Mario Golf: World Tour

Ah, golf. Such a delightful experience. It's the perfect game to play on those kinda cool spring days where it's not too hot, and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket as you grab your driver, test the wind, and line up your shot. Birds chirp and the entire experience is calming and laid back. There's no hurry. Just enjoy your game of gol-


Ahem. Almost lost my cool there.

So you probably know enough about golf to do well at a golf game. Hit the ball into the hole. Do it in as few strokes as possible, ride a cart around, yell at the caddie, miss a surefire putt by 3 inches, quit the game forever, etc. Given the amount of heartbreak and frustration involved in a normal game of golf, maybe it's a bad idea to have a golf game on a 3DS, with its easily broken hinges and throwable design.

But maybe that's also one of the best things about it. Golf! Wherever you are! Golf all day! Especially because you have 126 holes on the go, and a rather robust single-player with three tournaments, extra challenges that earn you star coins to unlock other courses, customization, and outfits to unlock.

Not just outfits, though. Hats! Clubs! New golf balls! Dress your Mii up and make them all kinds of pretty. Outfits also give you bonuses, though. This hat might give you a further drive, but this one gives you more control, so ideally you'll have your own outfit that's unique to you and the way you play.

The game provides a good challenge with single player, and the holes are well designed. It's clear that they went through with an eye for how to give you just the right obstacles to mess up a shot, or turn a par 5 into the challenge it needs to be. These levels are a lot of fun to go through, too, especially on your way to beating the other Nintendo characters that golf against you (side note: one of the opponents is a Goomba. Now those guys don't exactly have hands so... how do they golf?). Credits roll, and then you're free to enter the main tournaments that are run online.

And it's clear that this is a game made with online and multiplayer in mind. You only have tournaments on the main 3 Castle Club courses, but you can take any of them online, with friends or around the world, and golf it out. Multiplayer is concurrent, too, so there's no sitting around and waiting for everyone to hit before you can go again (which, given the worldwide tournaments, would have been the most annoying thing in the world).

If you don't want to play multiplayer, the challenges give you a great way to improve your skills and learn the layouts of the courses. They're excellent, too, and really ask you to go out of your way to achieve your goal. Some of them are certainly simpler (play a round against Daisy!) but others are pretty challenging (you have to first collect this item, then collect a coin, then get to the hole, all under par.

Furthermore, doing all of this unlocks new swag for your characters, and this is where the light RPG elements play in. It's nowhere near as impressive as the Game Boy Color version, which had actual like levels and stat points and whatnot, but it adds something interesting to a golf game. Especially since this isn't the most deep golf on the market. It's not like Tiger Woods with its ridiculous stick system, but it does give you full control over exactly where you hit the ball, and that allows for a lot of granular control over each stroke.

The putting interface is also excellent, and I don't know if it's standard in all golf games but it should be, since it shows you the exact lie of the green, which is something you wouldn't be able to catch if you were just staring at a screen since you lose so much depth perception. Since you're on a 3DS you'd hopefully have the 3D to help, but people have 2DSs, and the 3D isn't particularly good anyways, so it's very necessary.

You won't find the depth in this game that you would in something like Tiger Woods, but Mario Golf: World Tour is more than enough golf to keep you happy. On top of that, its first foray into online is surprisingly well done (especially for Nintendo), and the amount of tournaments and the addition of 108 holes of DLC maps adds even more to do in the game. World Tour is a fun experience, and while I do miss the deeper RPG mechanics from previous games, this version offers more than its share of fun, whether with others or alone.