With Mario Golf: World Tour releasing in one week’s time (May 3rd in Australia), Nintendo have kindly released a demo so we can try the game before we buy it. The demo offers three holes each from three different courses (the full game offers 10 courses) as well as two challenge modes. One where you have to collect a coin before sinking the ball and another where you have to go through three rings first before putting the ball in. It’s a rather generous demo that gives a good taste of what to expect and also offers a decent challenge to get you hooked. Read on for our full impressions.
Camelot and Nintendo together has always offered a magical and well polished experience and I’m glad to say that Mario Golf: World Tour continues this tradition. If you want this game to play like the previous two Mario Golf games that have appeared on the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, you will be very happy as the actual gameplay has not changed at all. You can choose from auto or manual mode. Regardless of which mode you’re in you tap A (or the touch screen) to start your shot and A again when you’ve reach your desired power on the meter. If you’re on auto mode that’s it for you, but if you want a bit more control over where your ball lands then you can go pro and try to stop the meter right on the line to ensure a perfect shot that can have top spin, super top spin, backspin or super back spin applied to it, which can have a huge effect on where the ball lands if it comes in on a flat angle. The system was always great and still is here, but there is still alot to consider before you even get to hitting the ball. Club selection, wind speed, what surface your ball lies on, obstacles, slopes and more all have to be considered so that you can get the ball going where you want it to.
A simple tap of the camera button will allow you to map out your shot, with the camera taking you to the place your ball will land with a grid placed underneath and giving you an aerial view if you hit the camera button again. You can move the grid with the d-pad while moving the camera with the control stick (or gyro scope if motion control is your thing). It really gives you the control to map out your shots and only gave me some small issues when I was trying to hit to a much higher ground during the cliff course. Character selection is important here and offers even more to consider as they all have different stats, with some characters having lots of power while some have a curve to their ball trajectory (the demo has Mario, Yoshi, Peach and Bowser playable, with Bowser having a curl in his shot). This is a great way at offering more diversity into the game and means picking the right characters for the course or challege hole will be very important.
Apart from the standard courses there were also two challenge holes to partake in and they are pretty tough. The ring one in particular took me about eight tries to complete as you really have to think about what order you hit the rings in and where your ball lies in order to hit the next one. You also can’t waste a shot as you have to come in under the par limit of 5 and there are three rings on the course all which require seperate strokes to reach. It was good to see some real difficulty being offered in this title (the previous entries were also rather difficult in parts) and for me this was the highlight of the demo. The other challenge hole was a bit easier, with the player having to collect a coin before sinking the ball. The fun thing about this hole was the bullet bill item box you could hit, which let your ball travel in a straight line after it got off the ground rather than arcing. The full game is promising heaps more of these types of items.
Visually the game is very impressive with everything looking colourful, vibrant and lush. The courses are full of imagination and contain all the Mushroom Kingdom nuances that you would expect from Mushrooms to giant Wigglers and Goombas. Each character looks fantastic and all have different reactions to the score they achieve on a holes. For example if Mario hits a birdie he will grab a star and run around the course while Yoshi will do a massive flutter jump. They’re fun to watch and don’t really get too repetitive as you’re celebrating right alongside them as the sense of reward is great especially after you sink a long putt or get the ball in from a chip in. In terms of audio, all the sounds are great (especially nailing a perfect shot) and all the famous character voices are there. (Who can get tired of Mario saying Woohoo!) The music here is your standard Camelot Mario Golf/Tennis soundtrack as well which is by no means a negative as the tracks have an epic, regal sound that really fits.
If you’re looking for the sequel to Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (which released way back in 2003) then here it is. With excellent gameplay, visuals and audio this will be a hard title to pass up for the 3DS if you’ve ever been into the series or love the Mario sports game as this is one of the best examples of one that has been done right with lots of love and care poured into it, and this is just the demo!. The full game will feature a story mode in Castle Club where you can compete in tournaments and earn customisable gear for your Mii and much more which will be sure to keep players coming back. New courses and characters are also being offered in three DLC packs. Check back for our full review of Mario Golf: World Tour upon it’s release.