Nintendo has recently been on a downward spiral. Setting the Wii U aside, there is still a persistent issue on the software side of things. Recent releases like New Super Mario Bros., upcoming titles such as Hyrule Warriors, and the miserable failure that was The Year of Luigi have all been followed by the resounding question: “Why?” Add another game to the list for the questioning, because Mario Golf: World Tour is here.
Before we return to the main question at hand, let’s run over some of the basics. Have you played a golf game before? If so, you have played World Tour. Taking shots rely on moving the shots path indicator to your liking, hitting the a button once for power, then once for how straight that shot will be. Putting requires close inspection of the lay of the land between you and the hole, but as with every other golf game, lines roll down hills to let you know what direction the slope is in and how big of a slope it is. As with every other golf game ever created, wind is the only real variable from hole to hole.
The only aspect truly unique to the Mario Golf series has always been its source material. Using many of the beloved, and some not so beloved (*cough*Waluigi*cough*) characters is one of World Tour‘s only standouts. The courses in past games have taken place in varied and iconic locations for the series, but this time around only three sets of 18 holes are packed in to the main game, with future DLC packs each adding another 18. So far all of the released courses have been noticeably bland compared to the rest of the series.
The only big addition and standout to World Tour is the multiplayer aspect. Really putting the title to good use, players can take their Miis into a global tournament, or just international if they want to stay on a smaller scale. Instead of just seeing a leaderboard at the end of each hole, other players are actively shown of the courses as each shot is taken. Being able to see opponents’ flight path and how their shots stack up to yours is a neat mechanic that gives each course a slightly more competitive feel.
Taking part in the online tournaments is fun, but there is not much depth to World Tour after that. This leads back to the original question. Why does this game exist? Golf games have never had a very competitive following, at least within the home console community. Games like NBA or FIFA take the charge on that. Furthermore, Nintendo has always been a much bigger player in terms of cooperative experiences, and couch ones at that.
While it wouldn’t be a huge system seller, everything about World Tour feels like it would be far more comfortable on the Wii U. For all the people that loved Wii Sports for its bowling and golf mini-games, this could have at least provided some fond memories and maybe moved a few consoles, but limiting World Tour to the 3DS is a dismissive move for Nintendo.
There isn’t much else to say for World Tour. It is as Mario Golf-ish as Mario Golf can get. In the long run, picking it up once every couple of weeks to play in the new tournaments could provide some longevity, but it never provides a great reason to pick up and play more than that. The solidity of the gameplay, while still run of the mill for golf games, would have at least provided something to play with friends on the Wii U, but here on the 3DS Mario Golf: World Tour is about as fun and interesting as watching the amateur tournaments on T.V.
The DLC Experience:
Nintendo has never been great with their online functionality, and that had never been more clear to me than during the twenty minutes it took for me to download the season pass for World Tour. Since DLC is not a required part of the main game, this experience was not taken into account with my score, but I feel it necessary to make people aware of the situation they will be facing when trying to download any pack or season pass through the in game store.
Actually, to the call it an in-game store is false. The only part of the purchasing that really takes place in-game is the selection of which DLC you would like. As soon as it is selected, purchasers are kicked to the eShop to go through all the hoops of setting up the payment type and confirmation numbers as usual.
After all that is completed, the DLC is downloaded and installed to the system, and then downloaded and installed to the game. Why it was downloaded twice I will never know, but what I do know is that Nintendo has a long way to go to catch up with the digital age that video games are quickly being thrust into.