Almost 10 years ago Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario brosHow was it possible that the best known plumber in the world had no problem participating in karting races with Bowser, his worst enemy. The question makes sense, since in games like Mario Kart, Mario Tennis or Mario Golf, the conflict seems to be put aside based on a single objective: to compete.
The Nintendo creative, of course, had a ready answer: “What happens is that, depending on the story we are telling, Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Toad and Peach are more like actors. It is like Popeye and those ancient characters, where each character adopts different roles according to the different episodes ”.
Returning to this premise, Mario Golf: Super Rush, released on Nintendo Switch last week, explains why everyone is invited to the party.
The launch of Nintendo goes back to a saga that has an important history in the Nintendo tradition and that, after going through different versions, reached its final form on Switch: fun, multiplayer and portable.
Mario Golf: Super Rush
But that sadly feels like a wasted opportunity – it has a few issues that don’t make it a title up to Nintendo’s standards, like a story mode that could have been a lot better than it is and graphics, at times, that seem two generations ago.
Despite this, Mario Golf Super Rush It is a good way to enter the world of this sport, which has a lot of technical terminology. And that Nintendo always tried to “lower” the child audience, to expand it for 34 years to other horizons, even involving professional golfers.
A game of Golf? Since 1984, on NES and Famicom
The first game dedicated to the sport of Golf that Nintendo released was the eponymous Golf, on 1984.
There was no Mario or any character there, for the simple reason that the video game tried to be the closest thing to a golf simulator of the time.
Two years later Nintendo wanted to try something new: it launched the strange Famicom Disk System, a peripheral that was sold only in the Japanese version of the console and that worked with floppy disks. Two deliveries for this device came out in Japan, called Golf (Japan Curse) Y Golf (US Curse).
The idea of the system was something that the Japanese company always prioritized in its business model: community. Players could take these records to kiosks found in stores that sold video games for record scores. And he even handed out prizes for the best scores and holes in one.
The diskette that was taken to the stores to upload the scores. Photo Twitter: Defthead
The modality was successful: Nintendo estimates that it sold between both diskettes 1.3 million Of units. Yes: over a million golf games, with Mario on the cover of the game as a gateway to the massive.
The truth is that the idea was germ there: Mario, in addition to fixing pipes and rescuing princesses, also knew how to play golf.
And this would prove it four years later, in Nes Open Tournament, a game that already took place in the Mushroom Kingdom.
The art of Nes Open Tournament Golf. Twitter: VideoGameArt & Tidbits
This already marked a hallmark of Nintendo: just as Disney had Mickey as an icon and visible face throughout the world, Mario was already outlining as the endearing character that the Japanese company would adopt as its unequivocal identity.
And little by little, golf became much less important than Mario.
Golf can also tell stories
Nintendo’s strategy diversified into two types of games: on the one hand, the more arcade-like ones, such as Mario Golf 64 (1999), where playability is prioritized against other players, who are easier to play. Pick up and play.
On the other, the RPG. RPG games, known as “role-playing” games, are those where we are told a story through characters that can be keep improving throughout the game. How do you apply this to a game of golf?
Simple: making us use an inexperienced character who, with practice, patience and perseverance, is able to master the art of hitting that little ball so that it is as close to the hole as possible.
Mario Golf on Game Boy Color is Camelot’s first game. Photo Nintendo
To carry out this strategy, Nintendo turned to another company: Camelot, which is the one in charge of adapting Mario’s golf experiences (and tennis, But that is another story).
In this line are Mario Golf on Game Boy Color (which came out the same year as the Nintendo 64 delivery, 1999), and its sequel, Mario Golf: Advance Tour for Game Boy Advance. These are two highly critically acclaimed games.
From there, Nintendo understood that the formula of maintaining two types of titles Mario Golf World Tour, from 3DS, revived the concept of Arcade, with 16 circuits with more than 200 holes and 21 characters, Leaving the RPG aside.
And now, Mario Golf: Super Rush recovers the idea of telling a story through this sport, taking our protagonist to a country where we must improve our skills to be able to compete against the best in the world: Mario and his friends (and enemies).
“Mario Golf: Super Rush”: what works and what doesn’t
Mario Golf: Super Rush. Photo Nintendo
Super rush bases the gameplay on a new cheat (gimmick), as almost all Nintendo games usually have: a new, distinctive mechanic that differentiates it from the rest of the saga. And this is the “Super rush”: hit the ball and run to the next position, in the mode “Speed Golf”.
In the middle we find classic enemies from the Mario universe, coins, some improvements and obstacles. However, this modality is not entirely convincing and it becomes a bit repetitive.
Beyond the multiplayer mode and the possibility of playing online with friends (one of the weak points in the Nintendo universe, where there is not even “Voice chat” chat while playing), the game follows the tradition of those developed by Camelot and has its RPG element with the “Adventure” mode.
The premise is very good: our own character (made based on the universe Mii, the avatar that we use in our console) is going to spend a stay in a kind of country where you are going to take classes to be able to play golf, improve and eventually compete against elite players who, of course, are Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Boo, Toad and several other iconic characters.
Our character can improve his statistics as he progresses. Capture on Nintendo Switch
Thus, through a circuit of training, classifications and tests, we can improve our character by choosing the way we want him to play: power, grip, speed and other parameters can be improved with points.
Here the RPG element shines, allowing us to customize our player to even face some battles with final bosses (yes, bosses in a game of golf!).
Meanwhile, classic enemies like Goombas,Koopas and Shy Guys They act as visitors to the country and pose challenges for us and also teach us game mechanics.
Now the game has two very big problems.
First of all, the graphic aspect. Although Nintendo Switch is a console that has its limitations and is well below the graphical capabilities of a Playstation 4 or Xbox One, nVidia’s custom processor has shown wonders such as Super mario odyssey Y Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Mario Golf: Super Rush it looks, at times, quite bad.
Everything seems to indicate that Camelot sacrificed performance for the graphics section: run to 60 FPS no issues, but the textures of the trees, the water, even some edges extremely “sawed” really make you think that the graphics They are not up to the standards of a Nintendo title.
Mario Golf: Super Rush doesn’t have the best graphics on the console. Photo Capture Nintendo Switch
But the biggest problem in the game comes from its story mode: the route in the country makes almost no sense. He just does what they tell us, go to sleep, and play a tournament. While upgrades can be purchased, the offer is limited.
On the other hand, the movements of our character they feel very stiff at times.
On the credit side, the mechanics of golf itself is fun, it has a wide range of possibilities that “respect” the rules of the game and the multiplayer is entertaining.
A) Yes, Mario Golf: Super Rush It ends up being a good game of Golf, but Camelot seems to have wasted the opportunity to tell a good story.
Something that since 1984, Nintendo has been doing very well with almost any genre that it puts in the Mario universe.
Mario Golf: Super Rush costs 5,460 pesos plus taxes in the Nintendo Argentina online store.