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Mario Golf: World Tour – Nintendo 3DS

Mario Golf: World Tour – Nintendo 3DS

box art 2Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Developer: Camelot Software Planning

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date: May 2, 2014

Genre: Sports (Golf)

Nerd Rating: 4.5/10

Reviewed by Steroid Gamer

It may be the middle of winter, but thanks to Nintendo you don’t have to worry about the blizzards and snowstorms preventing you from playing your favorite summer pastime, golf.  Mario Golf: World Tour is the latest game in the Mario golf franchise.  This time around you can take the game of golf anywhere you go with the convenience of the platform, Nintendo 3DS.  There is a lot of content and things to do in World Tour and Nintendo doesn’t hold back on ideas, or ingenuity in adding twists and variables to the normally recognizable game of golf.

I wish stars shot out of my golf ball like that.

I wish stars shot out of my golf ball like that.

Mario Golf: World Tour can be divided up into two modes; Castle Club and Quick Play.  Castle Club is the closest thing to a “campaign/story” mode having you control your Mii character as you play through four different club courses.  Each of the four courses are 18 holes (the standard in golf, but all the other courses in the game are sadly, 9-hole courses) and your goal is to enter the tournament for each course and capture the Gold trophy.  Running around as a Mii felt a little pointless though and made Mario Golf feel more like an extended version of Wii Sports.  I came into World Tour wanting to play as my favorite Nintendo characters and have crazy twist and items added to the game of golf, similar to how Mario Kart adds bananas and Koopa shells to an otherwise mundane racing game.  Sadly, Castle Club is more of a realistic golf-sim, something that becomes a reoccurring theme in World Tour.

There are dozens upon dozens of items for you to buy/unlock for you Mii.  Some of which will add bonuses to your character like drive distance, or curve speed of the ball, while others are purely cosmetic.  Ever wanted to dress up in golf clothes that look like the Nintendo GameCube? How about a SNES themed outfit?  Well, you’re in luck because all of the hats, gloves, polos, and khaki shorts are themed to Nintendo’s many mascots and consoles.  Having a bunch of unlockables is great, but at the same time since World Tour is basically a single player game and nobody is going to see your fashionable style, there isn’t much of a purpose behind the clothing unless you’re a shopaholic.

Buy yourself some new digs!

Buy yourself some new digs!

After you’ve got your Mii all dressed up and start entering tournaments is when World Tour becomes one hell of a frustrating game.  It’s been a really long time since I last “rage quit-ed” a game, but World Tour made me do so more than once.  The mechanics behind the gameplay design are too good, and I mean that in a bad way.  They are too good in a sense that they are extremely realistic and make Mario Golf a little too close to the real-life game.  If you’ve ever played golf outside of the digital world you’ll sympathize with many golfers on how frustrating the sport can be a times.  Need to hit that putt just right?  Ouch, over shot it.  2 over par.  Need to get out of that bunker and land on the green?  Well, you hit it too soft.  Now you’re screwed.  The game of golf is extremely hard and I’ve always admired some of the professional golfers out there who can line up the perfect shot at the perfect time.

Peach Gardens is one of the more colorful courses.

Peach Gardens is one of the more colorful courses.

Much to Mario Golf’s dismay the game is too realistic.  Often times I would line my shot up perfectly, according to the game’s various meters – which ranged from distance your ball would travel, how high it would fly, how much it would roll, etc – and the ball would do the exact opposite! I realize the game of golf shouldn’t come down to just lining up the shot perfectly and the ball behaving the exact way the screen indicates 100% of the time.  But too often my ball would roll too far, or too short, swing too much to the left, or skip to high.  Despite playing through all the game’s tutorials, which aren’t very helpful as they are basically “target practice” jobs and don’t teach you how to play the game, my varied approaches at mastering this game never helped.  The end result was my many, many failures at earning a gold trophy in the four tournaments.  Add in that the CPU players are automated and you can’t “see” them hit on any of the holes and it feels like the game is constantly adjusting to purposefully make you lose.  One match on Seaside Course may have Mario in the top spot with -3 under par.  So, you come in at par, thus losing, and try your best to beat Mario’s score on your next outing.  All throughout the first 17 holes you are ahead of Mario by 2 strokes.  Then, somehow, magically Mario get’s a hole in one on the last hole and beats you by 1 stroke!  Plain and simple it feels very cheap.

The on screen HUD isn't always helpful.

The on screen HUD isn’t always helpful.

After you get tired of losing in Castle Club you can head over to Quick Play mode.  Quick Play is filled to the green with content.  There are six different 9-hole courses and each one has different “star” challenges to partake in.  Challenges consist of a variety of objectives like collecting 100 coins with limited strokes, using a set of random golf clubs on the hole, or collecting the hole’s power stars without going over par.  At first, these challenges are pretty fun and you get to play as one of seventeen different Nintendo characters such as Peach, Yoshi, and Mario among others.  Each of the characters have their own quirky little animation that comes with each swing and the characters have different strengths and weakness with their golf game.  This presents two big problems.  The first is that the challenges don’t change on each new course; instead the same challenges are repeated.  Sure, the course is new which adds some variety to the challenge and the new aesthetics are a welcome addition, but the overall goal remains the same.  These “star” challenges quickly overstay their welcome.  It’s not really fun to try and get under par with a random set of clubs on six different courses.

Chilling inside the Castle Club.

Chilling inside the Castle Club.

Mario Golf: World Tour also struggles with buried content.  So much of the game’s courses, modes, characters, and equipment are locked deep within the game.  I had to earn thirty-five star coins just to unlock all of the different golf courses.  A great sense of progression is what helps many games succeed at giving a player reason(s) to continue on with the game.  I can’t count how many times I almost gave up on this game because it was taking so damn long to unlock all the playable modes, and on top of that most of them were repeated on each course!

If Mario Golf: World Tour hasn’t made you pull your hair out yet, then you can always hop online and enter a tournament against other players in the world.  You earn some sort of a reward based on where you place in the tournament, usually in the form of coins, which you can use to buy more clothes!!  The online tournaments are fun at first, and Nintendo is still doing a good job of rotating them out every few weeks, but you’ll quickly find out that only the best of the best earn a reward.  I was never good enough to finish in one of the top spots.  Also, you don’t actually get to play “against” anybody in a head-to-head matchup online, so World Tour becomes a very heavy single player based experience.

Quick Play let's you use items on the golf course, which can be quite useful.

Quick Play let’s you use items on the golf course, which can be quite useful.

Mario Golf: World Tour is one of the more frustrating games I’ve played in a long time and it’s also one of the harder ones to give a “score” to.  On one hand, the game is filled with content and provides dozens of new twists and turns to the game of golf, but most of that is buried and locked away.  You’re going to have to spend a ton of time with World Tour to see everything it has to offer.  On the other hand, you’ve got a golf game that feels way too realistic.  Despite what the on screen indicators tell you the golf ball often has a mind of its own and goes in an unforeseen direction.  The game of golf is very tricky and takes an insurmountable amount of skill, but Nintendo got carried away with that principle in World Tour and leaves you feeling more pissed off than Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack.  I can’t deny Mario Golf: World Tour having a ton of content, or that it is an accurate golf-sim.  What I can tell you is that World Tour lacks the charm and fun that comes with most of Nintendo’s sports titles, and is bound to give you an aneurism.  Do yourself a favor.  If you get the urge to play a round on the golf course grab a few friends and go play the sport in the real world for an afternoon.  Your time will be better spent without this sub-par golf game (pun intended).


Written by Sean Collins

Sean Collins

Sean Collins (aka Steroid Gamer) started playing video games when he was 8 years old. His first console was a Nintendo 64 and his first game was Mario Kart 64. He fell in love immediately and has been playing games ever since.

My current systems include; N64, Gameboy Color, Gamecube, Wii, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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  1. That’s a shame. This game looks pretty and based on the box art or any online trailers, there’s no reason to think this game wouldn’t be awesome and cooky.

  2. Totally agree with how realistic / frustrating this game can be! I generally enjoy Mario’s ventures into the world of sports (well, aside from STRIKERS…shudder…). They’re easy but fun and the Mario-verse has it’s own fun laws of physics. Toadstool Tour (Mario’s golf game for the GC) is one of my favorite Mario sports titles of all. I picked up World Tour back when it came out and played it for several hours and pretty much ran through your thoughts verbatim. LOOKS like Mario, FEELS like an honest to goodness golfing sim. I guess it’s admirable that they took such care with the game, but it certainly doesn’t fall into that carefree nature that Mario is typically known to inject into the wide world of sports.


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