Mario Golf: Super Rush review: another Nintendo Switch masterpiece

Mario Golf: Super Rush is a fantastic revival of among Nintendo’s earliest spinoffs, and it’s certainly the very best Mario sports title considering that the days of the GameCube and Video Game Young Boy Advance. Camelot, the studio accountable for both the very best and the worst Mario Golf video games, has actually patched together something brand-new, taking the series’ finest bits and binding them with among the strangest and most considerable tweaks to a significant sports video game considering that the “action sports” age of NFL Blitz.

However prior to I get to that, I need to respond to the one huge concern for long time fans of the series: Yes, there’s a story mode in Mario Golf: Super Rush, and yes, it’s rather engaging.

You play as a Mii of your own style and go to a range of vibrant areas, each with its own 18-hole golf course, competition, environment, store, and talkative townspeople. Every difficulty, little and big, benefits experience points, which can be invested to enhance the power of your swing, the control of your shots, and a handful of other variables. You’ll quickly gather clubs with eccentric advantages and slowly enhance from novice to something else. I’d dislike to ruin the deeply odd turns this story takes, so I’ll simply state there are employer battles and an unexpected quantity of Wario and Waluigi.

It is, ostensibly speaking, the precise thing fans have actually been asking for considering that 2004’s Mario Golf: Advance Trip — it’s a basic RPG with great deals of tacky discussions, a zero-to-hero mission, and continuous upgrades that supply that hit of development. However Super Rush diverges from Advance Trip in one big method: As the title suggests, you need to rush. Actually.

You now rush to your ball in between strokes, running throughout the fairway along with other golf players. You handle a diminishing endurance bar, gathering hearts that enable fancy speed increases. Each swing of your club develops energy for an effective strike that will send your ball even further and possibly knock away your rivals — and their golf balls — at the same time.

Mario, Wario, Rosalina, and Yoshi race across a golf course in Mario Golf: Super Rush. Are they friends or enemies? It’s impossible to tell.

Image: Camelot Software Application Planning/Nintendo

How this course trotting effects the experience depends upon the course surface and the club guidelines. Some rulesets need gamers to concentrate on finishing a hole prior to their rivals. Other clubs don’t care what location you end up in, so long as you total each hole within a specific quantity of time. My individual preferred place is a mountainous open world in which you can finish a nine-hole course in whichever order you please. Nevertheless, you have a restricted quantity of time to reach the ball in between each stroke, so striking the golf ball up the mountains on your very first shot will produce a challenging, Breath of the Wild-esque raise a cliffside with little time for mistake.

I didn’t expect my most intense gaming moments of 2021 to come from a golf game. Then again, I didn’t expect a Mario sports game to be this great.

When it comes to platformers, Mario has been on a decadelong hot streak. Across the Wii U and Switch, Nintendo has released fantastic mainline entries in 2D and 3D, and even let players create their own stages with Super Mario Maker. In fact, the platformers have been so consistently strong, it’s felt as though the company left nothing in the tank for its many Mario-focused spinoffs.

Mario hits a recovery shot off the side of a bunker, with a terrain map and a shot meter showing how the sand and the sidehill lie will influence the shot.

Image: Camelot Software Planning/Nintendo

Mario Party, the various Mario RPGs, and particularly the Mario sports entries have mostly floundered over the past 10 years and change. And not for a lack of trying! Camelot’s Mario Tennis Aces came close with its strong arcade gameplay, but dropped the ball with a crummy story mode. Outside of the obvious exception — Mario Kart 8 — Nintendo has struggled to find the fun in Mario’s hobbies.

Mario Golf: Super Rush feels, in many ways, like Nintendo finally listening to its fans, creating a game that returns to what worked. That the future of Mario Party involves taking inspiration from the N64 era suggests this may be the beginning of a trend. While I love Nintendo nostalgia as much as any other 30-something locked in generational arrested development, the things that make Super Rush sing — and what I predict will make it memorable for a younger generation, the way Advance Tour is for my own — are its twists on the formula. While a traditional round of exhibition golf can still be enjoyed from the start, the bulk of the game emphasizes sweaty competition.

Now that I’ve finished the story mode, most of my game time goes into the competitive Battle Golf mode. Four players gather on the same small course; the first to sink three golf balls into any of the holes wins. It’s controlled chaos, balls flying in every direction and each player adjusting their strategy while on the run. Losing is infuriating; winning with a 30-foot chip shot milliseconds ahead of another player’s putt, however, is pure joy.

A Mii named Anna gets some upgrade golf skills in Mario Golf: Super Rush. Good for Anna. She deserves nice things!

Image: Camelot Software Planning/Nintendo

Any mode that has players striking at the same time allows for two players to play in split-screen view, while the Standard Golf mode allows for four people to hand off one controller. Online, all modes support four players. Players can use traditional button controls (time a button tap to a power meter) or Wii-like motion controls, and they may select from a 16-character roster that includes the familiar (Mario! Princess Peach!), the obscure (Pauline! Chargin’ Chuck!), and their own customizable Mii. Matches can be played on six traditional courses in unique biomes, ranging from sand dunes to a lava-filled lair, and Nintendo has promised that additional characters and courses will be available after launch.

When setting up a video game outside of story mode, you can adjust 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 shots. The video game also leaves room for players to recreate a more traditional golf experience, and the golf itself delivers on the basics, while also including its cartoon physics. My souped-up Mii can smack the ball over 200 yards, causing it to zigzag left and right and left again in the air, then stop on a dime with fierce backspin.

Still, I can’t imagine spending much time playing traditional golf in Super Rush. I have plenty of alternatives I could turn to for that. Mario Golf: Super Rush is the only video game that lets me body-check Luigi on the way to notching a birdie on the 18th hole.

Mario Golf: Super Rush will be released on June 25 on Nintendo Switch. The game was reviewed using a Switch download code provided by Nintendo. Vox Media has actually affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can discover extra info about Polygon’s principles policy here.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.