Review: Mario Golf World Tour
By Sean Booker
May 15, 2014 - 18:42
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Mario Golf World Tour is long, tedious and ended up only frustrating me. The overall game feels incredibly slow and forces you to play for long stretches of time. Progressing requires a great deal of repetition and the rubber-banding opponents are infuriating. There were just too many negatives keeping me from discovering any real amount of enjoyment out of World Tour.
This if the first Mario Golf game that I have played. I quite enjoyed the ease of the gameplay. The tutorial did a great job of introducing the different terrain, wind and various other obstacles I would be pitted against. The game does have an in depth control setup that allows for far greater control but being able to also use an ‘easy mode’ for my strokes was very appreciated by this newcomer. It’s unfortunate that the accommodating and relaxed environment that his game starts with isn’t continued for very long.
Much like a racing game, this one fails in its poor implementation of rubber-banding enemies. It quickly became apparent to me that if I wanted to take first place in any of the courses I would need almost always get at least a birdie (1 under par). Without this I would most likely never see the top of the scoreboard by the end of the course. Playing better than the course recommendation consistently gets very tiring. It also didn’t help when some of the opponents were pulling off eagles (2 under par) at the last possible second to push themselves in first just before the end. I found myself getting extremely frustrated with the amazing skill my computer opponents had.
The enemy frustration gets worse when the only way to compete on different courses is after coming in first on the previous one. This literally led to me playing each course at least a dozen times in a row. The 3d is used nicely throughout the game and the courses do change substantially in theme and layout but, like everything, will get stale after banging your head against them. It didn’t matter if I was coming in second or third repeatedly, the game only allows progression if you got first. You also have to play through eighteen holes each time you attempt the tournament. With no midway checkpoint or save state you must start from the beginning each time. Coming in second at the last moment after playing eighteen holes only to get nothing substantial for it is not fun. With this repeated time commitment I was unable to get past the desert stage. I didn’t have it in me to try again for the millionth time.
Eighteen holes of time commitment also comes into play with the online tournaments. I found this also uninteresting since I rarely felt like sitting and playing for that long of a stretch of time. Luckily there are options for simply uploading your scores and stats onto the leaderboards. This was a lot better since it allowed me to not have to stay connected to the internet for the entire duration of a match. You can also take part in much shorter challenges. For example, you can compete with people online just on the basis of how close to the hole you can “approach” in a set number of shots. A lot of these online modes also show you the trajectory of the other players’ balls. This was helpful in order to learn what shots might work better than others. It seems Nintendo is also going to be putting out bigger and more special online tournaments which will definitely boost the replay value.
There are side objectives you can take on that focus on specific aspects of golf. Challenges that deal with your approach, putting and distance for example can be played through increasing difficulties. These were a nice change of pace from the long course tournaments since they focus on a shorter goal. They allow for more practice and help break down the different components of golf.
When you are not golfing you can spend the coins you’ve earned to buy different clubs and clothing for the Mii you play as. These were always fun since they improved your characters stats at the sport. You also earn a ton of coins pretty easily when playing the same courses over and over. Buying everything is not an issue. You can also purchase mulligans (to retake a bad shot) which was a helpful addition. Participating in different tournaments both online and offline will unlock further gear for you to purchase which is a nice incentive to explore every bit the game has to offer.
After repeating so many courses over and over I felt I was getting pretty decent at Mario Golf World Tour, but the enemies just always seemed to have the tiniest bit more skill than me. With this I was forced to see the same areas far too many times and lost most of my motivation for continuing with the game. It does have some features for newer and less skilled players but these are fleeting compared to the lengthy eighteen hole courses you have to take on. Including online play that utilizes previous scores was great to see and hopefully the upcoming tournaments will give this game some legs but overall I end up being more frustrated at World Tour than enjoying it.
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