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Mario Golf: World Tour Hands-on Preview

by Daan Koopman - April 14, 2014, 3:52 pm EDT
Total comments: 3

After spending several hours with golf clubs, we collected our thoughts in this extended preview.

Let's cut to chase: Mario Tennis Open was somewhat of a disappointing game. With its limited amount of content, this Camelot-developed sports game was not exactly the prime example of the Nintendo 3DS' big library of software. There were some tournaments and costumes to unlock for your Mii, but the experience didn't last forever. When Mario Golf: World Tour was announced, I was both skeptical and interested in how it would pan out. After spending some time with World Tour, I found that both my interest and also concerns were justified. Mario Golf is shaping to be better than Mario Tennis Open, but some of those concerns persist.

If you've never played a Mario Golf before, you're in for quite a treat. The traditional multi-tap power bar in the game allows you to decide how far and where exactly you want to want to shoot. You can also use topspin and backspin by executing simple button combos or the touch screen. Once you master the mechanics and also other challenges such as weather effects, you'll be lighting up the score board quickly. If you are a beginner, though, and find the various systems and controls somewhat frustrating, then you can choose to automate some of the swing mechanic. Admittedly, I don't find this as satisfying.


There weren't any chances to test the multiplayer functions, so information on that will follow at a later date. The single-player side has been my focus so far. I'll start with the new Castle Club Mode, since that has been shrouded in mystery to a degree. If you are expecting a role-playing ordeal, then you're going to be disappointed. Castle Club can be more seen as a general hub for your Mii character in which you can walk around and do some occasional challenges. There are tournaments you can tackle, but the amount is rather limited since there are just three of them with 18 holes each. In addition, there are the various shot challenges that will test strengths such as shooting, approaching, and putting. These will come all together in the form of special challenges on the Mario-themed courses, where you can win a special costume that is only obtainable there.

After you tire of playing golf, you can talk to the various characters for some tips and tricks. While you are going around, you can hop on by the Boutique and treat yourself to some nice gear. Throughout, you unlock new pieces of clothing, balls, clubs, and the coins needed to purchase them. Ultimately, these items will decide how far you can swing, the sweet spot on the power meter, and the amount control you have over the ball. These adjustments really come in handy as you progress through the game.


Beyond the Castle Club, there is also the Mario Golf mode that offers various options. You can go for regular Stroke Play to net yourself the best score, Match Play to test your skills against a computer opponent, Speed Golf in which you rapidly finish golf holes for the best possible time, or Point Play in which you can get points based on your stroke count. These modes are customizable: for example, you can choose to shuffle holes, or choose the amount of holes you want to play. You can also decide to activate Coins, Items, and Club Slots. Items come in all sorts of varieties like the Bullet Bill that allows you to shoot in a straight line, the boomerang which makes shooting to a certain angle easier, or even the Fire Flower which will burn high grass to a crisp. With Club Slots, you will have to spin a wheel at the start of the round, creating a roulette wheel with the three clubs you'll be given to play with. All of these little touches add a lot to the game ensuring even a quick round can be a unique one.

The Mario-themed courses are unlocked through the Mario Golf mode. In this mode, you find a full-featured challenge mode with 10 challenges per course. These challenges include hitting the ball through rings, collecting a certain amount of coins, going for a certain stroke score, completing Point Challenges by using the Club Slots feature, and duking it out against computer opponents. By finishing off these CPU-controlled players, you unlock the Star version of that character. These come in handy as you continue your conquest through the Mario Golf mode, as you will be able to use other characters aside from your Mii. Daisy's Star option is quite a catch early on since her drive is very powerful. By completing challenges in groups of seven, the special nine-hole courses will unlock throughout your ventures. It's also an exciting way to easily unlock additional items in the Boutique.


The courses have a nice amount of variety. First, the Castle Club courses are easier to teach players the ropes. There are grassy environments in the Forest Course, and also green roads and some bunkers. The Seaside Course adds a tropical flavor, while things become rougher at the end with the Mountain Course. Each of these courses are all lovely in their own right, but they merely set the stage for what's next.

The Mario World Courses are filled with entertaining details and obstacles, making for some cool moments. I want to highlight a few examples here. In Peach Gardens, you golf outside of Peach's Castle. The actual holes are painted pink, and there are heart-shaped booster pads that push you forward. Yoshi Lake has more of a brown complexion, containing small ponds of water in which you can fall into without harm. There are also bouncy blocks all over the place. Wiggler Park makes you as small as an ant, and has you deal with big Koopa Troopas, Goombas and Wigglers who will stop at nothing to disrupt your shot. The final one I can mention is Cheep Cheep Lagoon, an underwater stage (a first for this series, I believe). Golfing under the sea proves adds a new dimension, and is more challenging as there are new meter distances that you will have to check. On the ground, the ball can go a bit more sluggish, similar to the rain effects on other courses. If you overlook the water effects, it can cost you.


The game looks sharp on the Nintendo 3DS with colorful visuals and crisp textures, bringing the world to life very vividly. Even better, the game truly shines with the 3D visuals enabled. The music is blissful, as upbeat and cheerful tunes blast through the system's speakers. Remixes of the various Mario songs are particularly well done and will have you humming along.

Mario Golf: World Tour is shaping up to be a solid game. While I wish that the Castle Club mode was grander, I am still having a blast with what the game has to offer. The Mario Golf mode still offers a lot of options that can deliver quick fun. While I have still some concerns, the game shines brighter than Mario Tennis Open in its opening act, which is a sign of good things to come.


PhilPhillip Stortzum, April 14, 2014

"This Mario Golf is shaping to be better than Mario Tennis Open though there are still things that raise questions."

This worried me. I was expecting something that would really sour the experience, but it doesn't look like there's really anything to worry about. I didn't think the solo mode was RPG-like, so that doesn't disappoint me.

I am really excited for this game, and it comes out in less than three weeks along with Kirby! I'm going to veg so hard when these games come out. :)

Thanks for the detailed hands-on, Daan. The Mario courses sound really great. Are the vanilla courses really just called Forest Course, Seaside Course, and Mountain Course? That's pretty unimaginative. hehe

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterApril 15, 2014

Ok I'm excited again. Mario Tennis Open really put me off of what ever Camelot was up to. Now though I think I'm ready to purchase from them again.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, April 15, 2014

The full roster was revealed in Famitsu this week, so be wary of "spoilers" if you care about that sort of thing in a golf game.

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Game Profile

Mario Golf: World Tour Box Art

Genre Sports
Developer Camelot Software Planning

Worldwide Releases

na: Mario Golf: World Tour
Release May 02, 2014
jpn: Mario Golf: World Tour
Release May 01, 2014
RatingAll Ages
eu: Mario Golf: World Tour
Release May 02, 2014
aus: Mario Golf: World Tour
Release May 03, 2014
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