Even though it's a real life sport that isn't for everyone, golf is rather easy to get into when it comes to video games. No series has established that better than Nintendo's Mario Golf. Players of all ages and skill sets can easily get into the game's three-press swing mechanics while taking on a variety of courses and challenges, either on their own or with others in multiplayer. It's proven to be a real hit, and sometime this year, it will continue to do so on the 3DS with Mario Golf: World Tour.
If that title sounds familiar, that's because it was initially set for release this past August, before Nintendo opted to push it to 2014. This slight delay will be worth it, however, as the club-swinging antics of Mario and company should be just as much fun as in previous games, if not more so.
The same three-press swing style of play should once again make a return, as you'll start off your swing moving along a power gauge. You'll hit the button again to determine just how much power you want to use on a swing – sometimes you'll want to take it easy when it comes to approaching the green – and the final press will determine accuracy, based on a small portion of the meter at the end of the power bar.
It's important to get down the timing when it comes to the swing, as you can easily hook or slice a shot if you misjudge accuracy, or wind up short on a shot if you don't utilize enough power. Thankfully, Mario Golf's system will be more than fair, and can be mastered in just a few shots.
On top of that, each character in the game has "Super Shots" to use. Once activated, these enable additional strength and accuracy behind a shot, allowing the player to get a small advantage over their cohorts. You'll want to use these wisely, however, as there are only a certain number available.
What we do know, though, is that the game will feature a number of fantastic courses, featuring elements from the Mario universe strewn into beautiful 3D environments. A flower garden course, for instance, features a Mega Goomba stomping around confidently, not about to be shaken up by a golf ball. Other courses feature environments similar to beach and desert courses featured in other Mario games, such as the Mario Kart series.
Players also vary in terms of skill. Mario, for instance, has a general balancing of his skills when it comes to power and swing accuracy. Others, such as Bowser and Donkey Kong, differ because of their larger size, making them more efficient at hitting the ball down the course. However, their accuracy takes a small step back as a result. The cast, which also includes Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario and Waluigi – among other soon-to-be-announced characters – should offer more than enough diversity, no matter what type of skill set players bring to the course.
It's all in good fun, as the game should feature various courses and challenges to choose from. In addition, multiplayer will also play a huge part in World Tour. Players will be able to challenge one another across the Nintendo Network – as well as local Wi-Fi play – in either friendly competitions or heated themed matches. Using a new Community feature, you'll be able to find opponents with ease, and then challenge them right then and there for superiority on the links.
For those of you that don't have time for a full 18 holes in real-time play, there will also be the opportunity to upload your scores via leaderboards, so you can still take part in widespread tournaments and compare your best rounds with others. Tournament rules can also be modified, such as banning special shots, creating contests on smaller par 3 style courses, or seeing who care fare best with a particular character, such as Mario or someone else.
Finally, Mario Golf: World Tour will feature some variant of gyroscopic support, though Nintendo hasn't spilled the beans just how yet. Players may be able to adjust their aim in real-time using the system's motion sensors, or even adjust their viewing and swing angle for better accuracy. We'll get a better idea of what this, along with the 3DS' touch-screen, will do for the gameplay in the months ahead.
Without an official release date, we don't know when we'll hit the driving range with Mario Party: World Tour, but rest assured that it'll be a fun golfing contest when it eventually arrives. Be sure to check back for strategies and course information soon.