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Mario Golf Super Rush review: Green energy

(Switch) **** Age: 12+

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What would the stuffy Royal and Ancient make of Super Rush? Golf’s governing body would probably be appalled at the liberties Mario takes with the staid world of the little white ball.

But anyone with a sense of humour will appreciate what Nintendo has been doing to the sport since the first Mario Golf in 1999. Super Rush loads up your golf bag with four main modes, each a little wilder than the one before. It tees off with a standard round that will be recognisable to even the starched shirts at the R&A: a couple of courses with rolling hills, water hazards, sand traps, yadda yadda.

But they’re just there to teach you the basics: tap a button to start your swing, tap again to set your power and move the joystick to generate spin. Now Nintendo shifts gear and the courses veer into the realm of the zany, adding mini-tornadoes, elevation changes and new terrain such as desert and ice. The staple roster of Mario enemies threaten your shots and even the landscapes themselves conspire against you.

It makes for terrific fun in solo mode but hits even greater heights in multiplayer, local or online. Alas, with just four wacky courses among the mere six on-board, the question of longevity raises its ugly head. Nintendo has promised to add extra venues as free DLC but it’s a subpar offering for now.

Adventure mode feels like the least vital of the choices, a curious RPG-style set of challenges that changes the pace and tries to tell a story. It introduces the idea of Speed Golf, in which you sprint between shots and battle opponents, as well as attempting to shoot a low score as usual.

Luckily, Speed Golf is a mode by itself and it’s more rewarding than the somewhat disjointed Adventure campaign. Against human players, it turns into a enjoyable riot of unsportsmanlike behaviour, a bit like Mario Kart on fairways. It seems at odds with the concept of taking time to line up your shots but horses for courses and all that.

Finally, if Speed Golf wasn’t manic enough, Battle Golf goes completely gonzo. Set in a stadium-like arena, you have to complete three short holes in any order while all the other characters whizz around doing the same.

Overall, my preference is for the tempered madness of standard golf, where the courses require strategy as well as a little skill. Super Rush is still a tad short on content despite all these modes but it goes a fair way (sorry) to making golf entertaining.

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