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Mario Golf: World Tour Review

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On 05/07/2014 at 01:30 PM by Nick DiMola

Nearly a hole in one.

For golf game fans or fans of Mario sports titles.

After Mario Tennis Open, I was a bit weary of the next Mario sports game to hit the 3DS. It looked the part, but it didn’t have the same heart and soul of past entries in the series. Thankfully, Mario Golf: World Tour has restored my faith in the series as it carries that undeniable charm and addictiveness that makes the Mario sports games so enjoyable. However, it’s not without its share of ugly blemishes, namely a thin single player mode that feels like it was chopped in half for the sake of DLC – something I never would’ve expected from Nintendo.

Jumping straight into the experience, amateurs and veterans alike will be forced through training, a practice round of golf, and a handicap tournament; all on the same course. Not to mention, the first proper tournament will also take place on the same greens. It’s an unquestionably tedious way to begin the game, especially if you’ve played a Mario Golf game before, or for that matter any golf game out there. Admittedly, playing on the same hole for three full rounds of golf back-to-back was helpful in nailing down some of the nuance of the gameplay, particularly the putting. However, by the time I finished up my third round of the forest course, I was ready for a change of scenery.

Sadly, the Castle Club tournament only encompasses three courses, which you’ll likely burn through in your first attempt. With DLC on the horizon that will include other 18-hole courses, it feels like they were cut from the initial package in order to provide paid DLC down the line. Even more jarring is that the majority of the content isn’t encompassed within the bustling walls of the Castle Club, but rather in the Quick Play option on the main menu.

Under Quick Play you’ll find a set of challenges which will unlock the majority of the content in the game, specifically Mario-themed courses and characters. Despite it feeling odd that these challenges not be more prominently featured in the Castle Club mode, they provide for a great bit of fun. Each course in the game offers up ten challenges (adding up to 100 total) that range from collecting a star coin out on the course, to speed golfing, to head-to-head face-offs with Mario characters. 

It’s incredible how changing a single variable completely morphs the golf experience. An early challenge tasks you with completing three holes on the Forest course in 130 seconds. As most know, Golf is a sport of precision where every stroke counts. So completing three holes quickly is counter-intuitive to your modus operandi of meticulously lining up the perfect shot. The same goes for collecting coins off the critical path to the hole. Between figuring out how to reach the coin while not positioning yourself in an unwinnable spot and actually nailing the shot as you planned it, it’s a totally different experience.

Believe it or not, one of the main experiences of Mario Golf: World Tour is its online mode. Rather than being offered as an ancillary mode that was an afterthought to the single player challenges, it’s a core component of the experience and it’s one that most players will want to dive into.

Right on the main menu, you’ll get a clear shot of the running tournaments and when they’re set to end, which makes it easy to jump right into a regional or global competition to earn gear, coins, and acclaim. Ghost data will show you other players playing through while you’re on the greens, which is a neat little feature that helps bring the asynchronous mode to life. Even better, you can open up your own private tournaments to play specifically with your friends. The mode allows you to customize all of the variables of the tournament, as well as the course you play on, making it extremely inviting. Its asynchronous nature makes it accessible as well, allowing friends to compete in the tournament when they have time, eliminating the need to coordinate play times.

While it does feel like Nintendo held back single player content to push DLC packs, the core of Mario Golf: World Tour is absolutely fantastic. The tried-and-true golf mechanics of the series are perfectly intact, offering the same accessibility for newbies with the necessary depth for veterans. There’s little question that Mario Golf will see continued play time on my 3DS going forward, especially as Nintendo continues to drop content and tournaments.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




05/07/2014 at 07:57 PM

I enjoyed the demo. Sounds like something I might buy eventually.


05/07/2014 at 08:34 PM

Not that I really know anything.  I will say that it is nice that Nintendo is selling the game at a lower price point.  The game with DLC only amounts to $45, which seems pretty reasonable to me.

Nick DiMola Director

05/07/2014 at 09:06 PM

It definitely helps that Nintendo is selling the game a little cheaper, but the actual product does feel like it's missing something without that content in there. It's not the end of the world, and quite frankly, if all of the DLC was on the cart from the get-go,  I probably would've awarded the game an extra half star at most.

Regardless of that particular facet of the game, it's still a great title and a worthy purchase. Despite my complaints, I'll probably take the plunge on the DLC because I'm sure it's worth it.

Cary Woodham

05/08/2014 at 05:58 AM

I liked the GameCube Mario Golf game so much, that's why I decided to buy the 3DS game.  I haven't played it, yet, though, because I'm too busy enjoying Kirby Triple Deluxe and reviewing Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends.  But I'll get to it eventually.  Speaking of golf, I just wrote a golf related blog if you're interested in reading it.

Nick DiMola Director

05/08/2014 at 02:16 PM

Great blog! Definitely love some of your picks as well. Also, Kirby Triple Deluxe really is great. I'm also playing that and enjoying it quite a bit so far.

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