Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 05/02/14 | Genre: Sports
There is something about Nintendo's games that look visually beautiful. Like I mentioned in my review for Kirby Triple Deluxe, Nintendo has a way of making the use of 3D a must in their games. While I wouldn't say having 3D on for this game adds to the experience, it definitely brings depth to every shot and putt you do in the game.
Mario Golf World Tour has two major game modes: Quick Round and Castle Club. Quick Round allows you jump right into a game of regular golf, Match Play, Speed Golf and Point Tourney. Match Play pits you against another Mario character in a race to win holes that is fun and a welcome break from the monotony that can be regular golf. Speed Course is a time-trial game of golf that, for me, is not all that great and quickly forgettable. Point Tourney is a little confusing as you earn points based on your stroke count for each hole, which is basically like regular stroke play but with more points. I found myself switching between Stroke and Match Play the most during breaks of Castle Club.
Each character of Mario Golf World Tour has their own unique stance and way of hitting the ball. Some characters look absolutely adorable playing golf (I'm looking at you Princess Peach and Yoshi) while others are hilarious (there is something about Bowser one-handing a driver club that is pure awesome). Depending on how well you play each course, the character will react accordingly. Mario, for example, when scoring a Birdie, will jump into a super star and run around the green while exclaiming, "WAHOO"! On the flip side, play bad as Bowser and rack up points will result in Bowser looking into the camera as he picks it up and sucker punches it before storming off. It's little touches like this that make Mario Golf World Tour that much more entertaining than regular pro golf simulators.
Another cool perk to the game is the ability to power-up your shots. Sure, you can switch from "Normal" to "Power" shots but in certain modes, you can pick items that supercharge your shots. During my playtime, I picked up an item that turned my ball into a boomerang and gave it a little extra curve to help go around corners. I also picked up a Super Mushroom that made my ball slide backwards after stopping, which hurt me sometimes but made me get near Hole-In-1's a lot on a few courses. The items truly spice up the gameplay and make it that much more entertaining.
Castle Club is essentially Mario Golf's career mode that brings your Mii into the game. You start off with training before being able to compete in one of the three championships in the career. This is where Mario Golf World Tour gets a little convoluted. Upon completing the training course, you're left on your own to find out where things are. I wandered aimlessly for a good 30 minutes trying to find the station that would allow me to customize my Mii's golf equipment. I became confused as I followed, what I thought were correct, directions to more training courses but found myself playing in the actual championship tournaments. The game would do it's players a service by making the map more detailed and perhaps adding a waypoint to guide players to desired locations.
A very rad feature of the game is online tournament play. During the first weekend of the game's release, I played in two tournaments going on for America and one international tournament. While I did not play well enough to make it into the Top 10 of any of the tournaments, I had a blast and the game rewarded for my participation with new golf items. This is a great feature of the game as it made me want to play future tournaments to unlock special Nintendo-themed items. Plus, it doesn't hurt beating my friends scores on a global leaderboard.
The game is currently $29.99 digitally and $34.99 at retail. I personally got the game digitally and used the extra $5 towards the Season Pass for the game, which comes with three different courses that Nintendo will roll out over the summer. An added perk of the Season Pass is the ability to play as Gold Mario. While his play style is not different from regular Mario, he does net the player with an enormous amount of coins. With every swing, the farther the ball travels, the more coins the player racks up. There would be times I found myself racking up 300+ coins in one swing. If you want to unlock all kinds of items for your Mii in Castle Club, this is definitely worth the $15.
Despite the confusing map and unfocused career mode, Mario Golf World Tour is an absolute blast for players of all walks. I have talked plenty on Twitter about my love for this game and to this day, I pick it up and play it for awhile during Animal Crossing breaks.
As I stated before, Mario Golf World Tour is a fantastic game. To not play this game if you're a 3DS/2DS owner is to do yourself a disservice. Nintendo has proven that fans of golf and games that don't play golf can all enjoy a great game of golf when Mario and crew are involved.