Being an absolute newcomer to the golfing video game genre, much less one themed around the world’s favourite Italian plumber, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Mario Golf: World Tour. Thankfully, the simple to grasp controls, colourful courses and unerringly addictive gameplay soon put my mind at ease.
Perhaps the most immediate feature you’ll notice with World Tour is just how pretty it is. The three courses showcased in our preview copy were as varied as they come, with the more traditionally laid out Seaside Course complimented by the quirky lake-peppered sand dunes of Yoshi Lake and the lush swamplands of Wiggler Park. Mario and co are looking dapper too, with sharp character models and colourful environments being some of the best yet seen in a Mario 3DS game. The character roster is as well fleshed out as any Mario game of late, with twelve of the usual suspects like Yoshi, Peach and Bowser playable by default. There are more unconventional characters available to unlock, however, so if you want to hit that par with Paratroopa or score a birdie with Birdo, you’ll need to work for it.
Thankfully, the quality doesn’t let up with the actual golfing itself, with charming gameplay and well paced difficulty curve that eases even the most novice putters into the world of five irons and double bogies. Controls are neatly presented on the touch screen, and a short tutorial from helpful stalwart Toad lays out everything needed to get swinging. From here, more complex features can be dabbled with, including ball spin, drift and even compensating for wind direction, all of which crates a thoroughly enjoyable experience that will have you eagerly vying to be the next goomba-stomping, moustache-sporting Tiger Woods of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Golf enthusiast or not, Mario Golf: World Tour is still a blast, and shows that there is still an abundance of quality left in the Nintendo Mascot’s sports series. Great course design, sharp visuals and the easy to pick up yet hard to master gameplay means that World Tour is shaping up to be a worthy addition to any gamer’s 3DS library.