Mario Golf: World Tour
Mario Golf: World Tour is a sport title for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the fifth installment of the Mario Golf series, and the third handheld installment in the series. The game also features gyroscope support and Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing players to participate in online Tournaments against other players from around the world. The game also makes use of downloadable content, in which extra courses and characters may be bought with real money. It is the first and thus far only Mario Golf game to have been released after its tennis counterpart.
The gameplay is similar to past installments of the Mario Golf series. Players have to hit shots while taking into account character attributes, wind, weather, and course topography. The power, accuracy, and spin of shots are determined by the timing when the player taps buttons or the touch screen as a target line slides up and down the power meter. A simplified control system, like the Auto control system from Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, returns where the player has to worry only about the power of the shot, at the expense of being unable to add topspin or backspin. The touch screen can now be used for selecting clubs, initiating shots, and adding spin. Plus, the trajectory of the shot can be altered by moving the circle pad or by using the touch screen as the shot meter is in motion; this is similar to the impact zone feature of past games. A new feature, known as Item Shots, allows players to hit shots with different effects via items. These include burning through trees with a Fire Flower, creating Jump Blocks over water hazards, ignoring wind via Bullet Bill, increasing draw or fade by Boomerang, and freezing the terrain with an Ice Flower. These items can be collected by hitting ? Blocks on the course, although players sometimes start holes with items.
The game includes 21 playable characters: 13 default characters as well as 4 unlockable characters. Additionally, 4 more characters are available as downloadable content. Overall stronger Star variations of these characters are unlocked by beating the character on their respective character match in Challenges mode, with the exception of unlockable characters and downloadable characters, in which case the Star variation is unlocked at the same time the character is unlocked or downloaded.
Below is a table of the playable characters. Note that Height is on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the lowest-flying shot and 10 being the highest. Sweet Spot and Control are out of 11. When a character curves the ball, it is either called a "fade" or "draw". For right handed characters, a fade is when the ball curves to the right, and a draw is when it curves to the left, and vice versa for left handed players. When a shot is used with a curve on a hole with a higher surface, the ball can either over-curve or under-curve, resulting in misplacing of the ball.
Star-Character unlocking criteria
There is a variety of purchasable gear that can be used to customize the player's Mii that will affect their stats. The game will have 500 customizable gear items. If a player equips a Mii with a full character gear set the Mii will play similarly to that character. Tournaments will grant the participants with a piece of gear that isn't available through the store until one of the four major tournaments has ended.
Various items can be used during gameplay to affect the player's shots. They may either be found in ? Blocks or boxes with pictures of the item on it. They can also be obtained at the start of the game, with more items being received if more holes are to be played. In player-tournaments, a set amount of items can be chosen for the tournament players to receive before starting.
A total of 16 playable courses appear in Mario Golf: World Tour, the most of any Mario Golf games, with a total of 234 Holes, including the downloadable Nintendo 64 courses. All of the Castle Club courses have 18 Holes and have tournaments that the Mii can compete in against other Mario characters. The Mario World Courses have different features based on different Mario games and have 9 Holes. All courses but the downloadable ones can be accessed through both Mario Golf (quick round) and Castle Club. The six downloadable courses, which must be bought with real money, are all taken from the Nintendo 64 game with updated music and graphics. Some of these courses have changed appearances to look like some of the Worlds from New Super Mario Bros. U.
There are two main modes of play: Mario Golf (Quick Round), and Castle Club.
Mario Golf (Quick Round) is similar to past Mario Golf games, where the player can select a Mushroom Kingdom character or a customized Mii. It features a variety of modes such as Single Player (including Stroke Play, Match Play, Speed Golf, and Point Tourney, all of which provide coins for the player), Vs. (Local Play, Online Friends, and Community Match), and Tournaments (Mario Open and user-created Private Tournaments). Additional regional and worldwide online tournaments are available on the entry floor of the Castle Club.
This mode allows the player to take on a round against the scorecard, the clock, or a computer opponent, as well as Challenges, where courses, Star characters, and Mii costumes can be unlocked. The first four modes allow the player to select any unlocked course, as well as the number of holes (3, 6, 9, or 18), wind strength, whether to use items, what tees to tee off from (Front, Back and Tournament) as well as whether to be able to see the shot trajectory or not.
A standard round of golf, where the player's score is compared to par. Multiple courses and modes can be selected, from 18 to 3 holes, how strong the wind is and to use club slots or not. Playing rounds may earn the player Best Badges. Playing rounds will randomly unlock Mii Gear for the player's Mii to use.
The player competes against a computer-controlled opponent. The winner of the round is whichever player wins more holes, although if the players are tied by the end of the game, it will proceed into Sudden Death and go through the selected course again until someone wins. The player may choose the opponents skill level, ranging in five different varieties, two of which need to be unlocked.
Instead of counting strokes, the player's score is determined by how much time is taken to hole the ball. The options allowed are the same as Stroke Play.
Scored via a modified version of the Stableford scoring system. The player is awarded 8 points for an albatross or a hole in one, 5 for an eagle, 3 for a birdie, 2 for a par, and 1 for a bogey. A double bogey or worse scores zero.
Each of the game's courses, including downloadable courses, have ten Star Coin challenges and ten Moon Coin challenges (the latter are more difficult, and unlocked by earning 90 star coins). They take the following forms:
This is the game's multiplayer mode. Local play is available for up to four players, but it does not support download play. During multiplayer, all players play at the same time, which speeds up play significantly because players do not have to wait until it is their turn to play. However, all players must finish the hole before they are allowed to move on. Players can see the ghost shots of other players and on-screen icons also show how the player's shots measure with the other players' in terms of distance. Players can send taunts or cheers to each other by pressing icons, as well as emoticons. Matches with online friends and community matches can also be played from this menu.
Castle Club is a story mode where the player's Mii tackles different tournaments (similar to the story modes from previous handheld Mario Golf games). Using coins, the player's Mii is able to buy equipment that will affect its stats, such as drive distance and shot trajectory, similar to the Mii customization feature in Mario Tennis Open. The player must complete three different tournaments on the three main Castle Club courses, with the Forest Course having to be practiced first in order to enter anything. After completing a handicap tournament, the player will be allowed to compete in tournaments, located on the Forest Course, the Seaside Course, and the Mountain Course in that order.
After winning all three tournaments, Costume Challenges will begin appearing in the Royal Garden's courses to the west of the entrances to the three main courses which allows players to unlock costumes by completing a variety of objectives on Mario World courses, and these may require the player to either collect a certain amount of coins, finish in a short period of time or beat a target score. Drives, approaches, and putts may also be practised in challenges to the east of the tournament entrances. A One-on, One-putt challenge also returns from previous games to the east of the practice challenge area, which requires the player to get the ball onto the green (the fringe is not counted) in one shot, then putt that ball in the next for nine consecutive holes. If the the ball fails to be hit onto the green or the putt is missed at any point, the challenge is failed. This challenge takes place on Sky Island, and upon its completion the course is unlocked and a 18-hole version can be played in Castle Club in its stead.
Mario Golf: World Tour also features a variety of online tournaments for players to take part in that reward the player's Mii with (gold, silver or bronze) trophies and a varying amount of coins depending on their performance, as well as some equipment for participating in the tournament (barring DLC ones). They can either be made by Nintendo, other players from across the world in the form of Private Tournaments, or made by Callaway Golf in partnership with Nintendo.
Trophies earned from Regional and World Tournaments in the Castle Club appear on the trophy hall's display (a maximum of ten normal trophies can be on display at any one time), and trophies from major tournaments appear behind the glass display towards the centre of the room. Trophies are sorted by the type of trophy (gold > silver > bronze), the type of tournament it was earned from (world > regional) and the end ranking the player received from highest to lowest (eg. rank 346 > rank 408). These are the varieties of tournaments known thus far:
Regional Tournaments may be entered and played by the players' Mii in the Castle Club's basement. They are entered through the red pipe in the area and restrict participants to those in the chosen region(s). Additionally, Callaway Golf has teamed up with Nintendo to produce Callaway-based regional tournaments, which will give the players sponsored Callaway Gear for the Mii to equip during the tournaments and to keep afterwards.
On the other side of the Castle Club's basement, where a blue area with a blue pipe is located, World Tournaments may be entered. Entering these tournaments will pit the player against the whole world. Participating in these tournaments will give the player sets of clothing for the Mii to equip, like Game Boy or Wii gear sets.
In addition to Castle Club Tournaments, Nintendo have also created Mario Open tournaments which allow the use of Mario characters. Some events include character or item restricted tournaments. Players can also make their own unofficial Mario Open tournaments under rules of their choice for other players to enjoy.
On the 17th of April, a demo of the game was released on the Nintendo eShop for Europe, making this strictly the second Mario game (preceded by Mario & Luigi: Dream Team) to have a publicly released demo for download. The demo was later released in North America on April 24. It uses 873 blocks when downloaded and offers ten uses (fifteen for the North American demo).
The demo lets the player go through a tutorial covering camera and shot control or play through either holes 1, 2, and 3 of Seaside Course, holes 1, 2, and 6 of Wiggler Park, and holes 1, 5, and 6 of Yoshi Lake. The demo also allows the player to play the Star Coin Collector mode on hole 9 of Peach Gardens, and the Ring Master mode on hole 14 of Mountain Course. The only playable characters available are Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser.
Mario Golf: World Tour has received generally positive reviews among critics. IGN gave the game a score of 8.6/10 (a "great" rating). They praised the game's learning curve, training options, large quantity of unlockables, and multiplayer, but criticized the map in Castle Club, saying it was "confusing". Joystiq gave 3 stars out of 5, being more critical, while praising the basic gameplay and online options, criticizing the Castle Club for being sparse and dispensable and noting the safe, conservative approach to the game such as the uninspired environments. Thomas Whitehead of Nintendo Life compared Mario Golf: Word Tour favorably to Mario Tennis Open. He praised the attention to detail that gives the game its charm, such as in Castle Club as well as its reasonable skill curve that allows both novice and expert players to enjoy the game. He gave the game a score of 9/10. The game was scored 83% by Official Nintendo Magazine. Mario Golf: World Tour currently averages a score of 78 out of a possible 100 on Metacritic. Overall, the game was praised for its gameplay and graphics, but criticized for the lack of content in the Castle Club and, by some reviewers, for being too safe.
References to other games
Trophy description from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
In PAL versions of Mario Golf: World Tour, the exclamation marks are missing from the animation for Birdie, Eagle, and Albatross. One is present in the Hole-in-One animation, however. Also, the Hole-in-One words that appear are different, the PAL having "HOLE-IN-ONE!", wheras the NTSC version has "HOLE IN ONE!!", leaving out the dashes.
Pre-release and unused content
In some pre-release screenshots, the animations for "Birdie" or "Bogey" had orange circles and letters, whereas in the final game, they're blue. The letters and wording was also different in the final version, with different colours, fonts and sizes. Many holes where different, either moved or changed completely. Dark transparent boxes were also added behind the wording of certain course information, and some things were moved to different parts of the screen.
Mario Golf: World Tour was created by staff at both Camelot and Nintendo, with localization teams from both Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe also involved, the latter organization involving sixteen translators to bring the game to a variety of languages. Both Shigeru Miyamoto and Koji Kondo were involved as supervisors. Finally, while she was not listed in the game's credits, Kerri Kane portrayed Rosalina via recycled and previously unused voice clips from her earlier work on Mario Kart 7.