Once the perceived preserve of the upper class, suddenly golf reached new levels of popularity worldwide both in terms of getting out there and playing and watching on TV.
Another welcome escape for people the world over during the pandemic has been video gaming. Throw the two together and what do you get? The latest installment of the popular Mario Golf series - Super Rush - on Nintendo Switch.
This is the sixth instalment in the Mario Golf franchise and the first release in the series since Mario Golf: World Tour in 2014.
The game features characters from across the Mario franchise with regular competition and other modes. Straight off the bat it must be said the gameplay mechanics, new modes, controls and visuals meet all the expected high standards and then some.
In terms of gameplay, Mario Golf: Super Rush compares favourably to previous titles and while it follows traditional golf rules, the simplistic fewest strokes format there are a number of tools available to players for strategic benefit.
The "Shot Gauge" - showing the direction and the curve on the ball against slopes and the scan feature, which allows you to take a look at the elevation of the hole and course is one such example.
There are two ways to play MG Super Rush. You can approach it with conventional button controls for taking shots or motion controls to simulate hitting the ball with a real swing (make sure you have plenty of room first, though!).
Speed Golf is a new addition and - like Everybody’s Golf - sees players tee off simultaneously in a race to complete the hole before their opponents. After each swing, players run across the course toward their ball to take their next shot, dealing with other players and obstacles along the way. Each character in the game's roster has unique Special Shot and Special Dash abilities to take advantage of such as freezing the ground.
Another new mode - Battle Golf - makes its debut with the same concept of Speed Golf but set in a special arena-course where players have to sink the ball in any three of the nine open holes first to win.
There is also a story mode called Golf Adventure that includes some RPG elements like gaining experience levelling up. You control your own customizable Mii as they become students in a country club and you get to train, and face-off against classmates from the Mushroom Kingdom.
Some gamers want an ultra realistic golf sim experience like EA and more recently 2K bring in their PGA series.
Others prefer a more laid back, pick up and play approach. For me Mario Golf Super Rush is the perfect arcade style golf game which combines a bit of both.
Course designs are top notch and suit the excitement and thrill of Speed Golf to a tee.
There is - as is to be expected in a Nintendo game - an Impressive roster of characters with genuine unique traits. Speed Golf is awesome fun but there is plenty to enjoy in the regular game too.
Unfortunately I just could not get on with motion controls which just don’t feel solid enough to get any real enjoyment or satisfaction ouf of.
I was really looking forward to the story mode - Golf Adventure - but found myself a touch disappointed in what I feel is basically a fancy tutorial mode with little to no longevity once completed.
This is great, charming Nintendo fayre, though, and adds some new twists and Nintendo polish to the Everybody’s Golf style approach to golf gaming.
There could be more courses to choose from - which could perhaps be addressed via updates or DLC.
This is at its best when playing online with friends in terms of keeping you coming back. But I’m not sure overall that MG Super Rush does enough to scratch the itch that has been building since the last release seven years ago.
Overall it feels like a long birdie putt that has just lipped out - exciting for a time but ultimately a touch disappointing as you settle for par. But still a worthy addition to any Switch owners’s gaming collection.