Mario Golf World Tour Review: Good Shot!
It has been over 10 years since Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour was released on the Nintendo GameCube during a hard time for Nintendo’s first disc based console. Released during the summer of 2003, there was a lot of negative press about the GameCube and its poor reception with consumers. Toadstool Tour flew somewhat under the radar at the time but those who gave it a shot found a fantastic and deep Mario sports spin-off unlike any other.
Almost 11 years later, Nintendo and Camelot have finally delivered a sequel to the GameCube classic. But does Mario Golf: World Tour live up to its predecessor’s legacy? Is it just a cosmetic upgrade or does it make good on the promise of being a worthy sequel?
Mario Golf: World Tour is such a complete, well made game that its hard to pick a starting point when talking about it. First off, it is still a Mario sports spin-off. That alone will turn some away no matter how good the game is. If you’re into golf games that don’t have to be too realistic, then Mario Golf is the only golf game you’ll need for quite some time.
It doesn’t take long to get the hang of things in World Tour, even for Mario Golf newbies. You start your swing with A and stop where you want on the power meter after lining up your shot. You can skip through shots to breeze through long tournaments or take your time and analyze your shots in a replay.
Item shots give the core golfing mechanic a bit of a twist but ultimately most players will ignore them. The player can acquire items throughout each hole if items are enabled. Items like the fire flower burn through obstacles like trees while the bullet bill ignores the wind and flies directly forward. These items are enjoyable and do add a level of depth, making the playing field more even for casual players. Without them the game is just as much if not more fun. They don’t take away from the game by any means but most players will forget they are there.
The game is divided into two modes, your traditional Mario Golf experience and the Castle Club. In the normal Mario Golf mode you play a quick round on any course you’ve unlocked, local or online multiplayer, or participate in tournaments. Single player in this mode offers stroke play, match play, speed golf, a point tourney and a challenge mode. Completing challenges unlocks new courses and can be pretty fun while also not being a cake walk.
One challenge may have you collecting star coins, which seems much easier than it is, while another has you completing a series of holes within a short period of time. This adds some clever little mini-games to the mix, giving you a break from tournament play. This challenge mode is a very nice distraction in an already content packed game.
Castle Club may not be the RPG mode Mario Golf fans were hoping for but nonetheless it is fantastic and deep. Players outfit their Mii with gear that they unlock as they play which are purchased with coins that are given as rewards for stellar rounds of golf. This unlock-able gear gives the player a RPG-like customization by choosing clothing, shoes, club accessories and more. These change the player’s abilities and performance much like the kart customization in Mario Kart 7. Its a very nice twist that isn’t too deep to alienating first time players while also rewarding those looking for the best load out.
As it stands on its own, Castle Club would almost be worth the price of admission on its own as its that much fun. Thankfully the game also features one of the better multiplayer components of all 3DS titles.
Multiplayer supports players you also have a copy of Mario Golf, so no download play here sadly. Online play is a big part of World Tour, the game’s top screen is devoted solely to display online tournaments at the main menu. Not only that but it displays your friends scores in online tournaments right away, provoking players to show their friends who is the best golfer.
This is a bold departure for a first party Nintendo title for sure. Online play runs very well and there are several options for the competitive player. You can take part in three day long contests to accomplish a specific task, set up your tournament to compete with buddies or play the ghosts of other players. This is surely due to the game being developed by Camelot, a developer who consistently goes the extra mile in their Mario sports titles.
Visually Mario Golf: World Tour is stunning. The art style works really well with the 3DS’s hardware and every course is like candy for the eyes. All courses are designed to have unique terrain so that they aren’t interchangeable aesthetically. As far as Nintendo first party titles, World Tour is one of the prettier games in the history of the Nintendo 3DS.
Animations for characters after landing an eagle, birdie, or a bogey can be fun to watch the first few times, sticking with the series tradition of short comical cut scenes between holes. That said, after seeing how your favorite character reacts to doing bad or good you’ll want to skip through this scene to get to the next hole which thankfully Camelot made it easy to pass these over with a tap of the A button.
The soundtrack doesn’t have as many memorable tunes as Toadstool Tour but part of that might be nostalgia. The music in World Tour is still very good and has that Camelot/Nintendo charm. You won’t be humming these songs outside of the time that you play World Tour but who knows, with time these tracks might become as revered as Toadstool Tour’s soundtrack.
Mario Golf: World Tour is a worthy successor to its GameCube predecessor and is bulging at the seams with content. Its an absolute bargain at $29.99, a lower price of entry than most 3DS titles. It offers incredibly deep single player and multiplayer modes with a surprising emphasis on online play. The Castle Club mode may not be as “RPG” as some fans would have hoped but it still delivers on an in depth customization experience.
Where as Mario Tennis Open felt like Camelot going through the motions and figuring out how to craft their next wave of Mario sports games, World Tour feels like a well thought out thesis on how to add to an already excellent experience. Mario Golf: World Tour is just plain fun and will have you hooked in no time, challenging Animal Crossing and Pokemon as the most played game in your 3DS’s activity log.
Mario Golf: World Tour is one of the best, most addicting 3DS games released. It has deep customization and a meaty online and single player experiences. Review copy provided by Nintendo.