On the whole, aside from some strange menu challenges (finding the extra courses), and an occasionally fidgety camera, the game is a handheld dream.
Super Gamer Dude
Tried and true, the Mario sports titles have changed very little since their N64/SNES debuts. With pick up and play controls, fast multiplayer, and a normally sharp aesthetics, each iteration (no matter how iterative) has managed to win the hearts of gamers across the generations.
Mario 3D World Tour for the Nintendo 3DS is no exception, as it features a multitude of modes and courses, a great learning curve, and arguably the largest set of unlockables the series has ever seen. As well, it has the presentation qualities we've come to expect from Nintendo, and it beefs up in the online realm offering smart multiplayer options and a robust, RPG-like single player campaign that is best described as a cathartic blast.
Focusing first on the single player campaign, players find themselves wandering a slightly obtuse golf club, outfitting their character and cluing into whichever tournament finds them next. It's a personable and cute experience (in a Nintendo type of way), and the color and presentation go a long way in mixing against the stoicism found on the links. Notably, as characters thread and improve their players through gear and other means, and RPG-like stat improvements will be seen and felt. It's apt to say the club comes off like the town portion of your typical RPG (both in look and feel).
Luckily, the game's RPG-ish charm doesn't stop there as it extends logically to the swing-by-swing course play. Thinking of the typical JRPG's deliberative style, the golf gameplay runs at a methodical stop-start pace, enabling players to choose their club (i.e. attack or spell) and then measure their force as it connects. It's the perfect marriage of RPG and sport and while it has been for a few generations, the ideas are still as relevant as they ever were. Further, the game really encourages experimentation and exploration of golf knowledge; offering players highly demanding courses that ask the players to learn terminology, and try different approaches throughout the 54-hole campaign.
Once players complete the story-less campaign, they can continue finding additional equipment and testing their skills in various trials and simple skill improvement tasks. However, competitive players can opt to focus upon the (slightly hidden) additional courses or the varied online play. The developers have expertly crafted a few different modes that both highlight the player-developed skills while inviting replayability. From speed-play to trick shots, to regular, plain old golf, online multiplayer is a tour de force of smooth joy. Mario World Tour 3DS is one of Nintendo's best forays into the online gaming sector; which is a promising turn as they've more regularly adapted their franchises towards online gameplay. One aspect they can improve upon however is to find better ways to is properly incentivize the experience and better reward the more dedicated, and perhaps skilled players. In short; they've got the net code, they've got the gameplay, now they need the lasting appeal.
Rounding out the package is the presentation, which stands out well here with a vibrant color palette and the typical Mario aesthetic exuding its charms. The 3D lends itself very well to the game of golf and the atmosphere and occasional music mix a feeling of 'proper' and a certain sense of the nostalgia seemingly inherent within the Mario universe. On the whole, aside from some strange menu challenges (finding the extra courses), and an occasionally fidgety camera, the game is a handheld dream.
On the whole, Mario World Tour 3DS is a content rich title with tight gameplay and a vibrant presentation. While we've played many iterations of this series, it remains as solid as ever, and it adds just enough zest while retaining its calming roots to be worth a look. As well, the mix of online multiplayer and the allure of on-the-go golfing is a hard combo to pass up.