Mario has been pretty prolific over recent months and years and the pipe diving train doesn’t show any signs of slowing down with Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS, and Mario Kart 8 on their way, and the recent release of Mario Golf World Tour. Mazza’s been swinging a golf club since the eighties and with the latest iteration of the series he’ll be smashing out the birdies, eagles and hole-in-ones on the Nintendo 3DS.
While golf in the Mushroom Kingdom is far from being a new thing, Mario Golf World Tour will be bringing the first online multiplayer experience to the series, which adds a whole lot more long-term playability to the game. Released on the 2nd May 2014, the game looked like it had a lot of potential when it was first announced, and now that we’ve had a change to give the game a good few drives through, we can say that thankfully it’s nowhere near as easy to steamroll through as Mario Tennis Open was. Read our review for more information at http://tuppencemagazine.co.uk/mario-golf-world-tour-3ds-review/.
The game features 12 main Super Mario characters, including Mario, Luigi, Daisy, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Boo, Wario and Waluigi, along with 4 hidden characters, as well as all the Miis you can muster. However, Nintendo has already released a series of DLC that include new characters and we’re expecting more to follow. Toadette, Nabbit and Gold Mario have already been released. From the size of the roster the fact that the game’s release was put back a little must have meant that developers, Camelot Software, had enough time to really ramp this up.
Playable Mario characters will all be available to select in both the quick match mode of the game as well as in the multiplayer and versus options. However, things get a bit more interesting with the option to choose your Mii character in the Castle Club Mode. Here you’ll be able to develop your miniaturised, digital equivalent to help them to get through the game. We’ll talk through this mode in a bit more detail in our preview of the gameplay below.
Mario Golf World Tour gameplay pretty much explains itself in general as you take on opponents in rounds of golf on courses inspired by the world of Super Mario (again there’s DLC to add new courses, but the game comes with a whole lot of holes right from the start). Although, in all fairness there’s a lot of detail in the play dynamics of the game that takes advantage of the special features that you only get with the Nintendo 3DS, including using the gyroscope sensors to look around the course.
With the split screen you get to watch what’s going on in the main, top screen, while controlling everything that your character does with the touch screen. This was sort of the case with Mario Open Tennis too, but it’s a concept that’s much more fitting in a golf game than it was in the tennis. While you also get to use the main controls to pull off your best moves, you can adjust everything from swing, ball strike position to control spit, power, shot type and golf club be tapping on areas of the touch pad. This makes it look pretty easy to set everything up quickly, so you’re not trying to control everything with the controls mid swing.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a couple of modes within the game that help to make it a little more than just another Mario tryst. The first of these is perhaps the more obvious quick game mode which sees you jumping into the bunker strewn breach with a choice of Mushroom Kingdom characters.
The second mode is the more immersing of the two initially as it sees you take on the campaign progression of the game with your little doppelganger Mii feller in the Castle Club. As with lots of Mario sport games before it, here the development is all about winning tournaments and progressing through them towards the grand showdown in the World Tour. However, the difference here is that you’ll need to build up skill and the coins you’ll need to tool up to make it through.
Within the Castle Club, you’ll get the chance to hone your skills in training sections without the pressure being on in a full tournaments. Here you’ll be able to practice everything from driving to chipping and putting to help you develop your capabilities before you take on the world.
All of the practice and all of the skill progression and kit purchases in Toad’s club shop will inevitably help you get through the rigors of the Castle Club Mode, but, more importantly, they’ll help you take on your mates and the rest of the world in the multiplayer version options in the game. At its most tame this is a Local Play between you and up to 3 of your mates in a golf club duel to the death, but at it’s peak it’s an online battle that sees you take on any number of tee-vigilantes from around the world and enter the big kudos stakes of large-scale international tournaments, which are a lot of fun (especially the awards ceremony if you take a podium).
As with all Mario games of late, the graphics in Mario Golf World Tour are cute and cool enough, but hardly cutting edge. However, and reiterating something we’ve said throughout the brilliant life of the Nintendo 3DS, the graphics are impressive considering they’re delivered on a little hand-held console. They’re also as chunky and solid as ever, so when you see the ball being hit by your Mii’s golf club it feels like it’s sort of happening for real, which is one of the real beauties of Mario games.
One of the unique traits of the 3DS is its 3D stereoscopic screen, which has helped to bring the vast majority of its games to life in a way they would have struggled to achieve without it, and from the look of the game when you’re playing it, that the case for Mario Golf World Tour too. Golfing games have always struggled to convey depth well with the flight of the ball, but here the 3D effect help to give the game more perspective.