Mario's been hitting the links since the good old NES days and he's at it again in what is perhaps his most enjoyable sports outing so far.
At its core, Mario Golf: Super Rush features simple and accessible gameplay that players of all ages can enjoy. What makes this especially stand out is the fact that whether you merely whack the ball and hope for the best or carefully strategize while factoring in the wind and terrain; you're bound to have a good time. The basic controls involve tapping a button then timing to tap it again to dictate your shot's power. However, if you'd like to incorporate more advanced techniques then you can curve your shot, apply spin to the ball, and utilize finder views in order to gauge the elevation, weather, wind, terrain, and whatnot. It all comes together to create a formula that anyone can easily play and that's something special; being accessible while allowing more hardcore players to enjoy themselves, too.
Another impressive aspect about Mario Golf: Super Rush is its collection of characters. Not only do you get to play as classic characters such as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser, and Donkey Kong; you can also play as Rosalina, Pauline, Bowser Jr., Boo, Chargin' Chuck, and King Bob-omb which is great. Oh, and you can even play as your Mii! Meanwhile, there are a handful of courses that start out with what you'd expect from a golf game only to get increasingly more challenging then the later courses will have you play in a desert, volcano, and a field inhabited by pesky piranha plants. These special courses contain iconic Super Mario enemies which makes mastering them even more fun. Plus, the variety of characters and courses are bursting with classic Nintendo charm.
With the basics out of the way, what makes Mario Golf: Super Rush extra special is its brand new Speed Golf mode which has you run after your ball as you and your opponents play simultaneously. It's frantic stuff and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I especially appreciated the fact that you can incorporate cunning strategies in order to emerge victorious. For example, each character has a special dash move that they can use for a speed boost as well as to tackle their opponents with. Considering you have limited stamina, running and using this move skillfully is key; unless you can get your hands on a heart power-up! Characters also have special shots that charge over time and these can blow other players' balls out of the way which is very clever and adds even more need for strategy.
Chasing after your ball as you deal with your opponents and trying to finish in as few strokes as possible while being the first to sink their shot adds up to make one thrilling formula and I can't wait to enjoy it online after Mario Golf: Super Rush releases. With that being said, one rule can feel unfair which is that if you're first at a hole, the next hole begins with a time penalty. I understand that it's implemented to level the playing field but it can also feel unbalanced, especially if the next hole is a particularly short one. Needless to say, I highly recommend playing with this time penalty option turned off but I wish it was off by default because it doesn't make much sense.
Anyway, to add even more excitement, Mario Golf: Super Rush features a Battle Golf mode which takes place in an arena where you try to claim as many of the holes as possible. It's kind of like capture the flag and it elevates the already frantic Speed Golf mode to new heights. Battle Golf may just be my favourite mode and I can't wait to see how enjoyable it is while playing against online players.
Speaking of multiplayer, Mario Golf: Super Rush allows you to enjoy the fun with local friends via split-screen or Local Play for multiple Switch consoles. Plus, you can play online, of course. Meanwhile, you can implement either button or motion controls so if you want to play a precise game with expert players or have a fun time swinging Joy-Cons with your kids, you can choose whichever fits.
With all of that being said, you may want to go it alone so thankfully, Mario Golf: Super Rush includes an expansive Golf Adventure that teaches everything about how to play through clever scenarios that range from target practice to boss battles. You play as your Mii and as you progress, you'll level-up and can allocate points to increase your base stats. It does start out very slow, though, so make sure you're in the mood to patiently learn the ropes before diving into the more interesting scenarios that you'll be treated to later.
Although Mario Golf: Super Rush includes nearly everything that you could want in a fun-filled sports game, I wish that it had amiibo support. I have all these amiibo sitting around and they keep looking at me all doe-eyed wanting me to play with them but there are fewer and fewer games that utilize them. I wish that they were at least used in Golf Adventure for little boosts or something.
With its frantic new modes and spot-on gameplay, playing Mario Golf: Super Rush is the most amount of fun I've had with a sports game in a very long time. Throw in that iconic Nintendo charm and comprehensive multiplayer and you're left with a hole-in-one.
- + Tight and accessible gameplay with a couple of super-fun and frantic new modes
- + Great selection of characters and courses
- + Comprehensive multiplayer support
- - Golf Adventure mode is very slow to start
- - Nonsensical default time penalty option
- - I wish there was amiibo support