PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Reviews

Mario Golf: World Tour

Arun Subramanian

From kart racing to roleplaying games, Nintendo has a long history of being able to put their iconic cast almost anywhere.  


Mario Golf: World Tour

Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1
Platform: 3DS
ESRB Rating: Everyone
MSRP: $29.99
Developer: Camelot Software Planning
Release Date: 2014-05-02

Much of the fun of being a fan of the Mario crew is seeing them removed from the platformers they call home.  From kart racing to roleplaying games, Nintendo has a long history of being able to put their iconic cast almost anywhere.  What generally makes this transplanting so entertaining is how much of the ancillary trappings of the Mushroom Kingdom, from powerups to slapstick humor to salient design elements of marquee levels and games, come along for the ride.  

While Mario has appeared in a number of sports games, trying his hand at soccer, baseball, basketball and tennis, his most successful sports outings have arguably been when he hits the links for a round of golf.  At its strongest, Mario Golf: World Tour, the newest sports-themes Mario title for the 3DS follows this trend fantastically.  Unfortunately, some clunky interface choices, as well as a few design missteps and a deceptively shallow amount of compelling single-player content make World Tour feel like a bit of a step back from some of the stronger titles in the Mario Golf line of games.

With as much experience as it has developing golf titles, it's not surprising that the core golf mechanics in World Tour are finely honed.  Players can opt either for touchscreen or physical controls.  While there is an easy control scheme for those that just want to send the ball flying with a minimum of fuss, true aficionados will find that the fine degree of control allowed by the manual scheme is critical for trickier shots.   

World Tour contains two main game modes.  The first, "Castle Club", serves as both the game's campaign mode, as well as its hub for online play.  It's here that players will become accustomed to the raw gameplay of World Tour, though anyone with previous experience with golf games in general will feel at home very quickly.  "Castle Club" also allows players to visit the pro shop in order to purchase the clothing and gear unlocked throughout the game.  While the rate at which these items become available for purchase is great, the stat boosts they represent are actually pretty standard.  As such, the difference between much of the gear is largely -- and disappointingly -- aesthetic.

The "Castle Club" is also where the game's single player tournaments are located.  Unfortunately, it's here that World Tour really misses an opportunity for depth.  Previous portable Mario Golf titles, particularly Advance Tour, had single player campaigns with surprisingly deep RPG elements.  Here, though, there are only three tournaments available.  They take place on the most vanilla courses that the game has to offer, and the level of difficulty is far too low.  Before you know it, the credits will roll, and you'll wonder if there's actually any more to do in the game.  There is, but some strange organization choices might make it difficult to find.

Unless you are interested in the online tournaments that World Tour has to offer, the meat of the game counterintuitively exists in the game's second mode.  While "Quick Round" certainly contains the option to jump right in and play on any of the game's unlocked courses as your favorite Mushroom Kingdom character or as your Mii, the real content in the mode comes from the copious challenges available.  With ten challenges available on each course, it's easy to spend quite a bit of time trying to successfully collect each task's "Star Coin".  At their best, these challenges take on the quality of puzzle games, exposing you to both the game's inventive powerups, as well as the unique qualities of some of the more creative courses.  Despite the impression left by the tame courses in the "Castle Club" tournaments, World Tour contains some fantastic 9-hole courses based on various iconic Nintendo locales, which become playable back in "Castle Club" mode when unlocked in "Quick Round".  For a fee, upcoming downloadable content packs promise additional courses as well.

Unfortunately, while World Tour is largely a technical success, its biggest misstep, the camera, becomes most troublesome while attempting challenges.  Many challenges will require the player to not only nail a specific landing for a shot but also to cling to a very tight flight path.  Though the projected flight path of a shot is represented as a dashed line, there's no mechanism for having the camera follow the path while lining up the shot.  Rather, you can view it from a few different angles, and in far too many instances, these views are less than ideal, making some challenges far more frustrating than they need to be.

Despite its shortcomings, Mario Golf: World Tour is largely a fun ride.  While there is a decent amount of single player content, it's largely skewed away from the tournament format towards bite-sized challenges.  As such, those who have an affinity for online multiplayer will probably get the most out of the title.  It's difficult not to feel as though a little more technical polish (particularly with respect to the camera) and focus on the single player experience might have made World Tour an unqualified success.  

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

Music

Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.

Music

MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.