World Tour Offers a Happy Return to Mario Golf

Afternoon delight.

by

Mario Golf finds itself in a unique position among Nintendo's franchises. The rhythmic way you swing a club so expertly melds mechanical simplicity with strategic complexity that there's no way to improve on your basic interaction. At least, if there is a more interesting approach to digital golfing, I haven't found it. So how could Mario Golf hope to evolve if it's continually trotting out the same basic premise? Well, that's the beauty of this inventive series. Instead of leading to the malaise of repetition, each new entry returns me to a familiar and wonderful place. Mario Golf: World Tour picks up where we last left the Mushroom Kingdom crew, and I couldn't be happier.

Golfing is a perfect fit for a handheld. I spent hours playing Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational on the Vita because it's easy to play a couple of holes during a free moment, yet the game has enough depth that I didn't feel ashamed when those moments turned to hours. Mario Golf: World Tour taps into a similar state of mind. Within seconds of picking up the 3DS, I was transported to the cheery greens, happily pressing once for power, and again for accuracy, and crossing my fingers that my aim was true. Once on the green, I would stare at the lines pointing out the slopes and hope against hope that I could make it to the hole in one glorious stroke. It's so peaceful that I wanted nothing more than to take in a round or two, even though my frequent mistakes could only make me cry in frustration.

World Tour splits its time between the reality of our world and the reality that Mario's friends inhabit. There are standard courses that have fairways, bunkers, roughs, and whatever else you would expect to find on a golf course. And then there are courses that have a cartoonish twist on those tried-and-true elements. A well-placed shot off the tee in a Peach-themed course will place your ball on a speed pad, which zips it further down the fairway. Rings of coins form perfect targets in the air, and if you collect enough, there are goodies in the shops to play around with. There are item boxes on the court that can really help in a pinch. Just use a bullet bill to fight against a strong wind, or a mushroom to get an extra burst.

What would a Mario sports game be without the characters we know and love? Mario, Luigi, and Peach join Boo, Walugi, and Bowser Jr., or you could be Diddy Kong if you'd rather play as someone who's not typically part of the Mario universe. If none of those characters strike your fancy, you can use your Mii avatar. In Castle Club mode, you upgrade your Mii as you work your way through the ranks. When you triumph over your competitors, you earn coins, and then you can splurge in the shop to upgrade your abilities. Such a mode could certainly suck up a lot of my time, and it seems like the course design is strong enough to keep me coming back for one more hole.

World Tour is exactly what you'd expect from a new Mario Golf game. And it shows that sometimes it's nice to have an unchanging, predictable franchise to rely on. Digital golfing is like a comfort food, so I'm glad that the core mechanics haven't been tampered with, and there are enough tweaks to the window dressing that I'm excited to explore the many courses and raid the golf shop. It's just a shame we have to wait until May for the final release. Now that I've gotten a taste of four-player, simultaneous golfing, I want to challenge all of my coworkers to a match. If only patience were a virtue that I had.

Discussion

32 comments
Takeno456
Takeno456

I loved Toadstool Tour, I cannot wait for this game!

PurpleMan5000
PurpleMan5000

I just don't understand why this game is on the 3DS instead of the Wii U. It would be a whole lot better using Wii Motion+ controls.

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

Tom McShea is praising something? My god, it must have gold soldered into the cartridge. I do tend to like the Mario sports games. Nothing has quite topped Mario Power Tennis(GC) for me. That game is fantastic.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

I really enjoy most of the Mario Sports games and the only 2 Mario Sports game I love to play are Mario Golf and Tennis. I find Mario Golf so much fun the the real golf games like Tiger Woods. I never like Tiger Woods games anyway so Mario Golf it is for me.

Mariofan15
Mariofan15

Nice. Glad to see they took there time with this game and actually bothered to make it good compared to the garbage that was Mario Tennis Open.

wEEman33
wEEman33

Not Mario Hockey, don't care.

schu
schu

Where is the Wii U version?  the Gamecube version was best so far..

n0xinab0x
n0xinab0x

I hate golf, but It's hell of a lot more fun with Nintendo characters.

chadwick1343
chadwick1343

Uhh, so does it have any RPG like play like the GBC original? Or is this just the same ol' Mario golf we've been getting since N64?

devilzzz1983
devilzzz1983

Uhhhhhmmmmm no mention of online play with stat tracking ....

I wanted this game one day to have tours people could play in for a month or whatever and numerous stats to be tracked for the tour and for all time play.  Seriously Nintendo can you deliver this with an excellent online experience?  Please don't fail me but based on what I am seeing in this article I think you will.

freedom01
freedom01 moderator

I really enjoyed all of Mario's sports series especially Tennis, I will keep an eye on this

gannon27
gannon27

Yay! I was hoping this would come out on the 3DS. Roll on May.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

@PurpleMan5000  No, it wouldn't. I think motion controls would make this game absolutely terrible. I for one would prefer to not be reminded not only how terrible my golf swing is when using a motion controller, but I also prefer to not make that swing even worse by trying to perfect an imperfect golf swing using the imperfect "golf club" that is the Wii Motion Plus controller. When it comes to golf, the best way to improve your swing is to practice by swinging an actual club, and that is NOT going to happen using a Nintendo controller.


I should also state that I like motion controls when they are implemented well, but I just don't think it would work well at all for a Mario Golf game. I want to have fun and feel like I am awesome when I play (which is how I feel when I've played the past MG games), and not get frustrated and be reminded how terrible I am.


Also, the install base of the 3DS is much larger than the Wii U, so Nintendo potentially stands to make a lot more money on a 3DS release of Mario Golf than a Wii U release.


Lastly, I find the handheld Mario Golf games extremely enjoyable, and I'll be glad to take this new game with me wherever I go.

Silverline62
Silverline62

@Random_Matt  Believe what you want to believe to make you feel better. No one cares, not even your mother.

Random_Matt
Random_Matt

@Mariofan15  Good? You have never played it, oh wait, Tom McShea said it was good, has to be right? 

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

@schu  However, I'd love to see a Wii U version as long as they didn't implement motion controls or at least let you play without them. 

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

@schu  Although I loved the Gamecube version, I have really enjoyed the handhelds. So nice to be able to take them with you wherever you go.

gannon27
gannon27

@schu Gotta agree with you there. Can't remember how many times I carted the Gamecube over to friends places for a round. The Gamecube was so good for transport, it even had a handle. :)

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

@chadwick1343  He said in the article that in Castle Club mode you can upgrade your Mii as you rise through the ranks. Sounds RPG-ish to me. Actually, it sounds a lot like either the GameBoy Color or GBA version. I can't remember which one. 

gannon27
gannon27

@devilzzz1983 Great Idea. That would really boost the game. Let's hope they implement it.

teknic1200
teknic1200

@FLEEBS  you've never played wii sports golf then.



 I hit 90-100s on the course and golf often.  wii sports resort birdy is the new par.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

@teknic1200 @FLEEBS  Indeed, I have played Wii Sports Golf, and that's why I said what I said. I admittedly have had some fun with that game, but it's overall not very accurate to real life. I personally have had way more fun playing Mario Golf games than I ever had playing Wii Sports Golf, and I don't want the same kind of experience in the new Mario Golf as in Wii Sports Golf. 


I just don't think motion controls will help a person much to be a better golfer, or much better at swinging a golf club. In some ways, maybe, but nothing compares to the weight and balance of an actual golf club. It's also one thing to be able to swing a club, but you also have to hit the ball, and that's not at all possible to recreate with a six inch controller and no ball.


I said above that I thought motion controls would make the new Mario Golf absolutely terrible, but maybe that's a little extreme. I just think motion controls would make the Mario Golf experience worse, or not near as good as, a traditional controller on home console or handheld. 


I feel motion controls would take away from the fun of the past games. Mario Golf is not meant to be a simulator, but arcade style fun.