Whether you’re a longtime Nintendo fan or have an appreciation for simple sports games, you've likely enjoyed at least one round of Mario Golf in the last 20 years. The series is finally coming to 3DS with Mario Golf: World Tour, and after a brief playthrough, I can say it shares the qualities of the 3DS release in its sister series, Mario Tennis Open, namely straightforward presentation and simplified controls. But the most striking additions to me were the new power-ups that took clever inspiration from Mario’s history.
Mario Golf vets will recognize the familiar normal and power shots, but now there are “item” swings that can change up your strokes on a course considerably. Item shots were fairly similarly to the power-ups in Mario Kart. Your ball hits a special block on the course, which unlocks a shot like a Fire Flower ability, which makes your ball bounce like Mario’s trademark fireballs. Meanwhile, the Bullet Bill item gives your drive enough extra oomph to be unaffected by the wind, and the Power-Up Mushroom gives the ball extra rolling power.
These abilities all fly in the face of traditional golf rules, but the abilities make this entry in the franchise feel more like Mario than ever before. (And it all looks great in stereoscopic 3D). In retrospect, it’s surprising that the series never had abilities like this before, so these item abilities feel long overdue. Here’s hoping I’ll find even more crazy powers when the final game launches in early May.
Read on to see the powerful new items in action…