Published on May 24th, 2014 | by octaneblue3
Review: Mario Golf: World Tour
Developer(s): Camelot Software Planning
Platform(s): 3DS, 3DS eShop
Release Date(s): May 2, 2014
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since a new Mario Golf game was released. Nintendo and Camelot’s long-running golf series returns with Mario Golf: World Tour on the 3DS. The game features a combination of realistic and Mario-esque “fantasy” courses, a single-player mode focused on your Mii, and extensive online multiplayer options. If you enjoyed past Mario Golf games, or if you haven’t played any of them yet but at least somewhat enjoy golf, this is a worthwhile title to pick up on your 3DS. Read on for the full review of Mario Golf: World Tour!
Right when you begin the game, you’re introduced to a tutorial. This is great for beginners or those who haven’t played a Mario Golf game in some time. The tutorial is mostly basic, but helps players get a feel of the core gameplay. Hitting the ball is pretty much the same as in previous games; you’ll hit the A button once to start a meter that indicates the shot’s strength, and then you’ll hit the A or B button again at the meter’s starting point for accuracy. Like Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, this game offers an automatic option where players just adjust the strength of the hit. But this option lacks the ability to put a “spin” on your shot that the manual option does – this is basically a feature that allows your hits to travel farther forward or back, positioning the golf ball in a better spot on the course. While this is not necessary at all for the start of the game, later courses and challenges really appreciate the extra spin. But once you get used to the automatic option, it’s not too difficult to progressively wean yourself off of it and switch to manual.
The Mario Golf games to look really nice on their respective platforms, and World Tour is no exception. The game’s graphics are bright, colorful, and are comparable to the style seen in most other Mario games – the game has a nice presentation overall. The animations for the characters are very nice too, and some of them will have players laughing. It’s definitely great to see a lot of varying personalities in the game, and you’ll definitely notice that with the different animations. The 3D doesn’t add too much to the game, so don’t have to mess around with that for any gameplay enhancements. The jazzy background music by longtime Camelot composer Motoi Sakuraba is very fitting for the game. A lot of the themes are very catchy, and there are some cool arrangements of classic Mario tracks found here too.
In terms of single-player options, there are plenty of things to do in the game. For starters, if you just want a quick, solo round of golf, the Stroke Play mode is available and you can customize your play sessions with options like the number of holes, a “shuffle” feature, wind strength, and so on. If you’d like a CPU opponent to golf against, the Match Play option is what you’re looking for, which also offers customizable options. And there’s also Speed Golf (aim for fast completion times on courses) and Point Tourney (earn points based on your stroke count for each hole) modes as well. Playing any mode earns you coins, which is used to purchase clothes and accessories for your Mii. These will alter your stats, so you can mix and match everything to your liking.
The Challenge Mode is where you’ll unlock much of the game’s additional content, such as new characters, courses, and so forth. The Challenge Mode consist of special tasks that need to be completed in order to earn a Star Coin; these range from collecting a certain amount of coins scattered throughout multiple holes, beating a character in a versus match, and hitting the ball through flying rings and finishing under par. These are actually quite fun, and there’s a nice progression in terms of difficulty. Later on, these get very tough and require an extreme amount of precision and patience. But these will definitely help improve your golf skills, so that’s a benefit along with the eventual unlockables. After collecting all of the Star Coins, you’ll unlock a new set of even more difficult challenges, so there’s a huge amount of replay value in this mode alone.
Mario Golf entries on the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance both featured an RPG-like single-player mode in which you played as a young, rookie golfer that went through an overworld, playing through several courses, interacting with other golfers, leveling up your stats, and, eventually, playing golf with Mario and his crew. This mode was also present in Camelot’s portable Mario Tennis games. Mario Tennis Open on the 3DS unfortunately did not feature a mode like this, and its single-player mode was very lacking because of the omission. Thankfully though, an RPG-type mode is present here in the form of the Castle Club. Here, you play as your Mii as you progress through several of the game’s courses, customize your appearance with new clothes and accessories, win tournaments and eventually earn the praise of Mario himself. You can go through the Castle Club, gardens, shops, etc., interacting with several NPCs along the way, and while it is somewhat fun, it’s also somewhat basic compared to the RPG modes of the GBC and GBA iterations. It’s just not as engaging, and after perhaps a couple hours at most, the credits are already rolling. It also doesn’t help that, while a map of the overworld is shown on the bottom screen of the 3DS, nothing is marked, so you’ll have to explore and memorized each room to learn the locations of all of the important spots.
There are also several multiplayer options in Mario Golf: World Tour. However, all of them require multiple copies of the game – Download Play isn’t supported here. And surprisingly, there isn’t a “share” feature to pass a 3DS around with local friends for multiplayer. Mario Golf: World Tour is the first game in the series to support online multiplayer. You can create lobbies that your friends can join, and the rules can be customized as well. And as introduced in Mario Kart 7, Communities are supported too. You can set them to be public or you can make them private and send a special code for people to enter. Like in the quick match lobbies, the rules can be completely customized. The online mode is very smooth and its definitely an improvement over the online play of Mario Tennis Open, which was often affected by lag.
Mario Golf: World Tour also offers the option of downloadable content. There are three packs that you can download at $5.99 each that contain an extra character and two new courses, which are remakes of courses featured in Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64, with 18 holes each. There’s also a Season Pass available to purchase which gets you all of the DLC packs as they’re released for $14.99, and includes a special exclusive character, Gold Mario. The DLC courses are actually quite fun and have been modified to fit in more with the presentation of this game. These courses also add more challenges to the Challenge Mode as well, so there’s more Star Coins to collect, and they can also be played in certain online modes too. Buying all of the DLC collectively gives you a grand total of 4 new characters and 6 new courses with 108 new holes. If you enjoy the game a lot, then purchasing the DLC is recommended – it adds even more replay value to the game.
Mario Golf: World Tour features solid gameplay, plenty of unlockable content, and online multiplayer support. If you’ve enjoyed past entires in the series, it’s a great addition to your 3DS game library. And if you’ve never played a prior game in the series, this is certainly a great starting point.
+ Multiple single and multiplayer modes
+ Online multiplayer and tournaments
+ Plenty of replay value
– Castle Club mode isn’t as engaging as the rest of the game
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5