When I first watched the trailer for “Mario Golf: Super Rush”, I was overjoyed at the prospect of some silly, chaotic sports action. I long for the days when Wii Sports reigned supreme and “Mario Golf” on Nintendo Switch initially seemed like it would fill that space in my heart. However, despite the potential, he eventually landed in the bunker rather than the green.
“Mario Golf: Super Rush” is a classic golf game at its core, but blends it with a variety of environments that pose unique golf challenges. The control buttons are easy to grip: just press A to adjust the strength of a shot, press A again to shoot, and move the left stick to change the direction of the bullet. The motion controls, while a bit frustrating to adjust at first, are fun if you want to relive those glory days of Wii Sports. There are many different clubs to choose from, and players can purchase new gear to alter their stats – modifiers that affect how your character plays relative to other characters.
The game includes some fun game modes, charming non-player characters and good graphics. Simple controls make the game accessible to players of all skill levels; the new ability for all players to play at the same time in multiplayer provides a perfect board game feel and speeds up the game. Story mode allows the player to customize their stats as they wish, and character options in the modes multiplayer offers a wide range of statistics.
These stats – power, control, speed, stamina, and spin – alter each player’s strengths and weaknesses. In multiplayer, each player can choose whether they want to have more power and hit the ball further as King Bob-omb, or if they want their strategy to revolve around their ability to spin the ball with ease. as Toad. This unfortunately also means that a player’s Mii story mode stats are transferred to multiplayer. If story mode isn’t your thing, your Mii will be severely under-leveled, while by completing story mode your Mii can be overpowered against other players and the AI.
Where “Mario Golf: Super Rush” starts to falter is its story mode and online multiplayer. Golf Adventure (the story mode) lacks interesting content, and I found myself without motivation to continue. The story revolves around establishing your Mii as the top golfer by winning a series of tournaments; then, it switches to a series of boss fights centered around a very timid plot that ends as quickly as it begins. Compared to previous entries in the series, the story is straightforward and feels like less effort has gone into it. The story mode is a staple part of this game, so it’s hard to forgive how flat it falls.
Not only is story mode underwhelming, but for a game that presents multiplayer as one of its main selling points, online multiplayer seriously misses the mark. There is no fast matchmaking system similar to online multiplayer in Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros. Instead, players must join or host a room with the rules they like and wait for the room to fill up. This process is slow, frustrating and unpleasant. Nintendo’s online features are generally not comparable to other systems – although they cost the user $ 20 to $ 35 per year – so it’s not necessarily a surprise, but online multiplayer isn’t expected to feel so overwhelmed in 2021. Rather than keeping pace with their competition, Nintendo Online continues to be a big paid bug, and “Mario Golf: Super Rush” shows it too clearly.
Despite these issues, the game really shines in local multiplayer. The most fun is Battle Golf, in which you simultaneously play against other players with the aim of winning the most holes in an arena with enemies, obstacles, and stat changes. It’s just as brutal as any game in the Mario Party series, but the quick playtime means it doesn’t exceed its welcome. Speed golf is also entertaining, with limited time to finish and run with each stroke, making this mode a fast and loud board game. Both modes feature Special Shot and Special Dash abilities for each character, allowing the player to take ruthless revenge on their competitors.
Nintendo has stated that there will be updates for the game that will introduce new content, namely new characters and courses. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the pandemic most likely affected how long Nintendo had to develop more content, but this game really should have spent a few more months in production to feel fully fleshed out. The lack of content is understandable, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing.
For fans of previous Mario Golf games – and sports games in general – this could be a new favorite. It is also very accessible for casual gamers and those who don’t play video games at all. Unfortunately, I was left unsatisfied with the release, giving hope that future updates will make the game more enjoyable. If you have a lot of friends to participate in local multiplayer game modes, “Mario Golf: Super Rush” might be a hole in one. If you’re like me, however, you could easily pass this series entry on.
Daily Arts writer Harper Klotz can be contacted at [email protected].