Review: Mario Golf: Super Rush nails the basics, but nothing else

Mario Golf masters the basics but plays it too safe in every other regard.

As a New Yorker and a poor kid, I never had an opportunity to play golf, but I've always been able to play the next best thing — Mario Golf. Another feather in Mario's increasingly multi-functional hat, Mario Golf is yet another title in the Mario sports line that sees Mario's friends and enemies put aside petty grievances like mass princess kidnapping and various crimes against the Mushroom Kingdom for 18 holes of golf.

It's been about eight years since the last Mario Golf game on the Nintendo 3DS, and the series is finally teeing off again on the Nintendo Switch as Mario Golf: Super Rush. With online play, a new Golf Adventure mode, and some stylish new outfits, is Mario Golf: Super Rush the best in the series, or is it nothing more than a bogey? Well, it's neither, really. Mario Golf: Super Rush is a competent golf game with an uneven presentation that doesn't excel at anything.

Mario Golf: Super Rush

Bottom line: Mario Golf: Super Rush is a pretty good golf game packed with a good amount of content. The only problem is that most of that new content gets boring fast, and an uneven presentation doesn't help.

The Good

  • Solid golf basics
  • Speed Golf is a joy to play
  • Online play
  • Lots of options available to customize your game

The Bad

  • Presentation is poor in some spots
  • No tournament mode
  • Battle Golf and Golf Adventure are disappointing

$60 at Best Buy - $60 at Amazon - $60 at Walmart

Mario Golf: Super Rush: Much ado about golf

If you've played Mario Golf or any golf game before, the basics are still in that. You aim your ball, and with one button press, set the power, and the next press tees off. Taking the wind, the lie, and other factors into effect, your goal is to get your ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. As far as the basics go, Mario Golf: Super Rush nails it. Play with up to four players or AI-controlled opponents across a handful of different courses, each with its own unique hazards, and yes, you can use motion controls and put those Wii Sports skills to use. But chances are, you're not grabbing Mario Golf just to play golf, and Mario Golf has options.

Category GameNameXXX
Title Mario Golf: Super Rush
Developer Camelot
Publisher Nintendo
Genre Sports
Game Size 3.2 GB
Players Single and Multiplayer
Format Download and Game Card
Launch Price $60

In addition to normal golf, Mario Golf: Super Rush features two new modes: Speed Golf and Battle Golf. Speed Golf sees every player tee off simultaneously and run across the course to their ball. While dashing, they can knock out opponents running alongside them and even knock their balls out of the way. It's a welcome addition to the game, and it does a good job at keeping matches from getting too dry. Battle Golf is more of a party mini-game, where you and your opponents tee off in an arena, and whoever gets the most holes wins. It's manic and can be fun with the right people, but it doesn't really have legs. I was over it after just a game or two.

One of Mario Golf: Super Rush's selling points is Golf Adventure, a new single-player mode. In Golf Adventure, you lead your rookie Mii through a stand-alone journey where you level up your skills and compete in tournaments with other rookies as you rise to the top of the golf food chain. It does an excellent job at explaining the game and even golf terms to the player, but the overall experience is just fine. If you were expecting an RPG like the ones found in the older GameBoy iterations, it's here but taper your expectations, as it's painfully basic — which brings me to the game's presentation.

Mario Golf: Super Rush: A little soulless

One of my Mario Golf: Super Rush's biggest complaints with Mario Golf: Super Rush is its presentation — it's all over the place. The opening cutscene for Mario Golf: Super Rush is a wonderfully animated round of Battle Golf between all of the characters. It has so much charm, and the cartoonish mischief definitely put a smile on my face. Unfortunately, the game is nowhere near impressive.

Courses are large but lacking in detail. There's no Mario flair found on any of the courses, aside from coins and the occasional stage hazard. That goes for the roster of characters as well. Characters like Mario, Luigi, and Bowser arrive in stylish golf gear, while other characters like Donkey Kong and Yoshi show up as they do in just about any other game — straight up naked. It's almost as if Nintendo just stopped halfway through the roster and just filled up spaces with already existing character models.

There's no Mario flair found on any of the courses, aside from coins and the occasional stage hazard.

Golf Adventure's presentation is also as plain as it comes and almost feels like it was a game built in Game Builder Garage. While the dialogue has some character, every opponent and NPC is your default Koopa, Goomba, or other random Mario baddie.

Like recent Paper Mario games, it's almost like Nintendo is afraid to give any personality to any Mario character. At the very least, you can throw a hat or some golf gloves on an NPC so that they look like they are part of a golf-themed adventure instead of just a floating husk waiting to spout some nonsensical trivia about golf. Outside of Golf Adventure, there are Solo Challenges in the form of score and time attacks to keep solo golfers entertained.

Mario Golf: Super Rush suffers from the phantom pain of content updates. While Nintendo has confirmed that there will be DLC updates for the game throughout the year and beyond, the game's seven courses do feel a bit light (though you can start at any of the 18 holes to give you the illusion of a different map), and there's no tournament mode like there was in Mario Tennis Aces. At least the roster of 16 characters does offer some decent variety. It's not that the game feels incomplete, just bloated with undercooked game modes.

Mario Golf: Super Rush: Should you play it?

If you're thirsty for a sports game on your Nintendo Switch, Mario Golf: Super Rush might be enough for you. At its core, the base game of golf is wholly intact and is pretty fun, but I can't help feeling like the game is just a little half-baked. From its cheap-looking Golf Adventure to some of the plain character models and courses, Mario Golf: Super Rush isn't really a step forward for the series and ends up being just another entry in the long-running series.

3.5 out of 5

At the end of the day, if you enjoy golf in any capacity, you'll like Mario Golf: Super Rush. It's safe and colorful and doesn't stir the pot too much (or at all). While Golf Adventure and Battle Golf don't really work, I did enjoy Speed Golf a lot, and the promise of free updates in the pipeline will at least make sure that players have new courses and characters to look forward to. But if you were hoping that Mario Golf: Super Rush would deliver a single-player experience that would appeal to non-golfers, you'll probably be disappointed.

Mario Golf: Super Rush

Bottom line: Mario Golf: Super Rush excels at pure golf, but it plays it safe and boring in pretty much everywhere else.

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