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'Mario Golf: World Tour' sports a solid swing

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Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)

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“Mario Golf” returns after a hiatus that dates back to the Gameboy Advance era for Nintendo. Camelot is back at the developer’s helm for “Mario Golf: World Tour” for the Nintendo 3DS and it is another worthy entry in the arcade golf franchise.

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“World Tour” greets the players with the option to play a quick round of Mario Golf or go with the campaign style Castle Club. The former is played with characters from the Mario universe while the latter is played with a Mii against Mario, Bowser, Peach and the rest.

Mario Golf

The quick round Mario Golf (the only way to play as a Mario character) offers multiple options of play including playing by yourself, playing against friends locally or online and competing in tournaments. Some of these tournaments have been setup by Nintendo so that players from around the world can compete in a timeframe of a week or two to win in-game prizes like coins or items. Other tournaments can be created by players themselves to compete with anybody or made private for just their friends.

Multiplayer matches consist of stroke play, match play, speed golf and other options for up to four players. The monotony of waiting for other players to hit before you can is removed by allowing all four to play a hole at once. However, you will have to wait for everyone to finish a hole before moving on to the next.

Castle Club

Meanwhile, the Castle Club side features an over world where players must guide their Mii around to face off against Mario and his pals on three progressively difficult courses – Forest, Seaside and Mountain. Each has to be beaten before you are able to move on to the next. I was able to tackle the Forest and Seaside courses with relative ease but the Mountain course not only upped the difficulty but also the competition. It felt like there was a little rubber-band action to keep the other golfers with me.

Competing and completing (even if you don’t come in first) each of the three championships earns coins, improves your handicap and unlocks items that can be purchased in the item shop. These items that can be purchased have taken the place of the RPG elements from “Mario Golf: Advance Tour”. Whether this is for the better or worse depends on your preference on how to improve your character.

While the over world is slightly engaging the first time I walked through and randomly engaged some of the characters, it became tedious in subsequent trips. It also doesn’t help that nothing is labeled so you end up wondering around somewhat aimlessly until you learn where everything is located. After that, it becomes tedious to hoof it from the course and back to the item shop to buy those new items you just unlocked.

How does it swing?

The actual golf play uses the traditional three tap timing method to initiate the swing, determine the power and then the accuracy. “World Tour” does provide a simplified Auto control system but you’ll want to master the Manual system to get the lowest score possible. The touchscreen can be used for club selection, camera movement, setting the spin as well as the impact point on the golf ball. Using the touchscreen makes all of these options easily accessible but setting the impact point always gave me the most trouble for some reason.

Gameplay is spiced up with the use of item blocks scattered throughout the courses. Hitting these could grant use of Fire Flower, Ice Flower, Jump Blocks, Bullet Bill, or the Boomerang. Each of these grant a special ability that can be used to help navigate around obstacles on courses. Interestingly, these are barely evident on the championship courses in the Castle Club.

A solid par

“Mario Golf: World Tour” offers 13 characters to choose from at the start with an additional four that can be unlocked. There are also ten different courses available, with their own themes and hazards, as well as a large number of items that can be unlocked and purchased for your Mii character including full costumes for Mario characters. Donning one of these costumes gives your Mii character abilities that match the Mario character that it is dressed up as.

On the whole, “Mario Golf: World Tour” provides an easy to pick up and enjoyable arcade golf experience with loads of content for Nintendo 3DS owners. The rotating tournaments, online play and unlockables give you a reason to keep coming back and competing. Meanwhile, the line-up of playable Mario characters combined with item drops and colorful courses liven up the normally staid sport.

Title: Mario Golf: World Tour
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 2DS
Developer: Camelot Software Planning
Publisher: Nintendo
Price: $39.99
Release Date: May 2, 2014

A review code for the Nintendo 3DS was provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

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