Mario Golf World Tour

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Mario Golf: World Tour has been a long time coming. Both the Nintendo DS and the Wii didn’t have a Mario Golf game, but fortunately World Tour is the Mario Golf game I’ve been waiting for with balance, variety, depth and accessibility all rolled into one.

Mario Golf: World Tour Screenshot 1

What You Need to Know

There are two main modes to the game: Mario Golf and Castle Club. Here’s a breakdown of both:

Mario Golf (Quick Round) Mode

In Mario Golf you can choose Single Player, Vs (local multiplayer) or Tournaments (online multiplayer). I was only able to play Single Player but online multiplayer seems to be very baked into things in World Tour. In Mario Golf singleplayer you can choose:

- Stroke Play, the normal golf scoring mechanism.
- Match Play, where you compete to win the most holes.
- Speed Golf, which is all about real time used in a round.
- Point Play, where you rack up points based on your stroke count for each hole.
- Challenges, which are specific goals such as getting your ball through a strategically placed hoop and still getting par, or collecting 100 coins over three holes (where coins are collected by getting your ball near them).

For each mode, you choose your character from a roster of sixteen (plus your Mii), perhaps choose your opponent (and their level), choose your course, set your rules (such as full course or only three, six or nine holes, tee position, strength of the wind and more) and go.

Castle Club Mode

In this mode you always play as your Mii, and the idea is to win the three tournaments on the Club courses. There are also practice areas where you can improve your putting, driving and approach shots, and even some special tutorials where you can learn about how to select shots and account for elevation and slope.

As you play you unlock clothing items in the shop and earn coins to buy them. Some clothing items improve your drive, others increase control and others just look good. They don’t equate to a full RPG mode some were hoping for, but do allow for a bit of customization.

Mario Golf: World Tour Screenshot 7

What’s New?

World Tour really lives up to its Mario name. There are a bunch of courses using the Mario themes, such as Peach Gardens, Yoshi Lake, Wiggler Park, Cheep Cheep Lagoon, and even a Bowser themed one. There are also items like Bullet Bill, mushrooms, ice flowers and the like that turn the perfectly tuned golf mechanics on their head.

Online play is baked into everything – there is a lobby in the Castle Club that allows you to enter tournaments, or you can just play with friends and set your own rules. I wasn’t able to test this because the system wasn’t online ahead of lauch, but it looks quite comprehensive.

What’s the Same?

The essential mechanics remain the same as Toadstool Tour. Tap ‘A’ to start your swing, tap ‘A’ to select the power, then tap ‘A’ or ‘B’ with perfect timing to hit the sweet spot and avoid a slice or pull.

After you hit you can adjust the spin by tapping ‘A’ or ‘B’ again, and different combinations give you topspin, backspin and super versions of both. With these simple mechanics you have incredible control over the shot you make. For even more control you can use the touch screen to choose where on the ball to hit and so adjust the flight path.

You’ll Enjoy Mario Golf World Tour If You Liked…

… Everybody’s Golf. World Tour has less ‘normal’ golf, more crazy mechanics, but will appeal to fans of Sony’s classic golf series.

… Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour. This is the closest in style to World Tour, a good thing in my opinion.

… Mario Golf Advance. The Castle Club makes a comeback in World Tour, but there are less RPG mechanics this time round, which is understandable for a game with lots of online focus.

Mario Golf: World Tour Screenshot 2

What I Liked

- 5.) The colourful design of the Castle Club with its giant mosaic statues and bright tiles makes it a place you just want to walk around to relax between rounds.

- 4.) Impeccable golf mechanics that are easy to grasp but difficult to master as conditions get more difficult and the challenges require near perfect play.

- 3.) Lots of crazy character animations- each character has a specific reaction to birdies, pars, bogeys and double bogeys. Each character also has a different style of stroke and different mechanics in the way their shots fly, too.

- 2.) Pacing. Players who have played a golf game before will quickly get up to speed, but those trying out a golf game for the first time are catered for equally well. There is content for beginners, masters and also content to move you along that continuum.

- 1.) The variety available kept me playing for hours at a time – drifting from the more serious Castle Club courses, to the Mario World courses, to the Challenges, to just walking around Castle Club or trying out the practice challenges, everything is smooth, attractive and relaxing.

Favourite Moment

Like in real golf, the best moments are when your shot goes as planned, and especially when you get an approach shot directly in the hole for an Eagle, or better, a hole-in-one.

Mario Golf: World Tour Screenshot 3

What I Didn’t Like

- 3.) It took me a while to realize there was much more to the Mario Golf section than a ‘quick round’ as the menu item says. In particular, it’s in this section where you earn coins from challenges that unlock more courses. I only noticed this after completing the three Castle Club courses and saw the credits.

- 2.) A lack of eighteen-hole courses. I enjoy the Mario themed courses but I mostly enjoy the full courses, and there are only three of them. Fortunately there are six more available in upcoming downloadable content packs.

- 1.) Customizing your Mii can take a very long time as you only unlock one piece of clothing for every round or challenge you finish. I still haven’t unlocked a set of clubs that will adjust my shot type, for example. This does mean, however, that you will still be unlocking items for a long time.

Least Favourite Moment

When I saw the credits after winning the third course tournament. This only took me about six hours and I was fully expecting at least another course to open up. It also completely belies the incredible wealth of content that the game has hidden away in the Mario Golf (‘Quick Round’) section.

Mario Golf World Tour Review – Launch Trailer

What’s Extra?

Online play, including challenges and tournaments of all sorts. Local multiplayer requires the game on each 3DS system. Lots of (seven) Mario themed nine hole courses which each have ten challenges. A roster of twelve characters to start with four more to unlock as well as star versions of each. Great DLC coming – remakes of Mario Golf 64 courses as well as more characters. I’m hoping we also get courses from the GameCube’s Toadstool Tour.

The Bottom Line

World Tour is the Mario Golf game we’ve been waiting for.

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