Mario Golf: Hole-in-One

Corey and I both purchased Mario Golf: World Tour on release day. Now that we’ve had time with the game, we decided to do a joint review to give our readers a well-rounded summary of the game’s pros and cons! Since I’m a super nice guy, I let Corey go first:

After a ten year hiatus, I was pleased when Nintendo announced they were releasing Mario Golf for the 3DS this spring. It has been one of my favorite titles in the Mario spinoffs since its debut in 1999. Mario Golf: World Tour for the 3DS certainly did not disappoint and stands its ground with previous installments.

I was initially impressed by the title’s accessibility.  As a series veteran, I picked it up no problem–putting spin on the ball and manipulating the ball’s flight was simple, but enough to merit a challenge in order to avoid obstacles of the course. The challenges such as ring shot and slots returned to the series, giving players a way to test their skills to get out of sticky situations.

The new features were a great touch to the series. Item shots were introduced, giving players means of stepping up their game. Use fire flowers to burn through trees or a bullet bill to barrel through all obstacles. One criticism of the item shots is the ice flower. Meant to be used to skip across water hazards, it is ineffective in my opinion. Generally, my shots bounced multiple times and landed in the water anyways. Even in the challenge modes were using an ice flower was necessary, I found myself failing pretty frequently.

In addition to items, courses had plenty of wacky features. Originally present in the Gamecube through warp pipes and chain chomps, this game introduced bouncy blocks, barrels from Donkey Kong, and boosted fairways. These courses were a fun and challenging addition in my quest to rack up the lowest score possible. For fans looking for more traditional courses, there are a handful without gimmicks to challenge a player’s skills more conventionally.

The game shines when it comes to multiplayer. Playing against a friend provides plenty of options to customize a game. Features such as turning items on or off or allowing players to play a hole simultaneously to cut down on load time or waiting are a welcome addition. Also, with tournaments being held worldwide online, it allows players to see how they stack up against the stoutest competition. Nintendo did a great job designing multiplayer in the game to offer a fresh entertaining experience every time someone picks up the game.

Although I have a few critiques of the game, such as the redundancy of single player mode or the difficulty of reading the greens in the game, Nintendo delivers a great single and multiplayer experience in Mario Golf: World Tour. I found the tweaks to the game a great addition despite my initial skepticism. With new DLC being released the next few months which includes new courses and characters, players should find reasons to keep on going back to the links. Nintendo once again delivers an entertaining experience on their handheld console.

Corey gave a great overview of the game’s strengths and weaknesses, so I’ll narrow the focus a bit and explore the specific aspects that I’ve experienced:

So far I’ve spent most of my time with Mario Golf playing Castle Club. This is more or less the single player “campaign,” in which you play as your Mii and compete in championships. The entire single player experience only consists of 4-5 matches before the credits role. The first is a practice round to set your handicap while the following are the 3 course championships. These spike up in difficulty with each round–the Forest course was incredibly easy, the Seaside course was barely harder, and the Mountain course was quite challenging. It took me about 10 tries to complete. I was a bit disappointed with the length of this mini-campaign, but the game offers much more after the credits roll. There are tournaments galore, and the multiplayer (as Corey mentioned) is diverse and fantastic. He and I played a few matches, and they found the perfect middle ground between balanced and competitive.

I’ve spent the majority of my time with challenges, which offer ways to unlock new courses and golfers. They range from 9-hole match play to club slots to speed runs to more; there’s no shortage of content here. These vary in length and difficulty (some are insanely frustrating yet satisfying), adding new goals and challenges to already fun courses. In general, I prefer the whimsical Mario-themed courses to the run-of-the-mill Castle Club outings, since they make excellent use of the Mushroom Kingdom’s countless intricacies.

To reiterate Corey’s point, the multiplayer is just amazing. There are plenty of options, and this diversity ensures that the game will stay in your 3DS for a long while. For me, it’s right up there with Mario Kart among the best 3DS multiplayer games, which is more than enough to keep me occupied until Smash Bros. comes out. The DLC helps there as well. I’ve already purchased the season pass, and I can’t wait to try out the new players and courses in the coming months. You can check out the DLC in this video:

I’m sure Corey only played with me once because he felt bad that I have no friends, so I found solace in the tournament mode. Players can create their own tourneys and select from a plethora of specifications that all significantly modify the experience. In these, there is a limited time frame in which one may play, and when the allotted time ends a winner is announced.

My primary complaint with the title is the character roster. Sure, there are plenty of classic personalities to choose from, but it’s easy to get comfortable with one and settle in. I have spent over 15 hours with the game so far, but have only tried 3 or 4 of the playable characters. I found my wheelhouse with medium strength characters with controlled swings, and I felt no need to switch it up at any point. The differences in skill and play style aren’t drastic enough for me to want to try someone new, so I end up playing as Daisy more often than not. The only game mode that requires a variety of characters is the challenge mode, where certain precision-based tasks are better accomplished with different flight paths.

Mario Golf: World Tour is a robust and enjoyable experience for the 3DS. I recommend it for any Nintendo fan (it’s worth noting that I have no experience with the series like Corey, but I still picked it up no problem). It’s a title with longevity and thoughtful content. The game feels polished and smooth straight from the 1st tee to the 18th hole, and the upcoming DLC is a great reason to keep playing.


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