Mario Golf: World Tour - Review

8/10 - Mario Golf: World Tour is a fine addition to anyone's 3DS collection; there's more content than past sports games, and the wealth of tutorials and tips make it one of the friendliest golf games ever made

GAME reviews Mario Golf: World Tour on Nintendo 3DS.

Mario is no stranger to sports. Nintendo's moustachioed hero dunks basketballs, tears up fresh powder while snowboarding and enjoys friendly doubles matches on the tennis court. Excited fans, however, can make the case for golf being his best extracurricular activity. He first appeared in the original Golf for the NES and NES Open Tournament Golf before jumping into the highly respected Mario Golf series, developed by the talented Camelot Software Planning. Now he's back in the all-new Mario Golf: World Tour for 3DS, and there's a satisfying amount of content for players to dig into, whether they wish to tackle the varied courses, brush up on their skills or even challenge friends locally and online.

Golf like a pro, with a little help

It takes a while to fully comprehend golf rules, and even longer to master one's swing. This troublesome difficulty curve is normally present in video games, as players struggle to learn which clubs to use and how to putt. That said, the most impressive aspect to Mario Golf: World Tour is the sheer number of pop-up tips and in-depth tutorials. Not only does Toad appear to offer brief snippets of advice on a wide range of subjects, but you're also free to visit Toad's Booth for helpful walkthroughs and a detailed glossary, which explains all sorts of terminology, from Interlock Grip and Sweet-Spot Ratio to Worm Burner. This carries over to the Castle Club (more on this in a bit), where a wide assortment of characters provide tips of their own, and you're able to partake in practice rounds to hone your skills while becoming friendlier with certain courses. If you commit yourself to learning the intricacies of the sport, there's a great possibility you'll come away understanding almost everything there is to know about golf.

The title's user-friendly nature carries over to the gameplay. Camelot goes out of its way to make things as easy as possible. Players can customize their experience via the touchscreen, particularly when it comes to hitting the ball. Similar to most golf games, there's a meter at the top of the screen that allows gamers to adjust power. Tapping the Easy tile means they only have to press the button once, while opting for Manual lets them hit the same button twice, in case they want more control.

From there, he or she can adjust the camera angle before taking the shot, line up the on-screen cursor with the hole, and once the shot is made, view it from multiple angles using the replay button. Of course, if they prefer to speed through a course, that's what the Fast-Forward and Skip options are for.

GAME reviews Mario Golf: World Tour on Nintendo 3DS.

Mario and Bowser put aside their differences to golf

Being a Mario Golf game, players can expect a wide assortment of characters, the majority of which have appeared in previous Mario sports games. In addition to Nintendo's mascot, Luigi, Bowser, Donkey and Diddy Kong fill out the roster, as well as more niche characters like Boo and Bowser Jr. Nintendo also threw in unlockable golfers, but we'll let you discover them on your own. Characters have individual stats, so it's in your best interest to pick the one most ideal for the given situation, or if that's no concern, a personal favourite.

Similarly, the courses are a delightful mix of real and fantasy-based. The Forest Course is exactly as it sounds, full of trees and long stretches of green. Peach Gardens, meanwhile, is set within the Mushroom Kingdom and features not only pink scenery, but also boost pads that push the ball further once it hits the ground. There's even an underwater course called Cheep Cheep Lagoon, where you literally golf beneath the waves, and with downloadable content on the way, Nintendo has even more imaginative course designs in store for players.

A wide collection of modes for every golfer

Taking all of this into account, there exists a plethora of options for enjoying Mario Golf: World Tour, bumping up the replay value significantly. With Single Player, you're able to golf at your leisure in Stroke Play, or compete against the AI in Match Play or Speed Golf, where you go for the quickest completion time. On top of that, Camelot added Challenges where you attempt to satisfy specific goals to earn Star Coins. Among them, guiding the ball through gold rings, completing nine holes with a score of – 3 or better, or collecting 100 coins strewn about the course in three holes. You'll even come across power-ups. Case in point, the Fire Flower that lets the ball burn through leaves and grass, ideal for making it past annoying trees.

Naturally, some Challenges are easier than others, and this enhances and hurts the game. You'll breeze through some and then gradually go insane trying to beat tougher ones. Still, Challenges are a fun distraction.

If you prefer human competition, Camelot has you covered with both local and online play for up to four gamers. The best part? You're free to challenge fellow golfers from your friend list through Online Friends, or anyone using the Community Match feature.

GAME reviews Mario Golf: World Tour on Nintendo 3DS.

You're cordially invited to visit the Club

Finally, there's the aforementioned Castle Club. This is the closest Mario Golf: World Tour comes to having a role-playing element. It is essentially a fancy club where you golf as a selected Mii character, swap outfits/equipment, earn a handicap, compete in tournaments and speak to several characters from the Super Mario Bros. franchise. It's cool to explore, but some gamers may not find Castle Club particularly deep, though to be fair, the heart of this game is its 18-hole courses, and utilizing the tutorials to become a better golfer.

It's cool to golf in 3D

World Tour definitely satisfies when it comes to presentation. Each character features distinct voice clips and animations, and regardless of how you feel about glasses-free 3D, Camelot did a great job taking advantage of this. Certain replays showcase the ball rocketing towards the screen, while Bowser grabs the screen and growls when he does something good, and punches it when he commits a costly mistake, leaving a temporary virtual crack; don't worry, it goes away.

All of this makes Mario Golf: World Tour a fine addition to anyone's 3DS collection. There's more content than past sports games, Mario Tennis Open for instance, and the wealth of tutorials and tips make it one of the friendliest golf games ever made. Throw in at least three downloadable content packs with new courses and characters, and you'll stay on the links for quite some time.

GAME's Verdict: 8/10

The Good

  • A variety of tutorials to help would-be golfers
  • Fun mix of realistic and fantasy style courses
  • Online play against friends and random gamers

The Bad

  • Castle Club not as in-depth as we'd like
  • There's still a high learning curve to mastering the game
  • Certain Challenges will drive you crazy
SKU: Features-292294
Release Date: 25/04/2014