It’s been a long, long time since Mario Golf appeared on the Nintendo home console. Fans received a portable Nintendo 3DS install in 2014, but the last proper console version was in 2003. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the Nintendo GameCube. In a word, that means the franchise has missed out on Nintendo’s motion control era entirely in its nearly 20-year absence.
Considering the distance, Mario Golf: Super Rush there is a lot of time lost to make up. The developers at Camelot seem to have met that challenge with what looks like a pretty robust sports game that balances traditional golf, RPG gameplay, and some innovative new topspins on an established format. establish.
During an hour-long preview event, Nintendo shed more light on how all three of those components work. Hitherto, Mario Golf: Super Rush it looks like it fits the line between colorful chaos and straight-laced sports simulation.
Par for the course
When it comes to the basics, Mario Golf: Super Rush not too different from its predecessors: Players will attempt to time it accurately with a few button presses to fill up the power meter and smash a golf ball. The biggest change here is the addition of motion controls, which can be used in place of traditional button presses. Unlike Camelot Mario Tennis Aces, motion control can be used in any mode, online and offline.
There are a lot of customizations when it comes to setting up a round of golf. Players can choose between six 18-hole courses, which are unlocked as they progress. Those who don’t want to play a full game can reduce the number of holes or change which hole they start from. Instead, players who don’t want to start on hole one can set up a three-hole game starting on the seventh hole.
A useful little addition is the “all at once” option that allows players to tee off at the same time. That means no more sitting around watching computer players make their shots. That option can be selected in both local and online play, though it won’t work with more than two players on a single console.
Such small quality-of-life changes play out throughout the game in subtle ways. For example, it has an entire glossary of golf terms that define everything from club type to technique. Whether the player is a golf fanatic or a complete novice, Super Rush looks like an experience built to suit both levels of expertise.
If those new features sound small, Mario Golf: Super Rush also has some much larger features. The most exciting addition is a full-blown adventure mode that leans heavily on the series’ RPG roots. Players create a Mii golfer, exploring at least six worlds full of quests, story cutscenes, and characters.
The demo shows two specific parts of the game, giving a sense of variety. The first part featured Mii walking around a quaint little town, called “the birthplace of golf in the Mushroom Kingdom” (a silly sentence, I burst out laughing when I heard it). Players can chat with NPCs like Birdo or stop by to try out some training exercises.
The second paragraph is a bit more out there. I saw a Mii golfer wandering around a stormy, spooky course and completing tests, like hitting balls through a wall of water.
That part culminates in something particularly surprising for a golf game: Boss hitting. A giant statue comes to life and begins to attack electricity. The Mii character runs around and dodges incoming shots, which drains their stamina meter. The final boss starts charging a large ball of lightning and Mii gets into a golf stance. With a bit of perfect timing, he tosses a golf ball into the attack, sending it back to the statue. After three hits, the boss is defeated, and Mii gains a lightning sword that can summon storms (thunder is a weather condition that can affect hits, along with wind and rain).
That’s the level of weirdness that fans can expect from adventure mode. It is also packed with surprisingly deep RPG mechanics. I noticed a level 71 Mii on the demo’s character selection screen, so there’s a lot of work to do. Every time a player levels up, they’ll be able to allocate one stat point to anything from stamina to spin. Players can also equip clothes or clubs with specific perks. Judging from a small chunk of the game, fans can expect a strong single-player campaign.
Race to the finish line
The final piece of the puzzle is Speed Golf, the game’s brand new multiplayer mode. Similar to indie hits Play golf with your friends, which is a mode where up to four players shoot at the same time and race to the hole. They can choose the high score or the best time option to determine how the mode is scored.
Speed Golf looks like a clever multiplayer chaos where friends can mess with each other by rushing each other or launching special shots that disrupt the course. At one point, Luigi hits his special punch around the hole, dropping a large icy circle around it. That made it difficult for the other three players to get the ball in.
Ironically, the free movement in this mode is a bit slow. Power figures like King Bob-omb really seem to be trudging forward at a snail’s pace. The player can dash forward a bit, but that will consume some stamina, which will refresh over time. What hasn’t been seen is how that balance works with Mii characters transitioning from adventure mode. Why not use a level 99 Mii character with more top speed than Mario? We’ll have to wait and see how that works out in the final version.
Beyond Nitpicks, Speed Golf is just one of many ways Camelot has created a Mario Golf game that seems to have a little bit of everything. Those who just want the casual golf experience can play 18 clean holes, while those who just want to play one game will have a full-fledged RPG to tackle. Creative multiplayer looks like a fun family game, and Nintendo can score an eagle in this game.