Mario Golf: Super Rush (Nintendo Switch) Review

By James Grech 29.07.2021 2

Review for Mario Golf: Super Rush on Nintendo Switch

As far as sports games go, the Mario Golf series has held a place in amateur putters' hearts since the Nintendo 64 era. With each new entry improving upon its predecessor, developer Camelot has brought as much charming worlds, clever gimmickry and Mushroom Kingdom madness as can be expected from a Mario game. This latest entry in the franchise attempts to continue this trend by introducing new modes, courses and mechanics that align with the studio's creativity. It is, however, a shame that any interesting idea presented in Mario Golf: Super Rush is overwhelmingly weighed down by its shortcomings. Ugly environments, low replayability and an adventure mode that feels, well, super rushed, all accumulate in an often tedious if not outright boring experience that will underwhelm even the most proficient golfers.

Nevertheless, booting up Super Rush for the first time is a treat. The opening cinematic is wildly charming and watching Super Mario mainstays battling for golf supremacy is exciting. From there, players can immediately jump into any game mode, selecting from 16 characters - each with their own stats - and two 18 hole courses to play through. There are no unlockable characters and unlocking the rest of the courses, for a grand total of 6, can be accomplished in either Adventure Mode or by playing an 18 hole run of the locked course's predecessor. Unfortunately, neither option is particularly fun and with only a handful of courses to unlock, there isn't really any incentive to keep playing once everything has been seen. Standard golf against the AI is frustratingly easy, and with no difficulty setting to choose from, it only ever becomes a challenge when the player makes a mistake. The mechanics are simple to learn, while more advanced techniques are available but unnecessary to do well.

The 6 available courses in Super Rush are a mixed bag of quality and creativity. The first two play and look extremely similar and it isn't until unlocking the later courses that Mario's influence appears. Thowmps guard Bowser's castle, Pokeys crawl across sandy dunes and a handful of other enemies appear as obstacles. These, as well as weather and terrain changes, ensure each course feels different enough from one another - although it doesn't change much of the challenge in solo play. Standard golf is only ever engaging when playing against other people.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Super Rush on Nintendo Switch

The Golf Adventure mode continues Camelot's tradition of introducing a light RPG element into their sports games. This time around, it feels like more of an afterthought than anything creatively curated. Players assume the role of a Mii tasked with going from golfing amateur to champion, before the story devolves into a strange supernatural tale. The short experience truly feels like a mixed bag of ideas with no real direction. NPC's have nothing interesting to say, while missions task players with tedious, overly easy and often repetitive 'challenges' and RPG elements like stat increases and gear load-outs are uninteresting and easily upgradable. There's also no cohesiveness in gameplay decisions in this mode. Mechanics, like the ability to skim a ball across the water, are introduced only to be taken away and never seen again in any other modes. A challenging mode called Cross Country Golf, where the player tees off once to continuously sink 9 holes in any order within 40 strokes, only appears on one course, for one mission. The entire mode isn't available for any solo or multiplayer matches. The Adventure mode is just not fun, and when considering that the only unlockables tied to this mode can be unlocked elsewhere, there isn't a reason to embark on it.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Super Rush on Nintendo Switch

Super Rush isn't all bad, however, as there are some birdies amongst the bogeys. A new mode called Speed Golf is by far the best addition to the game. Players are tasked with all teeing off at the same time before racing each other to try to be the quickest to finish the hole. Sprinting from shot to shot requires stamina, which is also used to fuel each character's special dash, and can be refilled quickly by collecting hearts that are scattered across the course. Collecting coins and finishing a hole will build a special shot meter which, when activated, can be used to create precise swings or environmental effects. Both of these skills can disrupt opponents, knocking them or their ball off course, all in an effort to get the best time. Each stroke adds 30 seconds to the clock, so a good mix of strategic golfing and chaotic meddling is needed to succeed. Although playing against AI once again lacks any real challenge, this mode is where Super Rush is most entertaining.

That being said, the other new mode, Battle Golf, offers the opposite feeling. It's essentially Speed Golf set in an arena where the first player to sink 3 holes wins. Holes disappear as they are won so all players will gradually have to fight for the same hole. Using special shots and a scattering of items can disrupt opponents but this mode is so frantically chaotic that it's often difficult to see what's going on. It's also usually over as quickly as it begins. With two very similar arenas available and the 'few minutes at most' playtime, this is an easily forgettable mode, even when playing online.

Speaking of which, playing Super Rush online has players create or join rooms to tackle Standard, Speed or Battle Golf. This works well enough and has plenty of customisable lobby settings, but players looking for longevity in this title through online play will be disappointed. There aren't any dedicated modes like tournaments or ranked play, so even when playing with friends online, it just feels empty.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Super Rush on Nintendo Switch

The notion that Mario Golf: Super Rush feels lazily thrown together is accentuated by the fact that its visuals are some of the dullest Nintendo has released this generation. Textures struggle to keep up, even when there's no action for performance to compete with. Character animations are limited and uninspired. Environments feel empty and forgettable, even with Mario-themed obstacles spread about. Frame rate drops are also far too frequent, even when playing Standard Golf where there are no big effects or distractions. Special dashes do add charm and excitement to the available characters, but even some of their special shots are just unimaginative. The victory or defeat poses that each character performs at the end of a hole are comprised of the most basic animations and sound effects, causing even the occasional hole in one to feel lacklustre.

Strangely, character design also feels half-cooked. Most characters sport new golfing attire, but some are just the basic models seen time and time again. For every Waluigi in a suit or Daisy in a polo, there is a Yoshi wearing...nothing? Donkey Kong with his same old tie, Boo just being Boo. This may just be nitpicking but when these oversights degrade the overall presentation of the game, it reinforces the feeling that this title has just been thrown together on a whim.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Super Rush on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Mario Golf: Super Rush plays as well as it should and introduces some exciting elements to the long-running series. Playing with the right people can make for a fun time… but that's about it. A poorly executed Adventure Mode, overall lack of creativity and no incentive to keep playing all make for a disappointing package that is more of a step backwards for the franchise. The promise of free DLC updates may alleviate some of these issues, but when looking at it as a full-priced first-party Nintendo product, Super Rush simply isn't up to par.

Developer

Camelot

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I do have to admit that I've been left rather empty by the 1-player experience, unfortunately. Perhaps my expectations were too high, thinking there would be an RPG element like the old GBA version... but sadly it falls flat.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I think the 3DS version has been my favourite so far, but I have not played Super Rush yet. I was left a little empty from Mario Tennis Aces but they did fix that over time. Hopefully a few things can be added to Super Rush to improve it.

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