On the face of things, playing a game of golf on the Nintendo Switch might seem like a rather mundane pursuit. But as with any other Mario game, Mario Golf: Super Rush has a few twists tucked away in its golf bag.
At its core, this golfing game features the simple side of play that you might expect. Players get to swing a club in the golf shoes of some 16 classic characters, including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser, Donkey Kong, etc. And each has his or her own skill stats that aid their abilities on the green.
They start off on basic courses and work their way up to harder challenges involving volcanos, deserts, man-eating plants and the like. And depending on age or skill level, gamers can just give their ball a good whack and hope to get as close as possible to the hole, or use special controls to curve their shot, add spin to the ball, and apply other fine-tuning adjustments that help master the course elevations, weather, wind and terrain.
Then we have specialty Mushroom Kingdom modes to tee up. The expansive Golf Adventure, for instance, puts you in the ranks of other promising rookies and uses fun activities that range from target practice to golfing boss battles to help boost your digital golfing skills. Your Mii avatar levels up as you get better at learning the controls, and that prepares you for other more difficult challenges.
Speed Golf Mode tosses you and up to three friends (and their favorite Mario characters) into a golfing melee race, of sorts. You not only compete against each other to get the best shot on the course, but then see who can run to the next location the fastest. (Strategic bumping and tackling of your competitors is allowed.)
And then there’s Battle Golf mode, which takes place in an arena and pits players against each other in a capture-the-flag-style struggle. You must work against environmental hazards and other player attacks while claiming as many holes on the course as possible. And all of the more difficult modes not only press you to be more accurate in your golfing techniques but make the action more frantic and laugh-worthy.
Mario Golf: Super Rush can be played solo with AI competitors; in online multiplayer mode with up to three friends via split-screen; or in Local Play mode with friends who bring over their own Switch consoles.
Those who want a further challenge can apply their skills with full golf swings of the separate Joy-Cons. It’s a bit tougher to gauge your shots, but it gives players a closer sense of actually swinging a golf club.
There’s nothing much to worry here, other than the possibility of getting angry over how good that Bowser can be with his oversized shell and a one-handed club swing.
Yep, you may think this little golfing game could be a big bore. But somehow—through frantic golfing modes, multiplayer flexibility and quirky Mario character charm—Nintendo has once again created a game that has something for all ages and skill levels. Fore!
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.