Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour Review

By Shane Dub, GN Writer

For years Nintendo has used Mario as a backbone to fall on. He’s something concrete and original, and it’s clear that everything he touches turns to gold. It didn’t occur to anyone that golf was one of Mario’s favorite pass times until the original Mario Golf 64. With the success of that, you already know not to underestimate the deepness of his overall pockets, and with the release of Toadstool Tour, you finally get an idea of how hard it is to fill them. Aside from his fashion choice, not plural, Mario has done well for himself off and on the golf course. Let’s just hope he’ll be adding Peach to his trophy cases one of these days.

The game starts off with another one of Mario’s famous cut scene intros, which appear in almost all of his sports games. This already gives you a fine understanding of how the game will run. Just imagine a normal golf game with a twist. Then imagine a society that accepts dinosaurs, talking turtles and living pink vacuums as the norm. Although its worth to note nobody’s sure Birdo is accepted there either. Besides from her (him?) you’ll have to deal with all the other playable critters like Wario, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Koopa and more, along with the not so controllable chain chomps, gigantic mushrooms, floating coins, pipes, etc. Even with all those examples, however, they didn’t give it the Mario feel that it should’ve had. For one, you won’t get to enjoy any of the pipes and such until the fourth course, Peach’s invitational. But once you get there, it really picks up. Problem is there were many more other aspects they could’ve put into the earlier courses.

Now, the main focus when it came to gameplay would have to be, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it". It plays a lot like the original for 64, except with many more gameplay options, giving it an incredible amount of depth, playtime and of course water hazards. To be more specific, there are 13 play modes to choose from, however some only deserve around one or two plays if you are a loner gamer. Tournament mode is the main mode, where you compete to unlock new golf courses. Next is character match, where you face off against a computer player to give your character a power boost, and eventually unlock new characters. In doubles you’ll have to alternate between a partner, stroke for stroke. In ring shot and coin attack you’ll be trying to aim your ball for your targets (rings and coins). At the start of each turn for club shots, you’ll be left without a random club, thanks to the slot machine. There are other games such as stroke play, speed golf, training and near pin, which are self explanatory.

Speaking of self explanatory, as with most other Nintendo titles, they’ve made it easy for everyone to learn, but still fun for the gaming masters. It’s still the same 3 button click system as the original, except with a few added features. Now you can choose from auto swing or manual swing. Manual swing will give you the option to add topspin or backspin. On the other hand, if you suck and don’t like water, auto swing is for you, because it automatically chooses your impact point, hence the word ‘auto swing’. With both swings, however, you’ll be able to curve your ball around trees and such by adjusting where your club will hit the ball. Once you’ve figured all that out, make sure to incorporate the fact that your favorite buddy will be traveling along with you. Of course I’m talking about wind.

One thing to consider before buying Toadstool Tour is the fact that it’s not your normal PGA tour, or Tiger Woods golf game. It’s a lot simpler, and it just doesn’t have the great in-game mechanics that they have to make it a classic golf game. The camera angle skips, making it very hard to pin point exactly where your ball is going to land, it’s not very hard to master, there’s no difficulty levels to set, etc. The problem here is there is so much more room for improvement, so much more things they could’ve incorporated into the game. It’s almost as if there were things left out on purpose just so they can improve on it when it comes to the next installment. Nonetheless, if you’re going for simple but incredibly fun golf game mechanics, this is the best in the league.

As soon as you turn on the game you’re instantly flustered with the rich animation and cartoonish, but stunning, character models the big N is known for. Once you get into gameplay, the graphics downsize from the intro cut scene, but are still pleasing to the eyes. The creative assembly of environments, golf courses if you will, are what makes the game’s graphics so admirable. Individual glades of grass will spit out from under your club into the air when you swing, and depending on which character you are, a different effect will trail along with the ball. In short, it’s nothing more or less then you’d expect from a Mario game.

The sound in the game is above par, if you will, almost a birdie. The game comprises of a handful of cheery tunes, which alternate from course to course and driving to putting. They’re not quite as catchy as the mainstream Mario adventure games, but they do the trick. They even shoved in a few tunes from the good ol’ days, just remixed a bit to become golf friendly. Besides from the music, you’ll hear voices from all your favorite Mushroom Kingdom superstars in the cut scenes. Even Boo will come along for the ride as he floats across the screen shrieking for you to hurry up. Also, just when you thought all was well in the Mushroom Kingdom, Yoshi throws in a few taunts to Mario and it all goes to hell. Every character has a list of eight taunts they can produce, four good and four bad, but equally as annoying and disruptive in multiplayer as it would be in a normal golf game.

All things considered, Toadstool Tour is a successful installment of the Mario Golf series, sporting a wide variety of play modes, amazing animations and a undeniably fun multiplayer and single player experience. If you’re into plumbers with no butt cracks hanging out, and a good simple and not too serious game of golf, this one is definitely worth a shot. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Boo’s getting a little mad.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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