

Most of the Walkabout Mini Golf courses center on a particular mechanic or motif, i.e. branching paths, gaps, ricochets, et cetera. Does the Labyrinth course have a “feel” to it? Any new mechanics to look out for?

LM: It definitely introduces a handful of things we’ve never done before with gameplay, but rather than building the course around a single mechanic (like wind in Quixote Valley) we’re bringing in several new mechanics that fit with the storytelling of particular scenes in the film. Some of those might become the basis for entire courses down the road, and some are just fun bits that relate to Labyrinth itself.

What’s next for you and your team? Any future plans? Anything you want to tease about the upcoming Myst course this fall?

LM: This is our thirteenth course—in keeping with the 13-hour clock—but we’re really just getting started! In the second half of 2022 alone, we have more Lost Cities courses coming out, we’ll be announcing forthcoming licensed courses, and a whole new series as well.

We’re all very excited about Walkabout Mini Golf: Myst—not only as superfans of the original game but also as course designers and developers, because it gives us a chance to introduce some interesting puzzle mechanics that longtime Myst devotees will love, as well as serving as a great “appetizer” for Walkabout players who aren’t yet familiar with Myst.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

LM: We’ve got hundreds of thousands of players in over 40 countries who play weekly—many of whom play with friends and family, or one of the many groups, leagues, or tournaments that have formed.

To build on what our community has shown us they want, we’re working on more social features, IRL meet-ups including tournament play, and even different modes and achievements to keep each course lively and surprising. Our goal is to perpetually be making Walkabout Mini Golf a place where people of all play-styles and comfort levels can meet up and find something that delights and challenges them.

If you want to get more familiar with how we think about course design and other luminaries in VR/game design, check out our Walkabout Talkabout series!


Stop dawdling! You have thirteen hours in which to pick up Walkabout Mini Golf: Labyrinth on the Meta Quest or Rift platforms, or your headset will…become a goblin, maybe. Good luck!