Mario Golf: Super Rush review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Camelot
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

The more I play Mario Golf: Super Rush, the more I find myself struck by an incredible feeling of indifference to the whole thing. It?s not good, it?s certainly not bad — it?s just a moderately above-average game that exists and that I?ve sunk several hours into, towards which I have pretty much no strong feelings.

Mind you, feeling that way after sinking plenty of hours into all the modes the game has to offer is probably indicative of something. After all, if there?s one thing a game like this should be doing, it?s making you feel excited to play an arcade-y version of golf with the all-stars of Mario?s universe. That it?s not the case suggests something has gone wrong along the way.

The problem, I think, is that it?s not quite arcade-y enough. Yes, there are modes and hazards and power-ups you wouldn?t find in real golf — and I?ll get to those in a moment — but they?re not emphasized here to the same extent that they were in Mario Tennis Aces. Where that turned tennis into the kind of over-the-top spectacle you?d expect from Nintendo, in Mario Golf: Super Rush, golf doesn?t feel that far off from what you?d play in PGA 2K.

This is a problem, because PGA 2K21 excelled at providing players with a very deep game with loads of content that could be picked up by pretty much anyone. Mario Golf: Super Rush, by contrast, offers a very shallow golf experience, with only a handful of courses to choose from and very little control over what your player can do. I?m not saying I want a game where you have to master dozens of different courses while figuring out angles and lies and all those other things that can make golf frustrating — but I am saying that I want an experience that goes a little deeper than whacking at a golf ball, running after it, and then whacking it again.

Or, to put it more simply: anybody could pick up and play PGA 2K21 and figure it out pretty quickly. Mario Golf: Super Rush demands that you put in lots of time just to learn the basics (you could even argue that the career/story mode is basically one long tutorial), yet, bizarrely, isn?t all that deep.

It?s even more frustrating because there are lots of good elements in Mario Golf: Super Rush that could have amounted to a lot more. The courses — limited though they are — are somewhat interesting, and you occasionally have to dodge tornados and run around rolling rock creatures. Likewise, each character has his/her/its own power-up, which you can use to great effect when you?re playing in battle or speed mode, whether you want to dash down the green and shove your opponents out of the way, or launch a golf ball that basically doubles as a grenade. And, building on that last point, the modes here offer glimpses of a really good arcade game — one where you can battle it out with friends as you try to be the first to win a few flags, race through a course as quickly as you can, or take part in a story mode that sees you playing a few different types of courses and modes.

But the moments where everything comes together and the game genuinely feels fun are far too rare. Obviously, given it?s from Nintendo, you know that Mario Golf: Super Rush will be competently made, and you could never describe it as a bad game. But there?s a difference between not bad, and genuinely good or enjoyable — and it?s a gulf that Mario Golf: Super Rush never quite manages to get out of.

Nintendo provided us with a Mario Golf: Super Rush Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-