BENEATH the typically vibrant Nintendo universe in which the game is set, Mario Golf: World Tour makes for a solid round of golf.
Mario Golf: World Tour - Nintendo 3DS
Score: 8.5 / 10
With a time-honoured three click system (the first to launch your backswing, the second to determine the power of the stroke, and the third to make clean contact with the ball), the fundamental mechanics are sound.
The suggested lines and clubs for shots are often woefully inadequate, yet this allows you to hone your skills and judgement. For the most part, striking the ball with power and top spin is the best approach, but as you near the green, the game reveals its nuances.
Risk and reward
The concept of risk and reward is excellently realised, particularly when faced with a perilous fairway iron that might creep onto the green or just easily catch the lip of a nearby bunker.
The main mode, the Castle Club, sees your Mii pitted against well-kent names from the developer’s back catalogue, tasked with claiming the first ever triple championship across three courses.
The last of these, the Mountain Course, offers a reasonably robust challenge, but even novices will be able to race through to the credits in around three to four hours.
‘RPG-lite’ campaign mode
The underwhelming campaign is not helped by an RPG-lite approach which allows you to bolster your player with an array of unlockable clothing and clubs. The advantages these have on the fairways and greens and negligible and seem largely cosmetic.
Even after completing the main single player mode, your stats are only slightly augmented, giving the feeling that the levelling up system has no real bearing.
Excellent online play
The limitations of Castle Club, thankfully, are soon forgotten when you enter the game’s excellent online mode. One of the best of any 3DS title, it features an array of competitions and challenges that allows you to compete with other players around the world.
The action is never in real–time, but cleverly, developers Camelot allow you to traipse the courses alongside the ghost of other players, giving a strong sense of competition.