I have always had a strange fascination for golf, and that despite the fact that the only golf game I have really gotten into is the good, old Disney Golf on PlayStation 2. That game, on the other hand, was one of my absolute favorite games in my childhood, and it’s a game I often return to and rejoice in even today – it holds up so incredibly well.
I have long envisioned Mario Golf as much of the same wool, and I therefore had high hopes for Mario Golf: Super Rush when it was announced earlier this year. Unfortunately, Nintendo hits a little over par this time, and although there are many good ideas and a competent golf game at the bottom, there is a real lack of commitment.
There’s not much to brag about in Mario Golf: Super Rush, but the game has then something single player content to offer, including an adventure mode where in the role of your own Mii you will learn the golf game’s many mysteries and reach the top of a large and generous tournament in the heart of the Mushroom Kingdom.
The campaign is barely six hours long and unfortunately repeats itself a little too much along the way for it to be quite big, but actually offers a handful of surprises and good advice along the way. You unlock new qualities while playing, and can also buy unique clubs, use skill points to get better and change clothes. It’s a fun little game filled with many curiosities.
The core of the game is still the balance between the different forms of golf, and here Super Rush does well. Not only do you have regular golf, where elongated courses of up to 18 holes are at your feet, but in addition you also have Battle Golf, XC Golf and Speed Golf.
The latter two are the most experimental variants in this edition of Mario Golf, and both are exciting in their own way. XC Golf gives you free play on a smaller course and works more like abstract puzzles where you have to find out what order it pays to tackle the selected holes in. Speed Golf is in turn more chaotic, where each player strikes at the same time and then Race to where the balls landed – each stroke gives extra time, and the one with the least time eventually wins.
The unique modes also give the different characters and their special features more to their right. Usually figures are stronger or more precise depending on how they are built, so that for example Donkey Kong naturally hits the ball much further than for example Boo. At the same time, they also offer unique strokes and sprinting opportunities that can be used in exchange for energy and stamina, and this helps to spice up the golf rounds a lot.
It is especially fun to play against other players via the game’s multiplayer mode, and this works well both on and off the internet.
The computer-controlled opponents are not all the world, and this helps to take some of the fun out of the single player part. It’s fun to play golf on your own – the mechanics work well and there is a certain swing over the flow of the game – but it gets a bit monotonous after a while.
And then it does not help that the game has barely six official courses at launch. Nintendo and developer Camelot have already said that the game will get free bonus content in the future, and similarly Mario Tennis Aces will probably and this is a game that gets bigger and more extensive with time, but as it is now it feels a bit scarce.
The game feels incredibly stiff at times.
And stiff. The game thus feels so incredibly stiff at times, and especially disturbing are the one-sided and tame camera angles that do not do the experience any favors.
Mario Golf: Super Rush is colorful, exciting and really fun in small doses, but over time it also becomes very fast much of the same. The developers could make up for this by making small changes to get a more dynamic and engaging gameplay loop, but instead the experience feels both stiff and uninspired at times.
This ranges from the slightly too uniform single player part that feels more like a duty run than anything else, to the perfectly straight levels you shoot through. And that really sums up the game as a whole: It’s all right.
Mario Golf: Super Rush has many exciting characters, well-functioning mechanics, a brilliant look and a good multiplayer mode where it’s fun to catch up with friends and enemies both on- and offline, but beyond that the developers simply do not try hard enough. It is simple and easy, a bit monotonous, but at the same time so relaxing that it works very well as an accompaniment to a podcast or audiobook. Or in a nice team with a friend or three visiting.
All in all, you only get a pretty good golf experience here, and although free bonus content in the future sounds tempting, the game lacks that little extra at launch.
Mario Golf: Super Rush is exclusively available on the Nintendo Switch now.