Mario Golf: Super Rush – Game Review


Mario Golf: Super Rush

(Available for Nintendo Switch only)

This is a first that all 3 of us are going to be reviewing this game. The Switch has been revitalising a lot of Nintendo franchises, though it’s only had one Mario Sports game so far, that being Mario Tennis Aces. I would describe Mario Tennis as an improvement compared to its poor Wii U predecessor, but not something I’d go nuts over and I kind of wish that it hadn’t held back as many characters as they did. Mario Golf Super Rush is now here with a large character roster, featuring lots of new modes for multiplayer fun, including a new mode called Speed Golf (which was shown off in a big way during the marketing campaign for the game), and a single player experience that would harken back to the series handheld experiences on the Gameboy Colour. All in all, it has the appearance of the more well regarded entries in the series and is the first time a Mario Golf game has been on a home console since Toadstool Tour on the GameCube (I know a lot of people consider the Switch a handheld but I consider it a hybrid which Nintendo treats like a home console and it’s my review) so I had to see how it stacked up.

Pros

  • Graphics and character models: It might be just a Mario Sports game but it does look very good, giving off a Mario Kart vibe. The courses also really pop out with each feeling like lush environments (though I’ll talk about the designs of the courses themselves in the mixed section of the review). Characters have also received great new costumes for the golf setting and the team managed to really think about how to transfer the look of the characters to a golf setting, even if Bowser does look pretty ridiculous in his get up.
  • Button Controls: The game offers two control types; button controls or motion control. The button controls are superb as it really allows you to make correct assessments on where to aim, and how much power and control to put into each swing. It is a golf game so obviously it is not the most innovative control scheme, but sometimes simple is best and deserves praise.
  • Great multiplayer (especially with Speed Golf): If there’s one area where Mario Golf excels it’s the multiplayer. There are three modes in the game, starting with regular Golf which is what you can expect (though it does have the option for both the traditional way of playing Golf, of everyone taking turns, or you can speed things along with everyone swinging at once. It even offers split screen offline multiplayer. However, it only allows 2 players to use this feature offline in comparison to 4 players online or via local wireless multiplayer. Speed golf is a big new feature which shows all the players swing at the same time, and race to get their ball in the hole at the fastest time, coupled with best accuracy (though a mode for best time is also available). The game adds extra strategy as each swing adds 30 seconds onto your time and it has good use of strategy in terms of when to make dashes or use each character’s unique power swing. Speed Golf is the best thing about the game and is very much worth the price of admission, especially if you have friends with their own Switches for local Wireless or online multiplayer. There’s also Battle Golf but I’ll discuss that in the mixed section.

Mixed

  • Course design and number of courses: The designs of the courses are fine and there’s really nothing objectionable about them. My only issue is there are only 6 at launch and not many of them feel like they could be in the Mushroom Kingdom with the major exception being the one based on Bowser’s castle. There are plans to add more at later dates with the next being based on New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey, but at this point it might not have my attention by the time it comes out.
  • Battle golf: Battle golf is fine and involves 4 players on a 10-hole course competing to beat their scores and get their ball into 3 holes first. There’s obviously once again each character’s unique power move but also there’s environmental hazards to watch out for. Overall, I did have a couple good matches, but I found the game a bit unbalanced, and the environmental hazards are more frustrating than I would like. I know my co-reviewers; Reece and Elliot had similar issues.

Cons

  • Not all courses unlocked at the start: This is a multiplayer focussed game, so why can’t I play the other courses? The game forces you to play an 18-hole game on each course to unlock the next, and it has to be regular golf. So, it’s going take a long time until you and your friends have access to everything.
  • Single player experience: The single player experience is a decent attempt to recapture the RPG like gameplay of the old Gameboy games, but I found the story mode a slog to get through. There are a ton of challenges that the mode presents (most of them are not that fun or provide much incentive to continue). Plus, the game has a shop for better clubs and clothes to improve your stats (which both myself and Elliot failed to realise until Reece told us, because the game didn’t convey we were supposed to do that). In the end I gave up, as unprofessional as it is I didn’t want to play anymore single player because it was too slow and dull.
  • Online net coding needs work: I ran into more issues than I would’ve liked with the online multiplayer. I did get into a couple of stable matches, though more often than not rooms would break down or games pace and graphical fidelity would collapse. Now in all fairness I did consider that the internet at my home at the time might’ve been an issue, but I have good internet at Axia’s office and found myself with similar issues. When you get into a match with good connections, it’s great but otherwise it really isn’t.
  • Motion controls: They are so unresponsive; I’ve seen some people get them to work fine but in my experience everything about them is counter intuitive and made the game tougher to play.

Overall thoughts

Mario Golf is a step in the right direction for the Mario Sports series in many ways and plays well. Speed Golf in particular, is a great feature which I had a ton of fun with and even the regular golf hands good mechanics, making the game easy to learn but hard to master, and while I ran into some online multiplayer issues, mostly worked out well. The single player experience is a step up in many regards, though it’s also where the game kind of fall down as it’s it is very slow and not too interesting to experience (especially with a lack of plot line or interaction with Mario characters). I also am not a fan of how much is locked at the beginning. That being said, the only thing I also had a real problem with was motion controls which are fortunately optional. In fact, the game is pretty good and if you have friends you should try it out. However, I think this should’ve been treated more as a multiplayer experience than it was.

Score: 6.2/10

I really recommend picking this one up when your friends buy it (or agree to buy it as part of a pact), as that’s the most fun you’ll have. Definitely make sure you have good internet as well to play this.

Calvin
Nerd Consultant

Next is Reece’s review;

My experience with Mario Golf: Super Rush, was that I am the only member of the Anime Amigos to beat the arduous single player story mode.

Mario Golf: Super Rush is the sixth game in the Mario Golf series and is still developed by Camelot Software Planning, whom have been creating the Mario Golf games since the second entry to the series Mario Golf (1999) for Nintendo64.

The game is split into several modes for the player to experience, ranging from Golf Adventure (The single player story mode) and play solo rounds of golf with any character on any course if you have unlocked them to online modes where you can play against other players from around the world or local. 

Pros:

Graphics. The game looks nice, and all the characters are distinct in their Mario art style, with each being recognisable and most do have golf inspired outfits.

Gameplay mechanics. At the core of Mario Golf Super Rush, it has the same golf mechanics as other golf games with the player being able to aim their shot, put and curve on the ball. Then there is a large selection of clubs so the player feels like they always have good option for their shot.

New/Returning characters. The roster is quite decent for this game and features some great new characters like Pauline from Super Mario Odyssey.

Special shots. Each character gets their own special shot for them to use when their energy gauge is maxed out. Although many of these share the same mechanics for how the ball behaves e.g. knocking other balls away on impact or knocking away other balls on the way to the hole.

 My favourite of these being Pauline as she summons a mic and stand, while singing a small section of Jump Up, Super Star! (The main theme of Super Mario Odyssey) then smacks the golf ball with the mic stand.

New Modes. New to this game are Speed Golf and Battle Golf. While these modes aren’t ground-breaking, it is nice that they tried to implement new gameplay modes to spice up the gameplay.

Speed Golf is where everyone plays golf at the same time and races to the hole together, and the first one to win the hole in the lowest time is the winner. This all happens whilst having the deal with the other players and obstacles using their special shot or special dash to clear the way.

Battle Golf is similar to Speed Golf, except it takes place in an arena where the player has to score any 3 holes from the available 9-holes, adding to the strategy of either trying to out speed your opponent and aim for the hole they are going for, or aiming for a separate hole (that no one else is aiming for), but taking longer to score the point as it’s further away.

Cons:

Online Modes. The main problem that I have with the online modes is that there is no ranking system, so you can be matched up with someone who is playing with the game for the very first time or with someone who has put 40+ hours into the game. This creates a big imbalance with the matchmaking as it’s not accommodating for people’s skill level and for the competitive players. There is no real point to online as there is no leader board ranking to try and aim for.

Also, another big missing feature is that even Smash Bros. now has is tournaments, so that players can’t set up their own personal ones or join one created by Nintendo.

Connectivity. One issue I found was that when one of my friends got kicked from the match due to losing connection, that he wasn’t allowed to re-join a lobby already in progress, so we had to cancel the current 9-holes and create a new round of golf so he could get back in. This has also happened a few times online with random people, when they have been kicked for losing connection and is very frustrating when it happens.

Locked courses. Unlike the characters (which are all unlocked from the beginning), the courses are all locked until you either complete them in story mode or play 18-holes on your current highest tier golf course. This was fine for me as I had completed story mode, but when it came time to play multiplayer with my friends who didn’t have all courses unlocked, it was up to me to create the lobby as otherwise they would of had to have slogged through story mode first (which they had given up on) or done 18-holes on the previous course (and considering it takes 50 minutes to an hour to play 18-holes, they weren’t willing to do that either for multiplayer and I don’t blame them).

If all characters were unlocked for multiplayer mode, why weren’t the courses? This instantly limits the fun you can have on multiplayer and makes no sense, as the main draw of the Mario Golf series has been the multiplayer. 

A workout I would suggest is to either unlock them all from the start, or only require the player to do 9-holes instead of 18 on the highest course they have, as that way it would be much more manageable to do that than slog through 18 holes.

Story Mode. Although I completed story mode, I would not recommend it as it is just a grind fest. The story mode this time uses a typical RPG trope including stats and levelling up said stats through the gaining of XP by playing golf in the single player.

The most difficult world is world 2 where you have to do Cross Country Golf (XC Golf for short) as you have a limited number of shots to complete the level and if you don’t have a high enough level, then your stats won’t be high enough to beat the level. This happened to me as I didn’t have a high enough Power stat or Control stat, so my ball didn’t go far enough or would veer mid-air in the wrong direction and bounce off a cliff ruining your shot, forcing you to restart from hole 1 again.

The “Story” in the story mode is also really bad as you start as a rookie working your way up through the league which is typical for a golf single player, but this plot point is dropped half way through as the plot falls off a cliff, when you have to stop an evil snowman who put Bowser to sleep and team up with Mario (Which the game makes a big deal about but he is immediately captured in the next cutscene making his involvement unnecessary).

If people buy this game for the single player story mode, then I would say don’t buy it and wait for the game to be on sale, as the story mode once you beat the XC world is really short and easy and will only take you a couple of hours.

A.I (Artificial Intelligence). Or should I say the lack of A.I, as what has been clearly obvious via having an A.I bot in the multiplayer matches, I participated in with my friends is that they clearly lose on purpose (This was most evident with King Bob-Omb, who deliberately over shot the green twice on one hole and another time we had a DK who missed every shot either by shooting short or overshooting massively).

Another problem is that as far as I could tell that there is no difficulty level for A.I’s as they are all stuck on deliberately bad for multiplayer.

Character Design. For the most part the character designs are great but 5 characters from the roster don’t have their own golf outfits and are instead in their default Mario art style designs. These are Yoshi, DK, King Bob-Omb, Boo and Charging Chuck. It feels like Camelot just ran out time and didn’t give them their own outfits for some reason as it is really jarring compared to the rest of the roster.

World/Course Design. The courses are uninspired and if they didn’t include classic Mario enemies as the occasional obstacle then the courses don’t even look or feel like they are part of the mushroom Kingdom and feel completely generic.

This is brought to a head in the online Battle Golf mode where there are only 2 stadiums to choose from and they both look almost identical and blue; this is even worse when the main hazard which is water and that just happens to be blue and blends in with the stadium so it’s very easy to run into the water without realising or putting your ball in the water. 

I personally would have changed the colour of the environment or swapped the water out for either sand or water, so it doesn’t blend in as much.

Music. Unlike previous Mario Golf games this soundtrack falls completely flat, and I don’t remember a single song from it. It’s a bad sign when the only memorable song is a 5 second clip of Jump Up, Super Star! for Pauline’s super, which I’m sure is just the clip imported and clipped directly from Super Mario Odyssey and isn’t rearranged for this game.

UI (User Interface). This is clearly straight from the main menu as there is no style or effort put into the user interface as all the options are just put into generic square boxes. In comparison if you look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s main menu, you can see an interesting layout with unique icons, colours and shapes to differentiate them from the other options. Whereas Super Rush only uses generic character art within the game images for the background, except the “Golf Guide” and “Solo Challenge” boxes in which case it appears that they forgot to put an image behind Toad and Bowser as they are just on a blank background with some polka dots.

Conclusion:

This game has been a big disappointment for myself and my colleagues since the series has been silent since the last entry Mario Golf: World Tour for 3DS back in 2014 and it came out in this current state.

I would not recommend people buy this game at launch and wait until there is a sale on, as this game does not deserve paying full price and I would say buy one of the previous Mario Golf games instead for a better playing experience.

This game barely scores above average score of 5 for me (although this is probably too generous) as the core concept and implementation of golf is still there so at best it’s an average golf game but a bad Mario Golf game.

Score: 5.2/10

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

And finally Elliot’s review

I’ll be the first to admit, out of all the Mario sports games, Mario Golf is the one I know the least about. Admittedly the only Mario sports games I really played when I was younger was Mario Strikers Charged Football (a series that really needs to come back) and the Nintendo DS version of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. That being said though, I have, for the past while, had a bit of an interest in the series and have been looking for an excuse to finally try to get into it. So when, during the February 2021 Nintendo Direct, we got a trailer for Mario Golf: Super Rush, I got very excited and was super looking forward to finally being able to get into the series. I would love to say that this game succeeded in making me a fan and that me and my friends have a really fun time playing it, sadly though that didn’t happen, and, honestly, it left me incredibly disappointed.

First though, some positives. The game looks really good, all the character models look as good as they ever have, with some pretty awesome golf costumes that look perfect on the characters wearing them. The courses are incredibly colourful and vibrant, all with unique environments and obstacles for you to overcome. The music as well is fairly good, each course has its own theme and fits very well. That being said though, they are somewhat forgettable, honestly if you asked me to hum the theme for any of the courses, I wouldn’t be able to. Of course, the stats you have will ultimately depend on which character you play as, each one has varied stats that will either be to your benefit or your detriment depending on what mode you’re playing. Each character also has their own special shot, which, when the meter is charged up, will add an extra ten meters to your put, it’ll also possibly lead to disadvantages for your opponents and will make their next shot more difficult for them to perform well. 

And thus ends the positive and more structured part of the review. Now if you don’t mind, I will proceed to rant and complain about how much this game irritated me. 

To start off, the motion controls are downright terrible. When I first played this game, I had the full intention to play it using only motion controls and only occasionally play it with button controls to prepare for this review. After about fifteen minutes of playing, I switched to button controls and didn’t go back because of how terrible they were. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the game or the joy cons, but it was near impossible to get the shot you wanted. I would use almost the same amount of strength when swinging the joy con, yet, according to the game, the power in the swings constantly fluctuated, so I would be making multiple mistakes that I didn’t mean to. Even the motion controls in Wii Sports were better than the ones in this game, and that came out fifteen years ago (Seriously?! It’s that old?! Good god… I’m a corpse.)

Then, there’s the Adventure Golf mode of the game. This acts as the game’s story mode, where you interact with Mario characters as your own Mii, while also levelling your character up. This mode is almost entirely pointless as it doesn’t really add anything to the game. It’s way too short for one, only really lasting a couple of hours, and it’s only real purpose is to act as an elongated tutorial on how to play the game and to level up your Mii to use in the normal golf modes, as well as unlock the rest of the courses, which the only other way for you to unlock them is by playing 18-holes in a row of each of them in the Standard Golf Mode, which would take hours for you to achieve. 

Another issue with the Adventure mode, which is also a problem with the game as a whole, is that it’s too easy. The CPU players, at multiple times, will make bad plays that will only serve to their detriment to make things easier for the players. It’s not even like they’re accidental either, there are numerous times where I saw them intentionally turn away from the hole, even when they were certain to make it in. What makes it worse is that there’s no option anywhere in the game to change their difficulty, therefore you’re stuck playing against terrible opponents unless you play with other people. You could argue that it’s a kid’s game and they were just making it easier for them, but that’s just insulting. Super Mario Odyssey is a kid’s game, and I still find plenty of challenge in that. 

I also found the game way too infuriating when just playing it normally. I will admit that I’m really not good at the game, and that I need serious improvement (that I won’t get because I’m not playing this game again), but still. It never feels like I’m actually aiming where the ball goes, it instead feels like I’m giving it a mere suggestion on where to land, and it never ends up where I want it to. I understand that I need to keep the direction of the wind in mind and the angle of the slope, but even when I do, it still feels like it’s completely random on where the ball goes. 

What’s worse about the game though, is just how mind numbingly boring it is. I was only able to play about an hour or two a day at most because there’s not enough happening and not enough different about each session to keep me entertained. When you look at other games, like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros, those games are so chaotic that not a single match will be the same, I could play those games for hours and not get bored. This game however, each match just felt so samey with little variety, thus leaving me to get tired of them way too quickly. Even when playing with friends, I found it tiresome. While it was more fun to play with them, and I did enjoy seeing them make a ton of mistakes that, for lack of a better term, completely screwed them over, it still left me bored and made me wish I was playing something else with them instead.

There are three separate modes in the game, the first being Standard Golf. This, admittedly, is the most fun mode I had with the game. Strangely enough, just playing regular golf as Mario characters was kind of fun at first. I could see why people would enjoy it, it’s relaxing and rewarding when I have a really good run. The one real problem with it is that it gets really boring quickly, as well as all the other issues I’ve stated thus far.

The second one is Speed Golf, where you have to race everyone to try and get your golf ball into the hole first, getting judged by how quick you are and how many shots it takes. While this is the favourite mode of most people, and I can totally see why, I wasn’t really that into it. It felt like I was rushing to make a shot and barely had any time to aim it properly, and because of that I made a ton of mistakes. Also, while it can be somewhat chaotic, it’s not nearly chaotic enough to keep my interest for too long. 

Battle Golf is the final mode and is easily the worst part of the game for me. You’re put into a small arena and have to try to make three puts before your opponents do, all the while being bombarded by projectiles like bob-ombs. I was excited for this mode, thinking it would be like the regular golfing modes but with Mario Kart items to help you. First of all, it has the same problem that I have with Speed Golf, where I’m rushing through with little time to properly aim my shot. Second of all, when you’re aiming for a hole and an opponent gets it before you, the hole disappears, which is understandable, but when it does, the game doesn’t automatically aim you at a different hole or even change your golf club, meaning that you either have to do it all manually, wasting time, or you have to make the pointless put with your current club and then the game will aim you at a different hole, wasting even more time. Finally, as mentioned, the arena bombards you with items and projectiles to mess up you and you shot, this is insanely infuriating and you’re given little time to evade the items, and when you’re aiming your shot at a hole and a bob-omb, for example, is about to hit an area that you’re in, you’re unable to cancel your shot and run away before aiming again, and because of how slowly you make your shot, you’re practically guaranteed to get hit. I could only stomach playing this mode for a short amount of time, it frustrated me so much.

I have no idea how this game stacks up to the other Mario Golf games (though I have seen that some fans aren’t big on this game either), but if the rest of the series is like this one, then count me out. I played for an hour or two of this game every day for the past week and every time was just as insufferable as the last, sometimes even more so. Believe me when I say that there are much better multiplayer games, even multiplayer Mario games, for you to play on your Nintendo Switch. Personally, I suggest you stay away from this game, especially for the price that Nintendo’s charging for it, it’s seriously not worth it.

4.4/10

Elliot Chapman
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia6th July 2022
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