Mario sports games are well known for providing a fun take on classic sports, like Mario Strikers Charged from back in 2007. However, since then, the Mario sports titles have been a mixed bag in some cases. Mario’s first sports outing on Nintendo Switch, Mario Tennis Aces, offered a return to form with yet another creative spin on an iconic sport. Yet while Camelot‘s Mario Golf: Super Rush manages to deliver a solid golfing experience, the results are quite generic.
Super Rush‘s gameplay is nothing too extraordinary, offering simple golf mechanics with a Mario coat of paint. However, the game’s biggest issue is its lack of personality compared to in previous Mario sports titles. The presentation here is nowhere near as interesting as in Mario Golf: World Tour for Nintendo 3DS, for instance. World Tour featured a wide array of courses that fit into the world of Mario, whereas Mario Golf: Super Rush attempts to insert real-world elements. There’s still a hint of creativity in some courses, but most of them feel out of place and are boring as a result. The opening cutscene is the complete opposite of this, which embraces the wacky Mario shenanigans that we all love so much. On the other hand, there is a diverse lineup of Mario characters, even including the likes of King Bob-omb from Super Mario 64.
Obviously, the aim of the game is to play golf, and Mario Golf: Super Rush is extremely accessible. There are four different modes to choose from, including Standard Golf, Speed Golf, Battle Golf, and Golf Adventure. The Standard Golf mode is what you’d expect, offering an approachable method to learn the game’s mechanics. However, Speed and Battle Golf are where Mario Golf: Super Rush truly shines. Speed Golf sees you hitting the ball, chasing it down, and finishing each hole as fast as you can. If you are playing against the CPU, this can be especially frustrating, but playing with friends can be an enjoyable experience. Battle Golf is a similar kind of hectic fun, where you fight against one another to score three flags.
The aptly titled Golf Adventure mode in Mario Golf: Super Rush puts you in the shoes of a Mii as they compete to become the best golfer in the Mushroom Kingdom. This was the mode that I was the most excited about, but unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy my time playing it. For the most part, you will be repeating various golf courses to hone your golfing skills, followed by a qualifying round. This is a formula that becomes repetitive rapidly. At times, I couldn’t motivate myself to play through the campaign, as I felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again. Completing a round of golf does reward you with skill points, but honestly the game wouldn’t be much different without them.
Some moments of the single-player adventure were quite charming, including fun interactions with other Mario characters as you attempt to rise to the top of the ranks. At the beginning of the adventure, you are a rookie alongside Chargin’ Chuck, Boo, and Toadette. The final section of Golf Adventure is probably the best part about this mode, as it introduces you to the game’s best course and concludes with an enjoyable final boss-like encounter. It would have been nice to see more of this throughout the entirety of the campaign to increase motivation to keep playing.
As far as performance goes, the game runs brilliantly in both docked and handheld modes, with outstanding visuals. However, the same cannot be said for the game’s online functionality, which is abysmal. In my experience with Mario Golf: Super Rush, the servers have been plagued by constant drops in frame rate and connectivity issues, even with a fast internet connection. There is also no real incentive to playing online either, as there is no ranked mode or rewards for doing so. Nintendo and Camelot may implement such things in future updates, as they confirmed during the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct that more content was planned for the future.
Ultimately, Mario Golf: Super Rush is an underwhelming spin-off that lacks any sort of imagination but is still fun to play. Super Rush features accessible golfing mechanics that are easy to understand, with tutorials available at any time. There are some genuinely charming moments in the single-player Golf Adventure mode too, but they don’t make up for the tedious progression system. The other modes such as Speed Golf are fun to play with a group of friends, but online performance is abysmal. If you are after another fun “party” game, then you may be interested in giving Mario Golf: Super Rush a spin, but this game could have been much more than what it is.
A review code for Mario Golf: Super Rush was provided by Nintendo.