‘Mario Golf: Super Rush’ revives a nostalgic sports title with motion controls

Shannon Liao

THE WASHINGTON POST – If you miss the putting green, Nintendo has you covered: Mario Golf: Super Rush arrives on the Nintendo Switch this June 25.

The series dates back to the late 1980s, when games were still being released on floppy disks and inserted into the Nintendo Famicom Disk System. Like the previous games, in Super Rush you can play as Mario or any of a series of familiar faces. There’s a story mode where you face off against bosses using your golf skills, as well as a regular golf mode for playing against friends or computer foes.

The Washington Post was allowed to preview the game ahead of time. From what we’ve seen so far, Mario Golf: Super Rush is a big improvement on the 2014 Mario Golf World Tour title on the Nintendo 3DS. In Super Rush, players can use motion controls to swing the Nintendo Switch joy-cons as if they’re actually swinging a golf club, making this game reminiscent of Wii Sports titles.

In Super Rush, players who crave a good story can try Golf Adventure mode, where they start off in Camp House, which is the birthplace of golf in the Mushroom Kingdom.

They play as a Mii character they customise (unfortunately playing as the iconic Mario is not an option).

Birdo, a pink dinosaur-like character from the Mario games, is the Camp House mama, and players will need to talk to her to get situated.

Mario Golf: Super Rush. PHOTO: NINTENDO

Golf Adventure is littered with mysterious characters that the player can talk to, and some who will become important to the story later on. Wario and Waluigi are also present.

We don’t know too much of what the story is about so far, but we do know there are multiple bosses players take on by completing various golf challenges.

Those who want to skip the story and just play golf can do that.

In Super Rush, players unlock characters and golf courses over time, either by playing more games of golf or progressing through the Golf Adventure.

There are 16 characters and six golf courses to unlock, not including the Mii characters that can be added in.

Many of those 16, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Bowser, will be familiar to players returning to the franchise; some are new additions. It’s the first time that Mario’s first love interest, Pauline, and Charging Chuck, who is still dressed like he’s playing American football, are making it into a Mario Golf game.

Each character has a special shot that makes the game more fantastical than real-life golf. Yoshi’s special shot, for instance, turns golf balls into eggs. Bowser Jr has a special shot that adds a smoke screen to obscure players’ vision of their ball and where they are trying to aim. Donkey Kong has a powerful explosion that blasts away all balls in the surrounding area and any characters nearby.

At its core, however, Mario Golf is still all about golf as we know it: getting the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. The game’s characters will emote when they land a particularly good shot, such as a birdie putt. When they fail to make par, they’ll look upset. The game has a golf guide section that players can pull up to reference golf lingo, rules and gameplay controls.

Of the settings in the game, Rookie Course looks more like a traditional golf course, while some courses like Ridgerock Lake or Bowser Highlands will feature more recognisable elements from Mario games. Ridgerock Lake, for instance, features Ty-foo, enemies from the Mario franchise that are giant clouds that blow across the map, presenting a challenge to players trying to aim precisely.

Two parts of the game were not shown during the media preview The Post attended: solo challenge and battle golf.

Other than those, the game comes with modes like standard golf and speed golf – where the goal is to hit the ball, then chase it down and finish each hole as fast as possible.

Network play is available to connect and play with online friends. Up to two people can share one Joy-Con each from a single Switch console, while up to four can play together online.

So far, Mario Golf: Super Rush looks like a bustling wave of nostalgia.