Mario Golf: Super Rush is a brilliant revival of one of Nintendo’s oldest spinoffs and hands down the best Mario sports title since the days of the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. Camelot, the studio responsible for both the best and the worst Mario Golf games, cobbled together something new, took the best parts of the series, and made it a great sports game with one of the strangest and most significant tweaks since Action Sports “connected” era of NFL Blitz.
But before I get to that, I have to answer the one big question for longtime fans of the series: Yes, there is a story mode in Mario Golf: Super Rush, and yes, it’s pretty compelling.
You play as Mii of your own design and visit a variety of colorful locations, each with its own 18-hole golf course, tournament, climate, shop and chatty townspeople. Each challenge, small or large, rewards experience points that can be used to improve the power of your swing, control of your strokes, and a handful of other variables. You will quickly collect clubs with whimsical advantages and gradually move from beginner to. improve something else. I would hate to spoil the deeply weird twists and turns of this story, so I’m just saying that there are boss fights and a surprising amount of Wario and Waluigi.
It’s, on the surface, exactly what fans have been asking for since 2004 Mario Golf: Pre-Tour
You are now sprinting between shots to your ball and sprinting along the fairway alongside other golfers. You manage an exhausting stamina bar and collect hearts that allow for noticeable increases in speed. Each swing of your club builds energy for a powerful swing that will send your ball further, possibly knocking your competitors – and their golf balls – away in the process.
How this course trot affects the experience depends on the course area and the club rules. Some rule sets require players to focus on finishing a hole ahead of their competitors. Other clubs don’t care what course you land on, as long as you complete each hole within a certain amount of time. My personal favorite place is a mountainous open world where you can complete a 9-hole course in any order. However, you have limited time to climb to the ball between each shot, so it becomes difficult to hit the golf ball up the mountains on the first shot. Breath of the wild-esque hike on a cliff with little time for mistakes.
I didn’t expect my most intense gaming moments to come from playing golf in 2021. On the other hand, I didn’t expect a Mario sports game to be this great.
When it comes to platformer, Mario has had a decade-long hot streak. Across Wii U and Switch, Nintendo has released fantastic mainline entries in 2D and 3D, and even lets players create their own stages with Super Mario Maker. In fact, the platformer have been so consistently strong that it feels like the company left nothing in the tank for its many Mario-focused spin-offs.
Mario Party, the various Mario RPGs and especially the Mario Sports entries have mostly stalled and changed over the past 10 years. And not for want of trying! Camelots Mario tennis aces came close with its strong arcade gameplay but dropped the ball with a lousy story mode. Outside of the obvious exception – Mario kart 8 – Nintendo struggled to enjoy Mario’s hobbies.
Mario Golf: Super Rush feels in many ways like Nintendo is finally listening to its fans and making a game that returns to what worked. That the future of Mario Party is taking inspiration from the N64 era suggests that this could be the start of a trend. While I love Nintendo nostalgia as much as any other 30-year-old trapped in a generation-long development, the things are that Super rush sing – and what I say will make it memorable for a younger generation, by the way Advance tour is for myself – are the twists of the formula. While a traditional round of exhibition golf can still be enjoyed right from the start, most of the game is dominated by sweaty competition.
Now that I’ve finished story mode, most of my game is going into competitive battle golf mode. Four players gather in the same small square; if you are the first to sink three golf balls into one of the holes, you win. It is controlled chaos, balls fly in all directions and each player adjusts his strategy during the escape. Losing is annoying; However, winning with a 30-foot chip shot milliseconds before another player’s putt is pure joy.
Any mode where players hit simultaneously allows two players to play in split screen view, while standard golf mode allows four people to hand over a controller. Online all modes support four players. Players can use traditional button controls (set a button press on a power meter) or Wii-like motion controls, and they can choose from a 16-digit list that includes the familiar (Mario! Princess Peach!), The obscure (Pauline! Chargin ‘Chuck !) and her own customizable Mii. Games can be played in six traditional courts in unique biomes ranging from sand dunes to a lava-filled hideout, and Nintendo has promised that additional characters and courses will be available after launch.
When setting up a game outside of Story Mode, you can control the number of holes, the starting hole, the location of the tee, the strength of the wind and whether other players can use disruptive special blows. The game also leaves room for players to recreate a more traditional golfing experience, and golf itself provides the basics and includes its cartoon physics as well. My pimped up Mii can hit the ball over 200 yards so it zigzags left and right and left again in the air and then stops on a dime with heavy backspin.
Still, I can’t imagine spending a lot of time playing traditional golf Super rush. For this I have many alternatives that I could turn to. Mario Golf: Super Rush is the only game where I can check Luigi’s body on the way to a birdie on the 18th hole.
Mario Golf: Super Rush will be released on Nintendo Switch on June 25th. The game was verified using a Switch download code provided by Nintendo. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect the editorial content, although Vox Media can earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. you find more information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.