There aren’t many sports that Mario and his friends haven’t tackled by now, but each outing seems to rarely disappoint when it comes down to core gameplay. Mario Golf, however, is a franchise that’s often provided users with a copious amount of depth whenever it’s hit the green on a Nintendo portable, and the arrival of Mario Golf: World Tour maintains those aspirations by unleashing an easy pick up and play style, and a myriad of content.
One of the more in-depth aspects of Mario’s latest outing is the single-player campaign, Castle Club, which will transform even the most naive of golfers into seasoned pros. The main campaign throws players into the role of a rookie (represented by their Mii), tasked with climbing the ranks in the hopes of besting iconic Nintendo characters from the Mushroom Kingdom. There are three main 18-hole courses on which the bulk of the action will take place, with several challenge holes from the game’s other courses popping up throughout.
While the RPG-esque elements that made past portable installments so enjoyable don’t make a return, there is a means for players to alter the stats of their unique Mii characters. By unlocking equipment, users are able to deck out their avatars with stylish garb to enhance different aspects of their golf game. Unlocking items is random and happens after the completion of many of the events (win or lose), but they must be purchased from the shop with coins that have been earned whilst playing World Tour.
One of the most enjoyable portions of Mario Golf: World Tour is unlocking new content, whether earning new courses to play on, equipment and costumes, or entirely new golfers. The sheer amount of content, coupled with the effort that needs to be put in to access it, equates to something that can and will engage players’ inner completionist. Despite the ample amount of collectibles helping to convince players to keep coming back, the gameplay is just as stimulating as the need to unlock the next level of equipment.
The mechanics in the Mario Golf series have largely remained the same, and its implementation in the latest 3DS iteration is no exception. Working against hazards and the ever-changing wind that sweeps across the course takes some getting use to, but the game pushes players to work with the wind, add backspin to their shots, and play off of various obstacles from the world of Mario. Learning how to play efficiently comes quickly, and players can find themselves teeing off with accuracy before long.
The tried and true power meter is far from a bad way to determine the strength of a shot, but the gameplay isn’t without a few faults. The largest issue that constantly arose was the positioning of the camera during a putt. A majority of the time the hole is visible and players can make the appropriate adjustments to their swing, but once in a while the camera will hover above the hole and effectively place the target out of the line of sight. Fortunately, it’s possible to pivot the in-game camera utilizing the 3DS’ gyroscopic capabilities – but it’s not possible to alter the shot while doing so, making it a major annoyance.
After tearing through the campaign, those looking for some single player action have an ample amount of content at their disposal. A grand total of 10 courses (combining to create a total of 126 holes) are available for standard play against CPUs or other friends with the game, and each does a good job at mixing up the aesthetic and challenge that accompanies every hole. For example, the Forest Course plays out like a standard course, albeit very Super Mario-inspired in appearance, while another course like Cheep Cheep Lagoon takes place entirely underwater, with altered physics to match.
Mario Golf: World Tour is a great addition to the iconic plumber’s spin-off series. A wonky camera during occasional putting sessions will come to annoy those looking to ace courses, but it’s something that can be overlooked when taking into consideration just how much fun it actually is to play. World Tour looks great, plays well, and gives gamers a great title to take with them wherever they may go. Camelot and Nintendo have done a solid job on a title that’s sure to appeal to more than just golf fans, and while it may not be a hole-in-one, it definitely comes in under par.
Mario Golf: World Tour swings onto store shelves on May 2, 2014 exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.
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