With the spotlight on birdies, eagles and albatrosses, Mario Golf: World Tour is stuffed full of content, challenges and tournaments to satisfy the needs of every golfing amateur or pro. While bizarre and vibrant courses jam-packed with hazards and obstacles fuel fun, a heavy focus on challenges dampens the green.
In his first golfing adventure in over a decade, Mario is back and hoping to tee off in style in Mario Golf: World Tour. Developed by Camelot, Mario Golf is visually stunning and a marvel to play. The stereoscopic 3D breathes life into the many vivacious and spirited courses, while the individual character animations of your Mii and the franchise’s characters are amusing both through their elation and in a cantankerous manner; where it really pays off to win against the huffing and puffing Princess Daisy. However, a marginal problem occurs when using stereoscopic 3D, the grass textures – particularly on the standard courses – become blurred towards the edges when moving the camera for an accurate shot, a visual nitpick.
Single player mode grants users with a wealth of challenges, classic stroke and match play, as well as speed golf and point play. As such, these modes are great for the casual golfer, where dipping in for an hour or two provides you with enough sustenance, or allows others to hone their skills and learn the pros and cons to draw, fade and straight-hitting characters. But if you’re looking for a slightly meatier dish than the odd bit of greenery, players can opt to dive into challenges, which reward successful players with star coins.
An unfortunate qualm, here, is how much the game relies on completing challenges to unlock new Mario-themed courses. Collecting 100 coins, defeating characters in match mode and lining up your shots perfectly within gold rings while using power-ups, just to name a few, are probably not devilish or cruel enough for avid gamers, but casual gamers may easily get frustrated with the rising difficulty levels.
Since courses such as Yoshi Lake, Cheep Cheep Lagoon and other themed levels are the most fun to play, challenges almost feel forced, and detract from the delightful title. But for those who sleep, eat and breathe golfing challenges, players will find ten different varieties on each course, which keep play light and entertaining without becoming entirely unforgiving.
Mario Golf: World Tour introduces players to the Castle Club for the first time, providing a unique experience with your 3DS Mii character. The game really comes into its stride here and is immediately accessible to players of all strengths. But the Castle Club’s layout is slightly problematic, where going through a number of doors to get to your desired area can become tedious. And though tournaments offer great experience and bragging rights within the trophy room, once completed there’s a heavy focus on challenges rather than pure golf, making the Castle Club feel little more than a place to change your growing range of banana peel, Hammer Bro and Dolphin outfits.
There’s nothing better than proving your golfing glory – or tee off horror – in online tournaments and modes. Community matches will team you up with three other players as you vie to break in a birdie or that elusive and quite miraculous hole-in-one to secure first place victory. Emoticon buttons are provided here, so you can cheer the other player on when they hit a good shot, even though you secretly wished they hadn’t, or alternatively warn them from obstructions or hazards, ideal for good sportsmanship and community growth.
In Mario Open tournaments you can go up against regional or worldwide players and compete for bronze, silver and gold trophies on leader board rankings. As such, the online modes are the heart and soul of the game and are truly thrilling to play, unleashing the competitive golfer within.
While Mario Golf: World Tour has its flaws, they are minute in comparison to the game’s vibrant depth and well-designed accessibility. A pick up and play title which will never leave you teed off for too long.