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Mario Golf: Super Rush Review

Verdict

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There were times during my playthrough of Mario Golf: Super Rush where I really got into the fun of golf, analysing the details of a course and fist-bumping the air when a shot went exactly like I planned it. But these moments were bogged down by a lack of content and a truly disappointing single-player campaign. Super Rush might appeal to some, but for the majority of Switch owners, I’d recommend skipping Mario’s latest trip to the links.

Pros

  • Easy to pick up, tough to master
  • Speed Golf is a real blast
  • Updated characters designs are a joy to look at

Cons

  • Lacklustre Adventure mode
  • Only a small handful of levels
  • Not the most polished Mario title

Availability

  • UKRRP: £49.99
  • USARRP: $59.99

Key Features

  • Optional motion controls:Mario Golf features both motion and physical control options
  • Online play:You can enjoy almost all of the game’s major modes online
  • Platforms:Nintendo Switch

Introduction

It’s time to tee-off once more as the classic Mario series makes its way to the Nintendo Switch with Mario Golf: Super Rush.

This newest entry features an Adventure Mode single-player campaign and a whole new ‘Speed Golf’ mode which marries golf with traditional Mario platforming. But having played through the final game, I’m afraid to say Mario is not on form with his latest sporting venture.

Gameplay

There are two ways to play Super Rush, the first being standard button controls that will feel familiar to previous entries in the series, and the other being motion controls which feel as though they’ve been designed specifically with Wii Sports fans in mind. Even though the latter has more of a ‘pick up and play’ feel to it, I found the former to be pleasantly easy to understand.

When playing with button controls, it’s just a case of moving left or right to line up your shot, pressing A to activate the power gauge, and then pressing A or B to determine how far you’d like to shoot the ball. This is Super Rush at its core, and it’s easy enough for an absolute golf novice like myself to get to grips with. 

Mario taking a swing in Mario Golf: Super Rush
With a Super Shot, it’s almost impossible to miss.

The best type of golf club for each scenario is even chosen automatically as you play, although more pro level players will no doubt end up deciding what’s best all by themselves, and this is where the best part of Super Rush reveals itself.

Even though the game is highly accessible, much like Super Smash Bros Ultimate, there are a lot of mechanics at play under the surface which, when utilised correctly, can completely change the outcome of a match. These factors include wind resistance, topography, curvature of the swing and even the ability for the ball to roll backwards or forwards upon landing. It might sound like a lot, and it’s certainly no easy feat to master all of these elements, but once you wrap your head around one of them you’ll be hooked to explore the rest.

Of course, these rules on their own only really apply to the standard golf sessions – Speed Golf is another thing entirely. In Speed Golf, the player has to chase after their ball once a shot has been made, adding a layer of frenetic energy that isn’t typically seen in the sport. When chasing after your ball, you have a stamina meter that you can use to either perform an impressive but depleting dash move, or simply run after the ball. 

The main menu from Mario Golf: Super Rush

There are hearts scattered around each course that will allow you to refill your stamina meter on the go, but there are also coins available that can be used to charge up your special meter.

Once your special meter is full, your character can bypass all the rules and hit a special shot to get you closer to the hole with little input. Each character has a special shot that feels unique to them: Yoshi can turn the ball into an egg, while Boo can possess the ball to send it flying.

It’s up to you to weigh up which tactic is best, but I can imagine more experienced players wanting to maintain their stamina and rely on the prowess of their skills, while newcomers might be more interested in building up that special meter and securing a win with a nice easy shot.

Waluigi's golf outfit is a thing to behold

Battle Golf feels like Mario Golf’s answer to the battle stages of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, pitting you against three other characters in a race to be the first to putt three holes. Sounds simple enough? Well, while you’re trying to do this, you’ll have to contend with Chain Chomps, Thwomps, Bob-ombs and area effects.

It’s all good fun that’s over a little too quickly, but in a move that makes Battle Golf feel like a complete afterthought, there’s only one level designed for it. By any standards that’s an absolute mess, but for a Mario game it really feels like someone dropped the ball here.

Graphics and design

Unlike some of the more prolific Nintendo Switch titles to feature Nintendo’s iconic mascot, Super Rush is something of a mixed bag from a visual perspective. Starting with the good, Mario and the remaining roster of playable characters look fantastic.

Taking a leaf out of Mario Tennis: Aces’ book, the main inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom are no longer wearing their traditional slacks to the party, but instead they’re decked out in proper golfing attire that really stands out. Characters like Mario, Pauline and Rosalina feature inspired variants of their typical outfits, but it’s Waluigi – with his mafia style get-up – who absolutely takes the cake.

Mario celebrating a hard won victory

As you’d expect from a Mario game, almost everything on display is bright and colourful, but unfortunately Super Rush lacks a lot of the detail that has made games like Super Mario Odyssey so impressive to look at.

At no point during Super Rush did I ever feel as though the game was making full use of the Switch’s GPU, with bodies of water looking particularly dull. Given the high standard we’ve come to expect from modern Mario titles, it just seems as though Super Rush could’ve done with a bit more time in development to iron out some of its rougher edges.

Single-player

To its credit, the ‘Adventure Golf’ single-player campaign to Super Rush starts out fairly well. The game sets you up as a rookie in the world of Mushroom Kingdom golf, as your Mii, Toadette, Boo and Chargin’ Chuck start out at the same point, all under the care of Birdo. 

The cast might sound a bit odd, but it was still funny to see these characters converse with each other, and I assumed that the story would be about the friendship among this group as each member tries to make it into the big leagues. You can imagine my surprise then when the game quickly ditches this sense of comradery, only to be replaced later on with a completely out-of-left field endgame about a plot to change the weather.

A screenshot from from the Super Rush's story mode

To make matters worse, the miniature hub worlds that can be explored between matches are terribly dull. This would have been a great opportunity to inspire a bit of exploration by having hidden treasures and items scattered throughout each world, but instead they are simply filled with stationary Nintendo characters packing a few lines of dialogue each. After a while, these areas feel less like hub worlds and more like waiting rooms.

In an even stranger twist, there aren’t that many levels to the whole affair either. There are six courses in total and while they feature several holes within them, the game just doesn’t pack the same level of variety that you might expect from a Mario title.

Visuals are nice and bright, and the hub isn't overbearing

It’s also worth pointing out that you can’t play the single-player mode with motion controls. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason as to why this method of play has been omitted from the campaign, but it feels like a bizarre oversight, particularly for anyone who prefers the more accessible control scheme.

Multiplayer

Super Rush is at its best when enjoyed with other people. Standard Golf, Speed Golf and Battle Golf can all be played with up to three friends, and they all work perfectly. I didn’t encounter any technical issues during play and Speed Golf is so brilliantly put together that even in the moments when I, or any other players were falling behind in the scoreboards, we were still having fun because there’s always a chance to claw your way back to victory.

The Battle Mode can get pretty hectic if you don't pay attention

All of those aforementioned modes can also be played online. You can set up your own room (with a password if you like) or just jump into one made by someone else. You can tweak the settings of each room quite a bit to be tailor-made to how you prefer to play, which options such as Mii characters being permissible, types of point scoring and more. 

I never encountered any lag or ghost lobbies during my time with the game either, so here’s hoping that that’s a positive sign for the longevity of Super Rush going forward.

Best Offers

Should you buy it?

You can’t get enough of golf:
Even to die-hard fans of the Mario Golf series, Super Rush might feel like a let-down. But if you just want some solid golfing fun with a twist, you can still have a good time with the game.

You want the best Mario sports game:
If you fancy adding a Mario sports title to your collection then Mario Tennis: Aces is a far easier recommendation. I wouldn’t recommend buying Super Rush just because it’s the latest Mario title on the Switch.

Final Thoughts

As a colourful golf title that manages to hide a surprising layer of depth beneath the surface while also being inviting enough that newcomers can enjoy the game without feeling frustrated, Mario Golf: Super Rush does a great job. As a successor to Mario Golf: World Tour however, Super Rush is sure to leave some fans disappointed by the half-baked Adventure Mode.

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FAQs

Can you unlock characters

All characters are unlocked from the start.

Can you play Mario Golf on Switch Lite?

Yes, you can play Super Rush on a Switch Lite but without motion controls.

Can you edit your Mii?

You can customise your Mii’s outfit throughout the single-player campaign.

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