Mario Golf: World Tour Review
Mario Golf returns in prime form! The last Mario Golf game released was in 2004 with Mario Golf: Advance Tour. Now ten years later, the series makes its way onto Nintendo’s popular handhelds yet again. The last Mario Golf game I played was Mario Golf for the N64; therefore, it has been quite awhile since I played this series. On the other hand, I played a lot of Hot Shots Golf throughout the past PlayStation gens, so I looked forward to getting my hands on this arcade-type golf game.
The premise of Mario Golf: World Tour is to win, win, win! As with usual sports games, you’re competing with others whether they are A.I. controlled golfers, local friends, or golfers around the world. There are two main game modes: Quick Round and Castle Club. Quick Round is the casual pick-up game mode where you can choose from a variety of game types to play with friends. For instance, you can play stroke play which is the typical way of playing golf, or you can play speed golf where the winner will be the golfer who can complete X amount of holes the fastest.
Alongside these two modes, there are other modes which involve special items and collectible coins. Castle Clubs is an interesting mode. If you have played Camelot games before, this is the basis for the story mode of Mario Golf: World Tour. In this mode, you play as your Mii and participate in tournaments gradually leading to unlocking all courses and items. In Castle Club, you have access to the store as well as various courses including normal and special courses. There is also an online tournament which feature limited gear on a weekly basis as participation prizes. Finally a tutorial aspect is included in Castle Club with random Bowser minions giving tips and even Toad giving you the rundown of courses and techniques.
Just like all golf games, you have a meter that determines the power and control of you shot. When you first start the swing, the bar fills. On the way back, you have to match the marker with the starting point of the meter if you want to have a precise shot. If you hit a little early, the ball will swing right and vice versa. You can also change camera angles multiple times to line up the best shot possible. With the D-pad, you can determine which clubs you want to use to get the right distance for your shot. If you don’t want to change clubs to alter the distance, you can use the L and R triggers to increase or decrease the distance of the shot. Another great feature is the ability to put spin on the ball. In the bottom screen, there is a picture of your golf ball when you take a shot. If you use your stylus to point on a certain place on the ball when you take your shot, it can either gain topspin or backspin. It is cool feature, but I personally find it difficult to watch both the power meter and the ball. If you don’t prefer this feature as well, there are button sequences that tell you how to get topspin and backspin on the sides of the screen. The plethora of choices really takes strategy in to play because the angle and power of a shot can determine if your ball falls short or goes way too far into the rough.
Aside from normal courses like the forest or mountain, there are special courses that pit unbelievable obstacles in your way. For instance, there is a Wiggler course where all plant life totally get in the way of making a straight shot towards the hole. In addition to that, Wiggler itself is gigantic and will sometimes block the most direct path to the green. In the Cheep Cheep Lagoon course, you play underwater! The physics totally change, and currents also make it difficult to make good shots. There are many courses similar to these and they can make or break you depending on the course obstacles.
Special items can throw us for a loop as well changing the way the ball flies through the air. For instance, there is a boomerang item that allows your shot to take a drastic curve around huge obstacles if need be. The Bullet Bill item makes your ball turn into a Bullet Bill that fires straight down the course. Items like these are fun to use, but they are only available in some modes.
Mario Golf: World Tour looks awesome on the 3DS and 2DS. Personally, I have a 2DS since I don’t make use of the 3D function, but that does not take away from the experience at all. The character animations, colorful environments, and small details like wind effects make this game enjoyable to look at. Even when I’m waiting for a competitor to take his turn in VS mode, I don’t mind the wait considering the awesome shot sequences and sceneries. When I’m playing Mario Golf: World Tour, it doesn’t even feel like I’m playing on a handheld. It’s very impressive. The sound in this game is also very good. The game of golf is usually a quiet game in general, but they make every course feel and sound like you are out there on the course playing a real game. The character voices are here as well showcasing their usual one liners. Even the Miis get a variety of speech patterns when taking shots. The music is also very reminiscent of Nintendo’s other franchises. So if you are a Nintendo fan, you’ll enjoy the sound in this game.
If you are playing Castle Club, all the way through until you unlock all the courses, it will take a couple of hours. On the other hand, there are 200 challenges with increasing difficulty plus four different modes that you can play with others, and that’s not including the DLC courses. The challenges are probably the best part of the game! With each course, there are ten challenges. These challenges can range from collecting X amount of coins to 1v1 matches with harder A.I. characters. I’ve spent much of my time playing these challenges because after completing a certain number of challenges, you receive awesome outfits and gear to put on your Mii. Now other players can see my awesome Wiggler suit when I play online!
Now onto the bread and butter of this game, the online multiplayer. Like Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS, you unlock all the characters and courses through single player mode which in itself is pretty fun. But after all the unlocking is done, the first thing you want to do is compete with other people. Mario Golf: World Tour is much of the same in that respect. After unlocking a few characters and getting used to the gameplay, you can’t help but pit yourself against others. The best part about Nintendo is that they know how to create fun and engaging multiplayer for everyone of all ages.
When you go online, you can choose between local play, user-created tournaments, and match play. Local play is a mode where you can play with friends and family in the same area, but all players must have the game to play. No download play here unfortunately. User- created tournaments are tournaments that last an X amount of days before the ending. You can join a tournament by browsing through the list of public tourneys that users have created. If you want to create a tourney for just your friends, you can create a private tourney that comes with a code to pass along to those who you would like to invite. When the tournaments end, the participants are ranked by their score and the top 3 are featured in an awards ceremony for everyone to see.
Match play is a mode where you can play with up to three other players at the same time online. What’s great is that you can customize the rules for each match. Do you want to turn on items? Do you want to choose the course or create a vote? Do you want everyone to play at the same time, or wait turn by turn? These options and many more can be altered by the user who created the match. One feature which I appreciate the most is the option to play alongside other live players. This means “ghosts” of the players will be taking their shots at the same time you are, and you can see their progress as you work your way down the course. Adding this feature streamlines the ever so long and turn-by-turn play that golf is known for. Another sweet touch to multiplayer is the ability to taunt and cheer. You have about six different expressions to make which other golfers will see when they are playing. It’ s a great way to show your own disappointment from a bad shot, or to hopefully distract a player from getting a birdie to take the lead. When you do play with random players online, you have the choice to join a community. When you join a community, the next time you jump on online, you can choose to play with anyone from the same community. It’s a great way to play with same group of players that you have never met before.
Although I am not a big fan of golf, I enjoyed Mario Golf: World Tour a whole lot. The only gripe I have with the game is the single player career mode, Castle Club. It’s pretty short and easy compared to Camelot’s past games. On the plus side, the new multiplayer modes and interesting challenges make up for that short fall. Mario Golf: World Tour really has about everything you need to make golf gaming fun for both hardcore and casual fans of the sport. With that said, Mario Golf: World Tour is a must have for all 3DS and 2DS owners who enjoy sports games.
Mario Golf: World Tour
|Platform: 3DS, 2DS (reviewed)|
Release Date: May 2, 2014
Developer: Camelot Software Planning
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone