REVIEW: ‘Mario Golf: Super Rush’ is Great, But Needs A Few Mulligans (Switch)

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Mario Golf Super rush

Mario Golf: Super Rush is the latest in Mario and Nintendo’s sport outings for Nintendo Switch from developer Camelot Software Planning. It’s a good simulator with a bit more complexity than you may expect, enough different modes to keep things fresh, but quite a few sand traps keeping certain parts of the game slower and rougher than ideal.

Back in the GameCube days, it wasn’t Mario Golf that was taking up my time on the links, it was Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour. And I distinctly remember playing a game mode where you had to run as fast as you could after your ball between strokes. Mario Golf: Super Rush is basically what happens when you ask, “what if we made that the whole crux of the game?” It was the best, and frankly, it remains the best. What has long made Mario’s sports outings so much fun is the chaotic arcade nature of what is otherwise a very familiar game type.

The Speed Golf game mode, where you race against other players to complete courses either the fastest or within an allotted period of time, is the time to knock into other players and kick their golf balls. Throw in some cross country golfing where you use the environment to jump your ball from one fairway to another, or trick balls that cause more havoc, and there’s a litany of wackiness that can ensue.

But unfortunately, I just don’t think it’s wacky enough. At least, not quickly enough. You start the game with only the most basic course and game modes. To unlock more, you must play the game’s campaign mode. Sure, the courses get more obstacles on them as you go along, as do the game types, but I really wish they started out zany from the get-go, or at least fully unlocked for multiplayer. I have often lamented with games, especially re-releases and definitive editions, that I wish they wouldn’t always just give you everything unlocked upfront; Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, for example. I prefer games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where you have to unlock absolutely everything as you go.

But the difference between Smash and Mario Golf: Super Rush, is that you can unlock everything in Smash in multiplayer. Here, locally, you have to play a single-player game first. It means opening up your brand new game, excited to play with friends, but then forced to play by yourself to actually play more than the most basic game. Kind of a bummer.

Fortunately, the game itself is fun nonetheless. It’s just a bit more complex in its mechanics than perhaps you might expect of a Mario game, but not as complicated as it could be. You have a number of clubs with different power and purpose. You can pick which ones or how many to take with you, at the risk of slowing you down between holes in speed golf. You can curve your shots, add spin to the balls, and risk a number of issues with the power behind your swing and the grade of the ground you’re standing on. It’s not just point and shoot, but it doesn’t require intense skill to have fun with. A nice set of indicators help guide you towards the hole in a helpful but non-intrusive way.

As for the campaign mode itself, I love that it exists, but my goodness does it need a dialogue skipping button. The mode walks you through the whole array of game modes and mechanics with a fun little story of sorts. I enjoy having a little story mode to act as the vehicle for tournaments. I just can’t say honestly that it felt completely well-executed. I think my struggle begins with the fact that you’re forced to play as a Mii. It feels so out of place for the Mushroom Kingdom. I walked into the game fully expecting to choose which character to play as like in regular golf rounds. The disappointment continued as the country clubs that I played at felt too large with no golf karts to get me anywhere faster, a way to skip dialogue when it ceased to be charming and wouldn’t end, and bore no rewards at the shop that actually felt rewarding. The promise of the awesome opening title sequence felt squandered when the actual game was just so much more tame and unfulfilled.

Despite the mulligans I wish Mario Golf: Super Rush could take, it’s still a strongly delivered game any fan of party games and party sport simulators in particular can enjoy alone or with friends.

Mario Golf: Super Rush is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Mario Golf: Super Rush
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Despite the mulligans I wish Mario Golf: Super Rush could take, it’s still a strongly delivered game any fan of party games and party sport simulators in particular can enjoy alone or with friends.