God, I sound so… generic.
Well, I don’t mean me, exactly, but rather the golfer based on the Mii I created in Mario Golf: World Tour. He putts and drives his way through the fanciful, cartoonish courses in the game, and every time he gets a birdie or fails to nail a shot, his goofy little voice emotes his happiness or displeasure. And for a game set in a universe with floating coins and giant mushrooms, it just sounds so, well, average.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Mario Golf: World Tour is a solid golf game, featuring all the hot golfing action you’d come to expect from the series, plus a few surprises. But it feels safe, sterile, devoid of personality – just like my golfer’s boring voice.
Mario Golf: World Tour features two main modes of play: Mario Golf and Castle Club. Mario Golf lets you play a quick round of golf, either solo or online with friends. You can choose from any of the courses or challenges you’ve unlocked, and you can earn Star Coins to earn more.
Castle Club is a much larger experience, and the closest the series has gotten to recreating the sublime golf/RPG mode of the Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf. Here, you’ll play as your own Mii, interact with the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, compete in tournaments, and unlock new gear to improve your golfer. It’s not nearly as deep as that GBC game (you won’t earn experience points and organically improve your golfer as you play), but it’s a welcome addition after years of Mario Golf games missing a similar adventure mode.
The actual act of golfing remains the same as ever, but additional control schemes have been added to make the experience much more friendly for newcomers. Pressing A (or tapping the touchscreen) will start up a power meter – hitting it at the right spot will tell your golfer to smack that ball as far as you like. If you’re playing on Novice mode, that’s all you have to worry about, and Mario Golf will handle the rest. On Advanced mode, you can determine whether your shot fades or slices, and you can choose where you’d like to hit the ball, giving it top or backspin. Either option is totally viable, and I spent most of the game playing on Novice mode, staying competitive while only having to worry about my power and shot placement. Plus, various grids, camera angles, and distance sliders help golfers make the most of their shot. Golfing is fun, and mastering each course can provide hours of fun.
There are only 3 full 18-hole courses, which is a bit odd, and seems like Mario Golf: World Tour is sorely lacking in content. But, these three main courses are rounded out by several other, smaller 9-hole courses that offer much more variation in how you play – featuring items, boost pads that zip your golf ball forward if you land on it, coins to collect, and the Mario-themed whimsy that seems sorely lacking from the main championship courses. Plus, with dozens of challenges to complete, and online competitions to take part in, there’s plenty of content here, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance.
With 126 different holes over several courses, tons of items to unlock, and gratifying golfing gameplay, Mario Golf: World Tour is a solid entry in the franchise. But it does nothing new or exciting – it’s simply more, on a portable device. If you’re looking for an entertaining and accessible golf game with some Mario characters for good measure, Mario Golf is for you. Just don’t expect to be wowed.