Birdies, bogies and Boo.
Golf games tend to relatively slow and relaxing in comparison to most other video games. Much like the real sport, playing a few holes in virtual Golf can be an enjoyable experience, at least for those who want the slower pace. Fans of the sport will pretty much know what to expect from a Golf video game.
However, once you throw in Mario and co., the game will instantly appeal to a much wider audience, especially as Mario Golf: World Tour is available on the mighty Nintendo handheld, the 3DS. The game of Golf lends itself perfectly to portable play, and by setting the game around everyone’s favorite plumber and all of the associated weirdness, Nintendo are sure to be onto a winner.
It has been quite a while since the last Mario Golf game, which is nothing unusual for Nintendo who seem to take ages to do anything. However, with World Tour finally here, golfing fans and residents of the Mushroom Kingdom can spend some of their downtime hitting a little ball around all manner of different courses.
Mario Golf: World Tour manages to offer a golfing experience that will appeal to both the lovers of simulation and those who want a more arcade-style game. The basics are as simple as they can be and will be recognizable to most gamers who have played a golfing game before. Aim the ball and then hit the button, hit it again to dictate the strength, and then once more for the accuracy with a little marker moving along a meter to show the sweetspots. Nice and easy.
Things get more complicated when you start taking into consideration the effects of the wind on your ball, changing clubs, adjusting how you hit the ball to include topspin or backspin, or dealing with on course hazards or taking risks to get that little bit closer to the green.
And once you are on the green, there is a certain amount of skill required to get the little ball in the hole. There is only a two button press required to determine the strength of the hit, and players will have to take into account the sloping of the green and the curve of the balls path. It is something that comes with experience, and veteran golf game players will feel right at home.
So far, so Golf. But this being Nintendo, things are going to get a little strange. Power shots are available in limited supply, should you need that extra distance, and there are all manner of different special items that can tweak the gameplay and make it a bit more interesting, if that is what you are looking for. The courses themselves range from your very standard three, four or five par, to the much more lively fantasy courses which give a much less serious, more crazy gold feel to the proceedings.
There is also DLC available, and a Season Pass which is unusual for Nintendo, offering more courses, some classic and some new, once the player gets bored of wandering the same fairways. Considering World Tour is not short of courses to begin with, I am quite pleased with the additional content.
Mario Golf: World Tour is not short of ways to play either. The main campaign, Castle Club, is unfortunately quite short, with only three trophies available. However, the single player can also dive straight into quick rounds for that instant golfing fix, or they can try something a bit quirky by diving into the challenges for some arcade fun.
Being able to take the game online is a real draw for World Tour, allowing players to match off against all manner of different players around the world in different modes. The player can face another player in a simple match, or jump into all manner of tournaments, both run by Nintendo themselves or private and community tournaments. You can even set up your own tournament with your own rules and decide who can enter. There is certainly not a shortage of ways to play or people to play with.
So, while the core golf game is nothing particularly new to videogames, the content and online features are impressive. The campaign is shorter than I would have liked, but Nintendo have really tried to make Mario Golf: World Tour all about the online game, and it works really well. For some portable golfing fun that will last for ages, Mario and his buddies have managed a hole in one.