Is Mario Golf: Super Rush a hole-in-one or a bit duff?
Super Rush offers golfers two control schemes: a standard button-based swing system and motion controls. The button-based control scheme is fairly self-explanatory - press once to start your swing and press again to set the power. Accuracy is determined by a cone that funnels outside of the meter, the margin of error increases in unison with the power of your shot. Simply put - the shorter the distance, the more accurate the shot will be. Unless you find yourself in the rough, or a bunker. Then shots using the button system can be infuriatingly inaccurate at any distance. You can also add spin and alter the trajectory of your shot by moving the joystick left, right, up, or down during the follow-through.
Super Rush's motion controls are an entirely different beast. You hold the SL button on the Joy-Con and take your swing. It's very reminiscent of Wii Sports. Unfortunately, this doesn't work that well when tackling Super Rush's trickier courses. Full swings are manageable and are fairly easy to hit on target, but shots that requires a delicate touch, require plenty of practice... and a wrist strap.
Mario Golf: Super Rush comes with a few different modes. Speed Golf sees you racing to finish each hole as fast as you can. Each shot adds 30 seconds to your time. Coins and hearts are scattered across the fairways. Coins help fill your special shot bar and hearts replenish much-needed stamina. Everyone is also playing simultaneously for added chaos. There's also a points-based variation of Speed Golf. Which is essentially match play and can lead to some fantastically tight contests.
Battle Golf uses the mechanics of Speed Golf and increases the mayhem. Up to four players compete in a stadium course with nine flags to aim at. The first player to secure three flags wins. The twist is that once a flag is claimed, it's gone from the game. Battle Golf emphasises strategy. There are two layouts available: one that's fairly straightforward and another that's filled with enemies and obstacles. Battle Golf brings in even more random chaos than Speed Golf, making it the perfect party game.
There are 16 playable characters available. Each comes equipped with a special shot and a super dash to mess with their opponents. For instance, Bowser Jr's (my go-to golfer) super shot unleashes fog upon landing, adding yet another hazard to the course. During his super dash, Yoshi rolls around on a giant egg and can run over opponents. These two central mechanics often look cool in motion and are incredibly useful in Speed Golf.
Par For The Course
With the exception of two traditional courses that look like actual golf courses, Super Rush's courses teeter between absurd and horrific. In the best possible way.
Ridgerock Lake is set along cliffs surrounded by water. Ty-foos guard greens with strong gusts, and vertical wind tunnels that can send you and your ball up to another level. Balmy Dunes, a desert course, has towering Pokeys to block shots, quicksand, and, as with Ridgerock, elevation changes.
Wild Weather Woods uses unpredictable conditions to mess with your game. Dark spots randomly appear and are prone to lightning strikes if you swing your club too far back.
The final course, Bowser Highlands, is a molten-themed track with Lava Bubbles. Bob-ombs, Whomps, and Chain Chomps are also scattered across the course.
Unfortunately, to unlock all of the courses, you have to work your way through Golf Adventure as your Mii. It's more of an overly long tutorial rather than a role-playing golf journey.
In Golf Adventure, your Mii is a rookie working toward becoming a golf superstar by earning badges that unlock new tournaments and courses. Earning a badge is a multi-step process, you'll take a short training course, which introduces you to new mechanics. Once this is complete you'll move onto competing against AI opponents in either three, six, or nine-hole challenges. Like Mario Tennis Aces, there are a few boss battles, which feel out of place, but are thankfully short-lived.
My two biggest issues with Golf Adventure are: 1.) being forced to play through the entire mode (roughly six hours) to unlock the more interesting courses. And 2.) by the end, your Mii will be the fastest, strongest, most accurate golfer on the roster. Making them an almost "cheat" character for multiplayer... mine has already been banned in our house.
Like most sports games, Mario Golf: Super Rush's main appeal is in its multiplayer against actual humans, whether online or locally. When playing locally, up to four players can jump into standard golf, but only two can play at a time in Battle Golf and Speed Golf, which is a bit of a downer. The online mode works well, with very little time waiting for a match and I haven't experienced any performance issues. You can create your own room for friends to join or search for open rooms with filters to find what you're looking for.
Mario Golf: Super Rush really is a game of two halves (not a golf reference, I know). Multiplayer is chaotic and hilarious. Players sabotaging each others shots always get a laugh (unless you're on the receiving end). Golfers simultaneously sprinting to take their shots is as frantic as it sounds. And it's always fun to try and knock your opponent into a Ty-foo or lava. But at the same time, you'll often find yourself stripping back the anarchy and getting back to basics in a solo mode. Because Mario Golf: Super Rush, in its quieter moments, is also a decent golf sim.