I have never played golf in my entire life. Not in real life, or virtually, despite several chances for both. So why I thought skipping through the instructions Mario Golf: Super Rush offers, and heading straight into a game was a good idea is beyond me.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun though.
Mario Golf: Super Rush is a golf game in the same way that mini golf is. From the outside looking in, there are quite a few similarities, and if you knew nothing about golf, you would definitely call it golf. It’s not though, because even in the most basic version of a round of golf, you still have super powered shots. Pauline uses a microphone stand as a club, and a small section of ‘Jump Up, Super Star’ plays when she does her special shot.
It’s a lovely nod to Super Mario Odyssey, but definitely not a legal move in golf. Even I know that.
All that said, if you want to try and play it as a proper golf game you can turn off special shots, and play it as a proper, albeit cartoonish, golf game. There’s a full selection of clubs, each with their own stats and examples of how they hit when you select them, and wind speed and direction to take into account.
Or you can play Speed Golf, and Battle Golf for some Mario Party level friendship destruction in half the time. One guess as to which modes I picked most often.
Speed Golf is normal golf but with the caveat that you have to race after the ball, can run into other people to make them slow down, and you’re timed during the whole thing. Taking risks, and hitting your ball out of the actual course can give you a huge advantage. Or completely ruin the hole, and your chance at par. It can also be played on a split screen at the same time as your friends rather than taking turns, which is as amazing as it is hectic.
Battle Golf is a race to be the first to sink a ball into a series of holes on what can only be described as a deadlier, golfier, Wipeout play field. It is also, in the game’s canon, something Mario does on the regular, and is a world champion at. Because of course he is. Explosions, falling hazards, and a general willingness of the other players to destroy you makes for a hectic, and fun time. Like any Mario game, the true treasure is the friends you lose along the way.
Just when you think that Mario Golf: Super Rush has shown all it can with three different play modes, all of which are well suited to online and split screen play, it throws a storyline into the mix. It’s not exactly a strong storyline, but it’s definitely there. Including a world where battle golf is televised, people are racist against ghosts, and the unsettling realisation that Birdo is taller than your average Mii.
The storyline isn’t all that long, and honestly drags a lot in the beginning. While a good way to learn controls, you are forced to play your way through several mini game style rounds of golf to practice your technique before actually hitting the green. I’d recommend playing the Golf Adventure first, or you never will.
This iteration of Mario Golf has a full roster of playable characters, including my new favourite to play as, Pauline. Walugi rocks out in a truly terrible fedora, Bowser tries his best to find golf wear for the giant dragon-bear monster he is, and Peach, as always, is the best dressed there. Each character has their own style and flair that makes picking your favourite Mario character actually mean something, either because they are stronger and can hit harder, or because their special shot gives you an advantage.
What Mario Golf: Super Rush has in character selection, it lacks in courses. There are six courses. Rookie Course, which you will never play after the first time unless you’re trying to 100% the game. Bonny Greens, a traditional golf course, and the last normal course in the lineup. Ridgeback Lake allows you to hit your ball onto small islands in an attempt to get to the hole faster but pairs that with clouds whose life work is the blow your ball off the course.
Balmy Dunes is one giant sand trap. Wildweather Woods tends towards winds, rain and thunderstorms, but you’ll be fine as long as you’re not holding a metal stick of some sort… And Bowser Highlands, features far too much lava to be OSHA compliant. It’s not the biggest selection of courses, but New Donk City should be coming later in a free DLC.
A great party game, or even just a satisfying, casual, solo game, Mario Golf: Super Rush is just plain fun. Though lacking in courses or story, it gets a hole in one (legally I must put in at least one golf joke in this review, I don’t make the rules) for being another good addition to the Mario franchise.