Mario Golf is one of the many sports spin-offs that have emerged from the Super Mario franchise over the years. Known for being easy to pick up and accessible to all ages, the series has shown up in one form or another on almost all of Nintendo’s consoles over the years. However, as is customary with Nintendo, this series didn’t stay the same for very long.
Similar to the Mario Kart series, each game in the Mario Golf series brought a brand new feature to the table that gamers and golfers alike could enjoy. While some of these features were groundbreaking additions, others were a bit smaller – but all of them stand out as great additions to any game.
6th Mario Golf (Nintendo 64) remains the only entry with a mini golf mode
Originally released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, this was the game that was to start the entire series. First in the series, Mario Golf is a pretty standard golf game, albeit with mushroom people and a fire-breathing turtle. There were many game modes to choose from, but most of them were quite traditional for this type of game.
Even so, Mario Golf had one particularly notable feature: an entire game mode that never appeared again in the series, mini golf. Players could work their way through several Mario-themed mini golf courses. It was an ideal party mode for people playing with friends and has not performed since the series debuted.
5 Mario Golf (Game Boy Color) with an RPG-like story mode
As the port of the N64 Mario Golf, this Game Boy Color version was very limited in its scope. From fewer characters to fewer modes, this GBC port doesn’t seem like much in terms of new features, but the port’s developer, Camelot, went a step further to ensure it could still be an interesting game.
One of the only new features in this game was a story mode that included several RPG elements like leveling up the player character and an actual storyline. In addition, the story mode included exploration and the ability to interact with other characters. It was an odd addition that not only worked surprisingly well, but also helped the game stand out from its console counterpart.
4th Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour scattered Mario opponents across the fairway as obstacles
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour was released on the GameCube in 2003 and worked pretty well as the first True Blue sequel to the series. It introduced more characters, courses, game modes, and more complex controls. Toadstool Tour has increased the stakes on all points that are important for a continuation of a series. By far the best addition to the game, however, was the introduction of classic Mario opponents as stage hazards.
Thwomps, womps, boos and many more populate the courses with the sole intention of confusing golfers as they play. While it may not seem like much, the introduction of enemies from the main line of Mario games went a long way in helping to substantiate Mario Golf’s identity as a proper Mario spin-off and adding some cartoon characters to the game.
3rd Mario Golf: Advance Tour brought back RPG mode, but with more focus on exploration
Advance Tour was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2004 and had a relationship with Toadstool Tour that was similar to the relationship between the N64 and GBC titles. Advance Tour included a story mode similar to the previous handheld title and was expanded this time around.
A number of new collectibles were introduced, from 1-Ups that allowed them to level up for free while collecting, to special tickets that players could use to create custom clubs. These new collectibles promoted the RPG staple of exploration while promoting the existing RPG elements of its predecessor.
2 Mario Golf: World Tour dived into Mario Kart territory with mysterious item blocks
World Tour was the 3DS portion of the franchise after there wasn’t a new title for 10 years. The series came back (no pun intended) with a new feature that was very reminiscent of a classic Mario Kart feature: Item Shots.
By hitting the ball through mystery blocks, players were able to obtain a random item that gives their next shot a unique power-up to bypass hazards on the pitch. It was a spin on the Mario Kart item blocks that helped add a little extra strategy for a shot and brought some of Mario Kart’s crazy energy to the golf series.
1 Mario Golf: Super Rush’s Speed Golf literally lets everyone play at the same time
Released worldwide on June 25, 2021, Mario Golf: Super Rush turned a classic game mode – Speedgolf – on its head. In previous games, Speedgolf worked much like the time trial in Mario Kart, with the aim of completing a course as quickly as possible. Super Rush completely redesigns the mode with all players shooting at the same time, running to their ball as soon as it lands, and then firing again.
On their way to the hole, they can use items and special shots to disrupt their opponents and gain an advantage. At the end of the course, your end result is a combination of the time it took to complete each hole along with the number of strokes made. It’s chaotic fun that beautifully turns the traditional game of golf on its head.
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About the author
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Jacob Rosenberg is a comic book resource gaming writer. He lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida and is a writer, reader, and gamer. Currently enrolled as a majoring in writing at the University of Tampa.
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